The following blog is contributed by our Senior Script Consultant, Rob LeFever
Professional voice talent take training courses that teach accents and various pronunciations. Having a professional voice for your Message on Hold program, or to represent your company, will assure that you are reaching your target audience with the proper "address."
Speaking of "address," it’s amazing how many words in the English language can be pronounced multiple ways. For example, the next time you ask someone, “What’s your address?” think about how you pronounced the word “address.” Did you say “AD-dress?” Or how about “uh-DRESS?”
And speaking of geographical locations, think about the numerous ways people pronounce certain towns, street names, or even US States.
Take the infamous city of “New Orleans” for example. I’ve heard this pronounced at least three different ways. Depending on whom I’m conversing with, they may say: “New OR-lee-inz,” “New or-LEENZ,” or “New OR-lunz.” And while it seems that locals prefer the last pronunciation, those outside of the region often use one of the previous two.
And think about this city in Mississippi – “Tupelo,” the birthplace of Elvis Presley. While some may pronounce it as TOO-puh-low, others find it more properly pronounced with a TYOO sound at the beginning, as if combining the letter “T” with the word “You.”
Despite some of this variety in pronunciation being considered “acceptable,” there are certain places that must be pronounced one way and one way only.
- Greenwich Village locals in New York City would scoff at out-of-towners pronouncing “Houston Street” the same way as the city in Texas.
- There are towns named “Greenwich” throughout the US which are pronounced as GREEN-witch – as opposed to GREN-itch, which is how those aforementioned NYC locals pronounce the forename of “The Village” in Manhattan.
- While New Jersey residents know that their State’s town of Newark can only be pronounced as NEW-irk, Delaware residents alternately pronounce their Newark as NEW-ark.
- If you happen to be visiting the State of Illinois, it’s probably best not to pronounce the last syllable as “NOISE,” as it’s much more common for Illinoisans to pronounce their State as “ill-uh-NOY.”
Below are a few other examples of places that have various pronunciations. So if you want to do a social experiment, ask your friends, family, and coworkers how they pronounce the following and take note of the different versions you hear: