Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Prinn-ya prine-ya prinn-ee-a prine-ee-a
When the phone rings in our office, it could literally be anyone on the other end; in between the obvious BirdGuides calls we get anything from celebrities and authors to institutions on the other side of the world wanting to buy a kilogram of osmium. I exaggerate with the kilogram part but the rest is true. You'd think we'd be prepared for anything but this afternoon I was surprised to answer a call from a lovely lady at the BBC Pronunciation Unit asking how to pronounce Prinia. Now what you have to realise here is that I'm from Liverpool - admittedly not thick Scouse (like), but enough that I don't speak proper - and BirdGuides' MD Fiona Barclay hails from north of the border. So asking either of us to pronounce Prinia was likely not a wise thing for the BBC to be doing! Max, the only speaker of Queen's English in the office who could have helped, was out... so I had to field the call as best I could. Prinn-eeya I said, confidently. The BBC Pronunciations Unit lady thanked me for my time and we hung up, leaving me stressing over if I'd got the pronunciation right or not! Fiona agreed with prinn-eeya, and seemingly so does Geoff Sample, but then maybe it's a northern thing. I guess we'll see - if you hear Prinia being mispronounced on the BBC in the near future you'll know who to blame!
Posted by Stephen Menzie at 19:37