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pronunciation: Manchester

Discussion in 'English Only' started by michkucz, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. michkucz New Member

    Bydgoszcz
    Polish
    Is there any correct, proper pronunciation of the word "Manchester"? In Poland many people for example tv presenters, sports journalists use it differently. Also teachers of English use 2 versions of the word. Should it be pronunced by a long vowel a or the vowel "ae" ?
     
  2. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    Note that in English, a "long a" is the a in name, or safe, or plate. I have never heard anyone use this vowel when pronouncing "Manchester".

    The usual pronunciation for American cities of that name (such as Manchester, New Hampshire) is the short a of man, or hand, or cat.
     
  3. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Yes, I'm not sure what you mean by long a, Mich ~ can you explain? ~ one of these perhaps [FONT=Arial Unicode MS,code2000,lucida sans unicode]/ɑ:/ (the vowel in British English harm/card/spark)?[/FONT]
    When you say ae, do you mean one of these /æ/ (the vowel in man/hand/cat)? It's always pronounced with an /æ/ in the UK too:)
     
  4. Bobbum Senior Member

    Same as Manhatten.
     
  5. michkucz New Member

    Bydgoszcz
    Polish
    Sorry, that I didn't give the phonetic transcription. You wrote two versions which I wanted to describe. In Poland, in media both are commonly used, but I know that maybe it happens from the lack of knowledge? By the way, how can I write here phonetic trasncribtion or where can I find in the Internet phonetic transcription?
     
  6. Agró

    Agró Senior Member

    High Navarre
    Spanish-Navarre
    Here.

    /ˈmæntʃəstə/
     
  7. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  8. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I happen (through no real fault of my own) to live in Manchester, though I'm actually from a town to the north of here. The Manchester way of saying Manchester can sound a bit (erm ...) weird in someone with a strong accent's mouth: /'mæn[FONT=Arial Unicode MS,code2000,lucida sans unicode]ʧ[FONT=Arial Unicode MS,code2000,lucida sans unicode]ɪ[/FONT]st[FONT=Arial Unicode MS,code2000,lucida sans unicode]ɒ[/FONT]/ ~ more or less.
    [/FONT]
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  9. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    I have never heard of any place called Manhatten.

    On the other hand, the "a" in both the first and second syllables of Manhattan would be the short a of man or cat, and the last "a" is at best a schwa.
     
  10. Michkucz, are you by any chance referring to the difference between the British and American pronunciations of this name? See above for the pronunciation of the British city (which some Americans would also use when referring to that city). In the US, there are many cities and towns named Manchester. As far as I know, all of them are pronounced with no schwa: Man-Chest-Er, stress on the first syllable.
     
  11. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Edgy - I think Mich was thinking of the football (soccer) club Manchester United - he referred to 'sports journalists'.
     
  12. Well, they play sports in Manchester, New Hampshire, too. ;)

    Nevertheless, I'm sure you're right natkretep. I missed the sports reference - not for the first or, probably, the last time!
     
  13. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    I think, from a neutral observer's point of view, the difference between 'southern' and 'northern' pronunciations of 'Manchester' lies more in the stress and length of the syllables than in the pronunciations of the individual letters.

    The first 'e' is almost inaudible in southern English accents, as I hear it whereas in Lancashire it can vary from a strong schwa to /ɛ/ or [FONT=Arial Unicode MS,code2000,lucida sans unicode]ɪ. The 'a' there does sound more like an /a/ than a /[/FONT]æ/ to me too and the final syllable more open.

    I've only actually been to Manchester once, but there are a disproportionate number of famous Mancunians on whom I've largely based my sketchy knowledge.
     
  14. ziga95 New Member

    Abruzzo
    Italian, Castellano - Argentina
    Hi everyone! I've always been unsure about the pronunciation of "Manchester". Does the accent fall on the A (mànchester) or on the first E (manchèster)? Thanks for your help
     
  15. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I assume you're referring to the Manchester in England and the home of the football club. That's the one I'm familiar with, and I've always heard MANchester
    /ˈmæntʃəstə/.

    Mod note: ziga's thread (from post 14) has been merged with an earlier thread.
     
  16. Bevj

    Bevj Allegra Moderata

    Girona, Spain
    English (U.K.)
    :tick:
     
  17. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    I'm with natkretep; the emphasis is on the first syllable.
     
