angående engelsk kan stilles til språkrådgiver
Stewart Clark, Studieavdelingen, e-post: firstname.lastname@example.org,
tlf. 73 59 52 45 eller faks: 73 59 52 37
The names of British towns and cities
reflect the history of Britain. The Celts have given us Dover,
meaning water. The Romans left us with the Latin castra
meaning a camp that developed into place- names such as Doncaster,
Lancaster, Chester, Manchester and Cirencester
and other -cester names. The Angles and Saxons brought
endings like -burh, meaninga fortified settlement, to
English and these remain in -bury names, such as Tilbury,
Canterbury and also -borough (pronounced «burra»)
such as Scarborough. Burh is also related to the
Germanic -burg that has
given the -burgh ending found in Edinburgh (pronounced
«eddin-burra»). The Vikings brought Scandinavian
terms like -by, meaning a village, to Britain which has
given place-names such as Derby,
Grimsby, Rugby. Another Scandinavian term is -thorp,meaning
an outlying village, which is found in places such as Scunthorpe.
The Normans introduced numerous French words into Middle English
such as mont, which has given us Richmond, meaning
a hill, and Beaumont, a beautiful hill.
Some British place-names reflect the
activities of the locality. Places known for their salt-works
had the ending wich, such as Droitwich. It is
possible that some of the -wich endings today are also
derived from the Old English wick meaning a village.
If we ignore the etymology and consider the pronunciation, the
-wich endings sometimes cause problems for foreigners
and visitors to Britain. Here it is worth remembering that although
Norwich is pronounced «nor-ritch» and Ipswich
is pronounced «ips-witch», Greenwich is usually
pronounced «grin-nitch», not «green witch»
as a radio reporter on NRK repeated called it during a recent
programme about the new millennium. (Note that Greenwich
Village in New York is pronounced «grennitch».)
A useful reference book that includes
the pronunciation of British place-names is the BBC Pronouncing
Dictionary of British Names, Oxford University Press. The
editor is Graham Pointon who works for the BBC in London and
was formally a lecturer at our Department of English.
Millennium (Norw. tusen år,
tusenårsrike) means a period of 1000 years: «The
scare about the millennium bug made many computer programmers
wealthy in 1999». The plurals are millennia or
millenniums. A millennium is typically, but not
always, calculated from the traditional birth of Christ. In
Christian Theology, the millennium is the thousand-year
reign of Christ. In another sense, millennium is the
anniversary of a thousand years. Note that millennium
and millennial are spelt with two n's. Misspelling millennium
is a common error even among native English
Millenary (Norw. tusen år)
means a period of 1000 years or a thousandth anniversary. A
millenary does not have to be calculated from the traditional
birth of Christ. Note that millenary is only spelt with
a single «n».
Elk (Norw. elg) means the large
animal in the deer family: «The elk are moving this way».
Elk is usually the same in the singular and plural, but
an alternative plural is elks.
Moose (Norw. elg) means an elk.
This is the American English term. Note that this is unchanged
in the singular and plural. Never confuse moose with
the soundalike mousse which means a soft whipped dessert
«Mousse hunting is one of our specialities».
(Tourist brochure from a rural hotel in Nord-Trøndelag)
«Port Whale - Norwitch 0-1»
(NRK's soccer results, October 1999)
Two tourists were driving through Wales.
As they were approaching
they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town's name.
They stopped for lunch and asked the waitress «Before
we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would
you please pronounce where we are... very slowly?»
The girl leaned over and said slowly and clearly «Burrrrrrrrgerrrrrrr