Why is the 'i' in Lancashire and Yorkshire pronounced with an 'ur' sound and not an 'ee' sound?

StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why is the 'i' in Lancashire and Yorkshire pronounced with an 'ur' sound and not an 'ee' sound?

Asked 6 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stewart,  

A French person living in Britain would try to pronounce the words Lancashire and Yorkshire like a native ( but with a French accent ) . A French person never having heard of these would pronounce the "i" as an "ee" " sound.

In the word "impossible " the sound "im " is a nasal sound and pronounced the same as "un" , "in", "ain" .

Hopes this helps! 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Because it is a French speaker saying it. -- Chris (not a native speaker).
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
'i' is normally pronounced 'ee' by french speakers (as is the case with 'viens' in the Lancashire sentence) but this is not the case with the 'i' in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Well, there are several ways "i" could be pronounced. Take, e.g., "impossible". It's just the way it is. Take English: the "gh" in "rough" is different from the "gh" in "ghost" and the ine in "through". -- Chris.
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Stewart, It seems to me that there are two things in the word that causes a bit different pronunciation: 1) the «i» is followed by an «r», which is not the case for viens 2) the second is that -shire ends in a silent «e», this does change the pronunciation some, i.e. consider the pronunciation difference between «lire» and «lis» or «lit».
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Hi Ron, I must confess that I can't discern any difference in pronounciation of the "i" among "lire", "lis" and "lit". But I do between "lire" and "imparfait". -- Chris (not a native speaker).
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Stewart - as Cécile has explained, a French native with a good grasp of English would pronounce an English place name as close to the correct English pronunciation as possible. We use state-of-the-art synthethic voices which are trained to speak using very large databases of experienced French natives narrating texts, and since "-shire" is not a sequence of letters that appears in any French words the synthetic voice learns to pronounce English place names in the same manner as the experienced narrator.
It's quite likely though that in France you might hear other pronunciation attempts from people who had less familiarity with how we pronounce our place names.
Hope that helps!
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks, that makes sense to me.
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Gruff ... Yes that looks to be the answer.


Why is the 'i' in Lancashire and Yorkshire pronounced with an 'ur' sound and not an 'ee' sound?

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