  18. ziga95 New Member

    Abruzzo
    Italian, Castellano - Argentina
    Thank you very much! Recently I've read that Manchester citizens say "manchèster", while other people say mànchester, probably because referring to the football team. Is that correct?
     
  19. Bevj

    Bevj Allegra Moderata

    Girona, Spain
    English (U.K.)
    I have never heard 'ManCHEster', whether referring to the football team or not.
     
  20. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I think it's very unlikely, Ziga. The correct pronunciation, one given by dictionaries and used by (almost) all people, whether they are from Manchester or elsewhere, is ˈmæntʃestə (the stress falls on the first syllable),
    I don't think I've ever heard anyone pronounce it differently. It would sound odd.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  21. ziga95 New Member

    Abruzzo
    Italian, Castellano - Argentina
    I understand. Thank you all :thumbsup:
     
  22. Hi, I come frequently to Manchester and, to my foreign ears I also had the impression at first that Mancunians pronounce ManCHESter. To be honest I also had the impresson that they say "How moch?" like in notch.
    I think this was just on account of my untrained ears. Maybe Mancunians just pronounce vowels in a slightly more open and longer way than southerners do, so it was not easy for me to understand where the accent was actually put.
    That was my own experience.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  23. ziga95 New Member

    Abruzzo
    Italian, Castellano - Argentina
    Thank you!
     
  24. There's not much difference between the pronunciations of Manchester by native speakers here.

    Only the Argentinian somehow manages to put the stress on the last syllable.

    Point of information: there's more than one football team in Manchester.

    Rover
     
  25. aprendiendo argento

    aprendiendo argento Senior Member

    Premantura - Croatia
    Croatian (Chakavian)
  26. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Is it just me, or the vowel cAt (æ) in Manchester sounds more of an 'ɛ' in the pronunciation that has three votes, whereas in the other three the same vowel sounds more of an 'a'?
    I'm pretty sure my ears are not leading me astray.
     
  27. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    Morning,

    The vowel in the pronunciation that has three votes sounds like a typical /æ/ to me, dreamlike. The speaker sounds as if he comes from the south of England. I hear a clear distinction between "man" and "men", even in the speech of southerners. But you are right inasmuch as that speaker uses a more frontal vowel than the other three. The first of these three sounds as if he might come from Manchester (which counts as part of the north of England).
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  28. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you for your answer. :thumbsup: I think the same goes for the other two men whom /æ/ is less frontal than that of the first man with three votes. I mean, producing a less frontal /æ/ is typical for people from the north, right? So all three of them may well come from Manchester. I can't tell the difference between /æ/ of these three men.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  29. I agree, as a non native! The way sailoddr pronounces Manchester is exactly how I expect to hear from a genuine Mancunian*. To my ears it is like the word had two accents, a stronger one on the first syllabe and a weaker one on the second.
    I think the lenght of the vowel in the second syllabe has to do here. Practically non-existent in the case of the person from the South, perfectly audible in the other case.
    It is OT here, but it reminds me about Arabic, where there are no accents and the stress on parts of a word is given only by the lenght of the vowel.

    *Maybe more from Stockport or Cheadle than from Bury or Oldham...:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  30. flapane New Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Actually, I think zinga's doubts come from the fact that most italian sports journalists are recently starting to pronounce it with a strong stress on the second syllable, way stronger than sailorddr's, while it has been similar to palashdave's in the past years (don't ask me why, though). The way they pronounce it sounds like 'ManCHEster' with an open a and a strong stress on the e.
    From what I understand, sailorddr's version should be closer to the way a Mancunian would pronounce it.
     
  31. I totally agree with you flapane. Proof is the fact that they say ManCHESter United (a bit too long!) while they inconsistently say MANchester City (more viable!).
     
  32. Lucy01 New Member

    English (UK)
    Yes, the way sailorddr pronounces it is exactly how someone from Manchester would say it. I am from Manchester and I pronounce it just like that.

