I have problem with finding IPA for some street names, cities, rare surnames and city districts, basicly words I can’t find in dictionary.

For example I need to pronounce word ‘Gorgie’, /ˈɡɔrɡiː/ but my first guess was something similar to /dʒɔrdʒi:/.

Any tips? Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    This is where Google comes in handy. The first hit on Gorgie gives a Wikipedia entry for an area of Edinburgh. If that's what you're looking for, Wikipedia tells you it's pronounced /ˈɡɔrɡiː/. Jun 26, 2015 at 15:53
  • Yes, but only sometimes. There is a lot of words I can't find pronuciation for using google e.g. 'Niddrie'
    – October
    Jun 26, 2015 at 16:10
  • Well, I googled "Niddrie pronunciation" and got this. I have no idea how authoritative it is. Jun 26, 2015 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


Questions like this are what Google is really good for. Google "Gorgie pronunciation" and you're likely to be driven to a number of sites.

If that doesn't work, you just have to guess, based on spelling. I would have guessed /ˈɡɔrdʒiː/, because ‹g› before ‹i› is for historical reasons usually /dʒ/, and I would have been wrong: it's /ˈɡɔrɡiː/. Don't let that bother you. Practically nobody knows these pronunciations except the people who live there, and they are usually delighted with your mispronunciations: it makes them feel superior. I caused great mirth when I first came to St Louis and gave all the French street names more or less French pronunciations.

  • 1
    Indeed, as noted in the Los Angeles Times story "'Los Feliz': How you say it tells about you and L.A.," the USGS gave up on trying to record the pronunciation of place names long ago. People need to bumble through Rio Grande, Ohio; Pierre, South Dakota; Genoa, Nevada; and so on without official guidance.
    – choster
    Jun 26, 2015 at 18:51

For such pronunciation problems there are special dictionaries of pronunciation. http://www.amazon.de/Cambridge-English-Pronouncing-Dictionary-CD-ROM/dp/0521152550

It is really rare that a proper name isn't registered in Daniel Jones. It covers only British pronunciation, but is very exact, giving the most frequent pronunciation first, and then possible variants.

  • 1
    For place names there are also 'pronouncing gazeteers'. But they're not going to be very helpful with the names of very small places or very new towns. Jun 26, 2015 at 18:55

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