Recently I heard Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 refer to the town of Dolgellau in Wales (N52:44:24 W3:53:24). He pronounced it as “Dolga-l-ow” and made the last syllable rhyme with “cow”.
Why-oh-why can’t a broadcast professional do a little research before guessing this pronunciation? A little goes a long way.
(I couldn’t resist writing “why-oh-why” back there, it’s obligatory if you’re passing comment about the BBC. If it’s a positive comment about the BBC – and there are many conceivable ones – then you should finish by emphatically saying “thank you BBC”.)
There is such a thing as a Pronunciation Unit at the BBC for internal use. And a BBC styleguide which is quite a fun read.
There’s also a webpage of audio pronunciations which might be handy, courtesy of… the BBC.
To pronounce Dol-gell-au correctly, the last syllable rhymes with “eye” and the combination “ll” signifies a voiceless fricative sound. Put your tongue as if you’d make an “l” sound then blow air instead.
This sound is not unique to Welsh. Several other languages feature the sound. If you can already speak Navaho, Greenlandic or Zulu – or a combination of them – you’ll have no problem with it.
Thanks for reading my new blog. If you ever try to correct anything so picky as my pronunciation, I’ll fight you.