Belgrade (pronunciation)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Little Chandler, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Little Chandler

    Little Chandler Senior Member

    La Coruña
    español (ESP)
    Hi everyone,

    I think I've heard Belgrade pronounced:

    1. with the stress on the 1sd syllable
    2. with the stress on the 2nd syllable

    1. rhyming with "made"
    2. rhyming with "façade"

    I'd like to know if all four are common and if the pronunciation depends in part on the variety of English.

    Thank you!
  2. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I've only ever heard "BELL grade." But I wouldn't be surprise to hear a French person use both your #2s.
  3. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I say bell-GRADE to rhyme with made. This difference from cyberpedant's version may just reflect my BrE origin :)
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    There are more than one Belgrades in this world and in Belgrade, Montana, USA, anything but 1 and 1 would be really strange.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  5. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    I could say it with either syllable stressed, and I don't really know which I'd say. But it'd always rhyme with 'made'; I've never heard the other rhyme.
  6. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    A place name is not necessarily pronounced the same way in all languages, even if another language uses the same alphabet as the language that is spoken in the place itself. The capital of France is properly pronounced "pa-REE" (more or less) in French, but anyone who pronounced it that way while speaking English is either trying to be funny or putting on airs. Like cyberpedant (post #2), I've only heard "BELL-grade." I'd be surprised to hear anything else from a native English speaker.
  7. mkrzeminski89

    mkrzeminski89 Member

    The only version I have hear is /belgreɪd/ with the stress falling either on the first or the second syllable. This is also the only possible option listed by Wells in his phonetic dictionary ;)
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    The sounds of bell and grade are the common theme for "native" English speakers. Where the stress falls can vary within the same group of speakers. Hence my bell-GRADE. Reminiscent of the the common AmE form of ROBIN Hood compared to the BrE version of Robin HOOD (or MAXWELL House vs. Maxwell HOUSE) - hard to find a thread on this characteristic difference between AmE and BrE.
  9. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    I think have heard "Belgrade" rhymed with "sad" but not "sod" (which is what "façade" rhymes with for me).
  10. boozer Senior Member

    :thumbsup: :) That is all I could say too.
  11. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I think the grad form is close to an attempt to pronounce it as a local might. (For me façade rhymes with oohed and aaahed).
  12. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    Belgrade, when I say it, it is "Bel grad", but when I read it, it is "Bel grey d"...


    Explain that one if you can... Must be something to do with my age....
  13. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I also rhyme it with 'made', with the stress on the second syllable (BelGRADE) — no doubt reflecting my BrE origins too — just as I say BuchaREST, BudaPEST and SingaPORE. However, the stress on the first syllable sounds fine when I hear it from others; in fact I probably wouldn't even notice.

    I would adopt George's 'grad' (rhyming with 'sad', I suppose) only if I were using the Serbian form of the name, Beograd — but my Serbian's not good enough to know where the stress should go.;)
    As it does for me ... or with the Marquis de Sade (rather than the lesser-known Marquis de Sod :p).

  14. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    I think the most common pronunciation is /bel'greɪd/, like /bel'greɪviə/ and /bel'grɑːnəʊ/, with a stess on the second syllable (unlike, eg Belfast, which has a primary stress on fast and a secondary stress on Bel).

  15. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I'm not so sure it's the most common, Giorgio. The AmE speakers above put the stress on the first syllable of Belgrade — and there are a lot of Ame and AmE-influenced speakers in the world!

    As for Belfast, I guess it depends on the speaker. I put the primary stress on the Bel of Belfast, as does a friend from South Belfast, whereas someone I know from North Belfast puts the main stress on fast. That's not to say they're typical, but it's obviously not clear-cut.

  16. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    BELL-grade is the pronunciation I hear most often, and the accent is invariably on the first syllable. I do hear BELL-grahd now and then, and rarely I hear bell-GRAHD, but not usually from native English speakers.
  17. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    That reinforces the idea that there's a BrE/AmE difference as regards the stress, Kate — as do these audio clips.

    [By the way, Giorgio, the same source also demonstrates my point about Belfast].

  18. boozer Senior Member

    :D Indeed, this is more or less how we, near Belgrade, pronounce it in our local languages (except that the Serbs prefer Beograd to Belgrad). We are entitled, you see - after all, we local people once coined that name in our old Slavic language.

    (My point is that the 'grahd' pronunciation is closest to the city's original name and, in fact, 'grahd' means 'city'. Indeed, that pronunciation is not the anglicised one I use when I speak English, but it can never be wrong :) )
  19. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    Strange, but I think that I stress neither the first nor the second syllable, but both equally.
  20. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    That has been my impression because when I've heard the bell-GRAHD pronunciation, it's almost always been from someone from Eastern Europe or someone who has strong ties to that region (has family from there or perhaps lived there for a while).

    Edit: My apologies if I seemed to be implying that it was "wrong," because that was not my intention.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  21. Little Chandler

    Little Chandler Senior Member

    La Coruña
    español (ESP)

    So, to sum up, it seems clear that the pronunciation rhyming with "made" is vastly more common.

    As for the stress, the first-syllable stress would be much more common in America, while the second-syllable stress would be slightly preferred (both being used) in Europe.

    Thank you for all your answers!

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