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Pronounce Names Audio English Speaking Practice

A photograph ofthe London underground tube map, Used as the cover image for Article “Pronounce Names Audio English Speaking Practice Cover Image”

​Summary: Pronounce Names Audio

​Today’s learn English through listening podcast is all about name pronunciation. Recently while travelling on the London underground (called “The Tube” by regular users) I overheard young Polish people, who were obviously learning to speak English, trying to pronounce names of stops on the tube line we were all using. I’d forgotten how difficult English names were to pronounce.

Now I will not create some long boring list of names for you to practice and learn, but offer examples of why the names are difficult to pronounce and provide some interesting websites you can use to help you say an English name correctly. These websites help you learn to pronounce names using audio files which you can listen to.

So let’s say you were starting a new job, and you were staying in London and knew you had to use the Tube to travel to work. You could learn all the stop names you would need to know for the journey so if you needed to ask for help you would pronounce the stop names correctly.

​Audio Transcript: Pronounce Names Audio English Speaking Practice

​Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Thursday podcast, so it’s slightly shorter and a bit easier to understand than our Monday podcast.

​For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope it was a good one – and that you’re relaxing and enjoying yourself, maybe taking off some time from work, seeing family, seeing friends. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope all is going well for you too!

​British place names can have very different pronunciation to the way they are spelled

​So this week, I thought I’d talk about the idea of using what’s available online to help you with the pronunciation of difficult English names – so the use of ‘pronounce names audio’. So if you’re having difficulty pronouncing something, especially an English place name, then there are websites online which provide you with ‘pronounce names audio’. You can search on a name and find a site, where you can enter that name and hear an audio file of how the name is pronounced. So that’s ‘pronounce names audio’. I’ll give you an example to explain where you might use it. Now I use the tube on a fairly regular basis. When I say ‘the tube’, I mean the London Underground. So I was coming home the other night and I was just about to get off the tube at Waterloo – that’s the main station for the over-ground trains to the south coast from London. I don’t live on the south coast, but I do catch a train in that direction.

A photograph of a London bus driving past a London Underground tube sign. Used as an article image for the article “Pronounce Names Audio English Speaking Practice Article Image”

​Anyway, the stop on the tube just before Waterloo is called Southwark. In case you have never travelled on this part of the London Underground, I’ll spell that for you. Southwark is spelt S-O-U-T-H-W-A-R-K. So you might think that this place name would be pronounced ‘South Wark’ – that seems logical. But no, actually this place name and this stop on the Jubilee Line (on the London Underground) is called ‘Southwark’. There’s no logical reason for this and there’s no way of knowing it. There are just lots of English words or place names especially, which are like this. You just have to guess their pronunciation. And when I was passing Southwark last time, there were a group of people, quite young, who were obviously from another European country, visiting I imagine to help with their English language learning. And the English person who was with them was teaching them ‘No, it’s Southwark, not South-wark’. And they were saying, ‘But that’s mad! How are you supposed to know this?!’ I’ve heard people having this conversation about the name ‘Southwark’ so many times on that tube journey. Maybe I will do a podcast about difficult-to-pronounce London Underground names!

​Listening to other people pronounce names is the fastest way to learn how to say them

​So the point of ‘pronounce names audio’ files is that they can be used where you’re having difficulty with the pronunciation of a name or a word. Google Translate does this for some languages, but there are also websites which use ‘pronounce names audio’ files for all kinds of names. Examples of these websites are, or I even used that last website to learn how to pronounce inogolo. At least they’ve thought to put it on there, I suppose! 

To give you a couple more examples from the London Underground, that you might find you want to use ‘pronounce names audio’ files for, how about :-

Leicester Square – spelt L-E-I-C-E-S-T-E-R. You might think it was ‘LEY-SESTER SQUARE’ or ‘LEYCESTER SQUARE’

Similarly Gloucester Road – spelt G-L-O-U-C-E-S-T-E-R. So it looks like ‘GLOW-CESTER, but that’s pronounced ‘Gloucester’. Like Leicester, it’s also a town, well….a city, probably. Certainly Leicester is a city in the UK and Gloucester is perhaps a town.

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​If you cannot pronounce an important persons name at work or the location of the place you stay you will look silly

​Another one on the London Underground is Knightsbridge – so K-N-I-G-H-T-S-B-R-I-D-G-E. My goodness, that’s a mouthful. You’ve got six consonants in the middle of that before there’s a vowel! No wonder people find it hard to say. So it’s Knightsbridge. It’s much easier If you think of it as two separate words –  Knights and Bridge. Like a bridge over a road or a river.

And finally how about Marylebone – so spelt M-A-R-Y-L-E-B-O-N-E. It looks like the name Mary-Le-Bone. But it’s pronounced ‘Marylebone’.

And of course the ‘pronounce names audio’ websites are also good for if you have read somebody’s name, but it’s a foreign name to you – and you don’t know how to say it, but you don’t want to offend them, by mispronouncing their name.

So just to recap. The pronunciation of Southwark, Leicester Square, Gloucester Road, Knightsbridge and Marylebone. Just a few examples of difficult-to-pronounce London Underground names. And think about using websites which provide you with ‘pronounce names audio’ files for those difficult names and place names that you might come across.


​Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

​PS: Miss pronouncing a name is often a giveaway you are new to English

We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English .

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Hilary is an Adept English Editor and a founding member of the company.

This content was originally published here.

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