    I have always noticed a difference between how people from the North (or specifially, people from Manchester) and people from the South of England pronounce 'Manchester'. They both seem to put the stress on the MAN, but I think that Mancunians definitely pronounce the CHEST syllable more than Southerners do. I also find that Southerners use a longer vowel sound for the first A. I hear it like this:

    Mancunian: MAN-CHEST-er
    Southerner: Maaan-ch'ster
     
  33. flapane New Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Thank you.
    As a sidenote, this summer I had the chance to stay a few days in Manchester and other parts of the Northwest (and Scotland, too). It was a little bit of a challenge because it's not the kind of british accent you'd hear in London, nor the american accents I'm used to, but at least I could hear the mancunian pronounciation in first person. I noticed too that there was a certain emphasis on 'chest'.
     
  34. ziga95 New Member

    Abruzzo
    Italian, Castellano - Argentina
    Thank you very much for all your answers. :thumbsup: I think I solved this problem, since I've recently spoken with an english professor and he said that the correct pronounciation is ManCHEster, because the suffix "chester" originates from the Latin word CASTRUM, which means camp, encampment.
    Please let me know your opinion :)
     
  35. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    My opinion is that your professor is wrong. :) If you read the rest of this thread, you'll find out that virtually every speaker of British English disagrees with your professor. The accent, when referring to the city in England, is always on the first syllable.

    In the U.S., there are quite a few cities and towns called Manchester. Most of them accent the second syllable, but I'm sure there some that use the BE pronunciation with the accent on the first syllable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  36. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Your professor is right about the etymology, but wrong about that determining the stress in names derived from it - i.e. those ending in c(h)ester.
     
  37. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I've been thinking about this some more, and actually for U.S. cities named Manchester, the accent is almost always on the first syllable as well. The main difference between AmE and BE is the pronunciation of the second syllable. Both dialects place the main accent on "MAN," but most speakers of AmE put more emphasis on the "CHEST" syllable than is typical for the pronunciation of Manchester, England, or at least for the pronunciation I've heard from BE speakers.
     
  38. Walhaz Junior Member

    Catalonia, Spain
    English - England
    I think standard RP would have it /ˈmæn.tʃes.tə/ (I agree with dreamlike).

    My pronunciation: [ˈmæːn.tʃɛs.tɜ] (Estuary/RP-ish accent)
    What I hear in Spain alot: [ˈman.tʃes.teɾ]
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  39. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with Julian on both counts:).

    The only UK place-name I know where the stress falls on the syllable "ches" is Chester. That said, there are regional and personal variations in how far the vowel in the unstressed "ches" syllable is attenuated to a schwa or schwi. I'm pretty sure I say "Manchester" with a schwi sound in the second syllable; but I'm also pretty sure that I give the second syllable of "Dorchester" its full, non-attenuated, value....
     
  40. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    There is a wiki on the name element "chester" in English place names. It has pronunciations for some of them in the linked pages. The e in chest sometimes is an e, sometimes an i (reduced or otherwise to schwi or schwa if you don't have a schwi). I could not find one where the stress was on the chester element. For Manchester, we have evidence (above) that if there is a stress on the ches part, it is accompanied by a stress on the man part as well.

    I can imagine an older form of RP* using something closer to an e for the a at the beginning MENchester, although I've not actually heard it.
    (*The form where a Victorian lady defined the word "sex" as "those bags that coal was delivered in":D)
     
  41. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think this also reflects a general tendency between northern and southern English accents. There is more vowel reduction in the south. You are more likely to hear a full vowel in the first syllable of command or the second syllable of Lancaster in the north too.

    And yes, this is to do with the choice between the full or the reduced vowel rather than stress placement.
     
  42. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:, Nat!

    (That was what I was struggling, rather incoherently, to say in my post 39:eek::).)
     
  43. alemoon New Member

    italian
    Hi dreamlike,

    it's a bit confusing the stress. I would rather say where the accent falls, I suppose it falls to the second. Manchéster....as chester shoud be the word coming from the latin Castrum.
    thanks,
     
  44. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    As you'll see if you read the entire thread, the accent falls on the first syllable in BE - that's something all the BE speakers who have contributed to the thread agree on. In AmE, the stress is also usually on the first syllable, but we tend to enunciate the second syllable a little more strongly than BE speakers do.
     
  45. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
  46. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
  47. As a non native speker, if I would be asked to reproduce the way I hear the word Manchester pronounced by people raised in the Greater Manchester area, I would pronounce MANchester, but with a pause or a hesitation between MAN and CHESTER. Just a millisecond or so...
    Notably, I've never heard this pronunciation by anyone raised outside the Greater Manchester area.
     

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