Pronunciation: Learn how to say the top 10 British cities correctly

Categories English By JadePosted on Format Film
Pronunciation: Learn how to say the top 10 British cities correctly

Learn how to pronounce the names of the top 10 biggest cities in Britain. Avoid the embarrassment of saying the name of a famous place incorrectly — listen and learn how a person from London says the names of these places. I will also teach you and use some IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), so that you can get the exact pronunciation. I’ll teach you how to pronounce London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Glasgow, Southampton, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield. No more mistakes!

Test yourself with the quiz:

Next, watch Benjamin’s video all about the „RP accent” in English:


Hi, everyone. In this lesson we’re going to look at the pronunciation of the ten biggest cities in England. The data comes from the World Urban Areas Report, and this report looks at the size of cities’ population according to their urban area, so that’s the dense part of the city where most people live. So, if you’re looking at this list and you disagree: „Oh, that city is bigger than this city”, it’s because there’s different ways to make the list, depending on the data that you look at. But I thought this way of listing the cities made the most sense so that you don’t have a very, very wide city with countryside in it counted as in the top ten.

So, let’s begin at number one: „London”, which is the capital city of England, and which is where I’m from. We pronounce as: „Lundan”. The second syllable has a schwa, so we say: „Lundan”, not: „LondOn”, as a lot of people say and a lot of tourists say when they come. They say: „I’m going to LOndOn”, whereas we say: „Lundan”.

Number two: „Manchester”. „Manchester”, the second syllable is an „i”, sometimes people say : „e”. „Manchester”, „Manchester”, but „Manchister” is the most common pronunciation for people who actually live there. And Manchester is most famous, in my mind, for the band Oasis, and they said things, like: „Mad For It”, and they had a song which was called: „You got to roll with it, you got to take your time”, sorry.

Number three: „Birmingham” is the way I would pronounce it if I imagined I was from there, but how I would say it in my normal accent is: „Birmingum”, „Birmingum”. The… It’s not „HAm”. Americans might say: „BirmingHAM”, „I’m going to BirmingHAM”, whereas locals and other English people are going to say: „Birmingum”, „Birmingum”.

Number four is: „Leeds”. Leeds and Bradford are counted as one city in this list, although if you ask the people of Leeds and the people of Bradford whether they think of it as the same city, they’ll say no. So, that’s why they’re written separately on the list. We have Leeds and we have Bradford. Bradford, Bradford.

Number five is: „Glasgow”. Oh, they’re not all in England, I’ve just realized because we’ve got Glasgow on the list, Scotland is obviously included also. How we pronounce: „Glasgow”, we can say: „Glasgow”, that’s the pronunciation that someone in the southeast of England would use: „Glasgow”, because we make the long A sound: „ah”, whereas people from the northern areas of England and also the people in Glasgow itself would say: „Glasgo”, „Glasgo”.

Next one, number six: „Southampton”, „Southampton”. This one we have the H in the pronunciation, but it’s not a very… we… we don’t hear it that much. It blends into the A, and sometimes when you hear people say this town, it might sound like there’s no H sound there at all, it might be more like: „South… Southampton”, „Southampton”. Whereas other people you find, they may say it more like two separate words in a way, if they say: „South… South Hampton”, „South Hampton”. But in my opinion, that’s not the most natural pronunciation of that city, and most people would say it like: „Southampton”, „Southampton”.

Next one is: Portsmouth, „Portsmuth”. „Portsmuth”. „Portsmuth” is the place where the British Navy is based. It’s… obviously it’s by the sea, the Navy is based there, and I did some English teaching in an English summer school there in Portsmouth. And what I noticed when I was there was that so many people in that town had tattoos. And if you think about it… Well, now… nowadays, so many people have tattoos, but tattoos used to be associated with the people who had been in the Navy and who’d gone to sea and done all that kind of thing, so that’s… When I think of Portsmouth, I always think of tattoo shops and seeing loads of people with tattoos.

Next we have: „Liverpool”, „Liverpool”. If you meet someone from Liverpool, the „pool” can have quite a high pitch and can sound quite long. When I say that town, the „pool” part doesn’t sound as long. „Liverpool”, „Liverpool”, „Liverpool”. […]