Just before Christmas a man was stabbed to death in Rhuddlan, north Wales.
Where was that again? The first news reader I heard on the radio pronounced the name as ˈrʌdlən. The second made a brave attempt at ˈr̥ɪðlan.
The Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation tells us we should say ˈrɪðlæn, but in LPD I chose to prioritize the anglicization ˈrɪðlən, i.e. with weakened second vowel. The (north) Welsh pronunciation is ˈr̥ɨðlan, i.e. with a voiceless initial trill and a close central first vowel.
According to the latest census statistics only 21.6% of the population of Rhuddlan speak Welsh. I wonder how the remaining 78.4%, the presumed English monoglots, actually pronounce the name of the place they live in.
Outsiders, seeing the letter u, generally assume it has its English value of ʌ. We see the same thing in Llandudno, which the English tend to call lænˈdʌdnəʊ. But I think the locals usually know better, and map this Welsh ɨ onto English ɪ, thus lænˈdɪdnəʊ (or ɬan-, or the same with some surrogate for ɬ). Am I right?Just outside Rhuddlan stands Twthill Castle. None of my reference sources supplies a pronunciation for this name. Read as Welsh, it would be ˈtuθiɬ. But that certainly can’t be right. As my photo shows, the name is rendered in Welsh as Twtil, implying ˈtutil. The second element in the name is presumably the English hill, and I surmise that its English name is ˈtʊt(h)ɪl. Is the first element Welsh twt (pronounced tut) ‘neat, tidy, smart’? The spelling is certainly an interesting hybrid of Welsh and English. Can anyone with local knowledge tell us?
I’m sorry it took a murder to get me thinking about these place names.