Hi,
I have hard time figuring out whether to pronounce the"f" sound for words ending in ph.
For example, i saw a city in England called "Desborough". I remember there is a city called Scarborough. Or they pronounce like "through" and "rough"?Is there a rule for this?

Thanks,
Full Member220
You wrote "ph" but you gave two cities ending in "gh."

In the use, those would both be said as though it ended in burrow. That's not quite right - it's a cross between 'bro with the same sound as throw - and burrow. But they certainly don't have the same sound as "rough."
Veteran Member27,441
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Retired Moderator: A moderator who has retired.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
Here's the pronunciation for "borough".

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/borough

When suffixed to another syllable or two, the "bor" tends to become "br".

CJ
Veteran Member51,852
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
thank your very much Grammar Geek. How about the word trough? is it the same true?

thanks,
Final ough

= ow as in cow: bough, plough, slough, sough

= oa as in oat: though, although, dough, borough, furlough, thorough

= oo as in moon: through, slough

= uff as in stuff: tough, rough, slough, enough, sough

= off as in off: cough, trough

= up as in up: hiccough

CJ
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
What a crazy language!
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Retired Moderator: A moderator who has retired.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
The final two syllables of place names in Britain that end in ough, like Scarborough, are correctly pronounced -buh-ruh. So Scarborough is pronounced ska-buh-ruh. The same applies to Edinburgh, which although not ending in ough, is also correctly pronounced ed-in-buh-ruh. Of course, a lot depends on how carefully one enunciates the individual syllables. Laziness of speech in some regions inevitably leads to the last two syllables becoming one, so we find Scarborough pronounced as ska-bruh and Edinburgh as ed-in-bruh, though that's generally accepted without too much criticism.

But whatever you do, do not pronounce names like Buckingham as the laughable buk-ing-ham, with the emphasis on the last syllable. It's correctly pronounced buk-ing-uhm with a very slight emphasis on the first syllable.

BillJ
Contributing Member1,474
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
BillJBut whatever you do, do not pronounce names like Buckingham as the laughable buk-ing-ham
Likewise with Oregon, which is not OR-e-GON, but OR-i-guhn.

We do have Birmingham as BUR-ming-HAM here, however.

CJ
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
There will always be pronunciations favored by the locals that seem counterintuitive to others, and that immediately mark people as being "from away."

Topsham and Lancaster are two I've lived near.

Top-SHAM shows you've never set foot in the town, and Lan-CASTer also marks you as a non-native.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Retired Moderator: A moderator who has retired.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
Live chat
Registered users can join here