Wednesday, 21st January 2015

by Joshua Gaskell

In 1954 Professor Alan Ross introduced the distinction between ‘U and non-U’ language upper-class and non-upper-class in an essay for a Finnish philological journal. Nancy Mitford popularised the terminology in an article for Encounter the following year, and by including a condensed version of Ross’s essay in her Noblesse Oblige the year after that. In 1970 Ross and his publishers took advantage of this popularity by releasing How to Pronounce It, a dictionary of upper-class pronunciations. The distinction between ‘U and non-U’ did a lot to bolster class difference, which I here intend to break down with the indistinction of pronunciations that are both ‘U and non-U’.

List of Words and Names

  • ALCOHOLIDAY: /ˌalkəˈhɒlɪdi/, last syllable the same as dee.
  • ALWAYS-ON: /ˌɔːlwɪzˈɒn/, second syllable the same as whizz.
  • AQUAFRESH: /ˈeɪkwə-/. NOT /ˈakwə-/.
  • ARTISAN bread: /ɑːtɪˈzan/, accent on last syllable.
  • ASPHALT jungle: /ˈasfɛlt/, second syllable the same as felt.
  • Big ISSUE: /ˈɪsjuː/. NOT /ˈɪʃuː/.
  • BOURBON whisky: /ˈbʊəbɒ̃/, in the French way.
  • BROMANCE: /brəʊˈmans/. NOT accent on first syllable, which is American.
  • Budget DEFICIT: /ˈdifɪsɪt/, first syllable to rhyme with reef.
  • CASUAL sex: /ˈkaʒəl/, two syllables.
  • CELEBUTANTE: /sɪˈlɛbjᵿtɒ̃/, in the French way.
  • COMRADE Delta: /ˈkʌmrᵻd/, first syllable the same as come.
  • CONVERSE shoes: /kənˈvəːs/, accent on second syllable. NOT /ˈkɒnvəːs/.
  • COST–benefit: /kɔːst/, to rhyme with forced.
  • COUPON swap: /ˈkuːpɔ̃/, in the French way. NOT /ˈkuːpɒn/.
  • COVERT ops: /ˈkʌvət/, like cover. NOT /ˈkəʊvəːt/, like over.
  • Cruella DE VIL: /dʊˈvil/, in the French way, like Déville. NOT /dəˈvɪl/.
  • Disney’s RECESS: /rᵻˈsɛs/, accent on second syllable.
  • DUVET day: /duːˈveɪ/, accent on second syllable.
  • EXECUTIVE toy: /ɛgˈzɛkətɪv/. NOT /ɛɡˈzɛkjʊtɪv/.
  • The EYRIE, Vale of Arryn: /ˈɛːri/, the same as airy.
  • Female CONDOM: /ˈkʌndəm/. NOT /ˈkɒndɒm/.
  • FLACCID whanger: /ˈflaksɪd/. NOT /ˈflasɪd/.
  • GARAGEBand: /ˈɡarɑːʒ/, to rhyme with barrage. NOT /ˈɡarɪdʒ/.
  • GLITTERATI: /ɡlɪtəˈreɪtʌɪ/ like hate I. NOT /ˌɡlɪtəˈrɑːti/ like arty.
  • High-visibility WAISTCOAT: /ˈwɛskᵻt/, first syllable to rhyme with less, no T.
  • HOT DESK: /ˌhɒt ˈdɛsk/, accent on second syllable.
  • ILLUMINATI: /ɪljuːmɪˈneɪtʌɪ/. NOT /ɪˌluːmɪˈnɑːti/.
  • INHERENT Vice: /ɪnˈhɪərənt/, second syllable the same as hear.
  • Le PAIN Quotidien: /pã/, in the French way.
  • Leigh HALFPENNY: /ˈheɪpni/, first syllable the same as hay. NOT as spelt.
  • LINGERIE restaurant: /ˈlãʒri/, in the French way. NOT /ˌlɑnƷəˈreɪ/.
  • MARLBORO Man: /ˈmɔːlbrə/, first syllable the same as maul.
  • NESCAFÉ: /nɛsˈkafeɪ/, accent on second syllable. NOT /ˈnɛskəfeɪ/, accent on first.
  • NETIQUETTE: /nɛtᵻˈkɛt/, accent on last syllable.
  • Oxford & CHERWELL Valley College: /ˈtʃɑːwəl/, first syllable to rhyme with car.
  • PAPA Smurf: /pəˈpɑː/, accent on second syllable. NOT /ˈpɑpə/.
  • Paul GASCOIGNE: /gasˈkɔɪn/, accent on second syllable.
  • PINTEREST: /ˈpɪntrɪst/. NOT /ˈpɪntərɛst/.
  • Pizza FUNGHI: /ˈfʌnʤʌɪ/, like lunge eye. NOT /ˈfʌŋɡiː/, like Bungay.
  • POWYS: /ˈpəʊɪs/, first syllable to rhyme with go. NOT /ˈpaʊɪs/, first syllable rhyming with cow.
  • PROJECTILE vomit: /ˈprɒdʒɛktʌɪl/, accent on first syllable.
  • QUASImodo: /ˈkweɪzʌɪ/, first syllable to rhyme with pays. NOT /ˈkwɒzɪ/.
  • Quorn ESCALOPE: /ˈɛskələʊp/, accent on first syllable, last to rhyme with pope.
  • REAL Madrid: /reɪˈɑːl/, to rhyme with grey marl. NOT /reɪl/.
  • RETAIL therapy: /rɪˈteɪl/, accent on second syllable.
  • The REVENANT: /rəvəˈnɑ̃/, in the French way. NOT /ˈrɛvᵻnənt/.
  • SANS serif: /sɒ̃/, in the French way.
  • Stinky Pete the PROSPECTOR: /prəʊˈspɛktə(r)/, accent on second syllable.
  • Student FINANCE Wales: /fɪˈnans/, first syllable the same as fin, accent on second.
  • Soul-food RESTAURANT: /ˈrɛst(ə)rɒ̃/, French pronunciation, no final T.
  • Superhero GENRE: /ʒɑ̃r/, in the French way.
  • Time MAGAZINE: /maɡəˈziːn/, accent on second syllable.
  • Total RECALL: /rᵻˈkɔːl/, accent on second syllable.
  • TWITTERATI: /twɪtəˈreɪtʌɪ/. NOT /ˌtwɪtəˈrɑːti/. So in culturati, glamourati, etc.
  • UPCYCLE: /ʌpˈsʌɪkl/, accent on second syllable.
  • VACUUM-pack: /ˈvakjʊəm/, three syllables.
  • VALET parking: /ˈvalɪt/, to rhyme with mallet.
  • WESTMONSTER: /ˈwɛsmɒnstə/, accent on first syllable, no first T.
  • WHATEVS: /hwɒtˈɛvz/, wh aspirated.
  • ZOOECOLOGY: /ˌzəʊᵻkˈɒlədʒi/, as zo-œcology, first syllable to rhyme with toe.
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