Somerset village is among the most commonly mispronounced places - and how to say it

Huish Episcopi in Somerset
Huish Episcopi in Somerset -Credit:Google

Somerset is known for its picturesque towns and villages - and is a s a popular destination for tourists across the UK. However, these charming locations often present a linguistic challenge for visitors attempting to pronounce their names correctly.

Preply, a language learning platform, has compiled a list of the top 10 most difficult place names to pronounce in the South West. The small town of Bovey Tracey, located on the edge of Dartmoor, tops the list - and for those unfamiliar with the area, the correct local pronunciation is 'Buv-ee Tracey'.

But the second locations which trips up visitors the most is Huish Episcopi in Somerset. According to Bristol Live, the correct pronunciation is 'Hugh-ish A-pis-co-pee', not the commonly attempted 'Hugh-ish Epis-co-pie', reports Devon Live.

Despite having a population of just 2,644 people, the quaint village's Old English name can be daunting to pronounce for those unfamiliar with the area. 'Huish' originates from 'Hiwisc', meaning a household or unit of land, while 'Episcopi' signifies 'belonging to the Bishop of Wells'.

Huish Episcopi isn't the only location in the South West that can leave visitors stumped when it comes to pronunciation; other challenging village names include Southrop in Gloucestershire, which locals pronounce as 'Suth-rup', Iwerne Minster in Dorset, known as 'U-ern Minster', and the quaint harbour village of Clovelly in Devon, correctly said as 'Clo-vell-ee'.

Discussing why some place names are a tongue-twister, Sylvia Johnson, Head of Methodology at Preply, explained: "A key reason some streets, villages, and even rivers are more challenging to pronounce than others is the result of historical linguistic evolution. Several place names often reflect a mix of old languages such as Old English, Norman, Norse, and Celtic, which have unique letter combinations that don't follow typical pronunciation rules."

She further elaborated on the intricacies involved: "On top of this, variations in local dialects also contribute to the complexity of pronouncing certain place names, which make them tricky to pronounce correctly, even for English speakers who are unfamiliar with the region."

For those curious about other pronunciation conundrums, here's a glimpse at the top ten most commonly mispronounced places in the South West.

The ten most commonly mispronounced places in the South West.

The ten most commonly mispronounced places in the South West

  1. Bovey Tracey, Devon - pronounced 'Buv-ee Tracey' (incorrectly pronounced (Bow-vee Tracey')

  2. Huish Episcopi, Somerset - pronounced 'Hugh-ish A-pis-co-pee' (incorrectly pronounced 'Hugh-ish Epis-co-pie')

  3. Southrop, Gloucestershire - pronounced 'Suth-rup' (incorrectly pronounced 'South-rop')

  4. Beaminster, Dorset - pronounced 'Beh-muhn-stuh' (incorrectly pronounced 'Bee-minster')

  5. Clovelly, Devon - pronounced 'Clo-vell-ee' (incorrectly pronounced 'Cluv-lee')

  6. Clifford's Mesne, Gloucestershire - pronounced 'Clifford's Meen' (incorrectly pronounced 'Clifford's Mes-nee')

  7. Worle, Somerset - pronounced 'Whirl' (incorrectly pronounced 'Worl-ee')

  8. Iwerne Minster, Dorset - pronounced 'U-ern Minster' (incorrectly pronounced 'I-wern Minster')

  9. Michaelwood, Gloucestershire - pronounced 'Mickle-wood' (incorrectly pronounced 'Michael-wood')

  10. Brixham, Devon - pronounced 'Brik-sum' (incorrectly pronounced 'Brix-ham')