It seems that in the world beyond our shores (where they use the term “football” for a sport that actually requires all players except keepers to manipulate the ball with their feet), an upstart football team, Leicester City F. C., the Foxes, have won the British Premier League Cup after beginning the season at 5,000 to 1 underdogs (underfoxes?). I heard a team member the other night on a sports show make a snarky remark about how Americans can’t pronounce the name of their fair city.
Well, as a New Englander born and bred, I can assure all the fine gents of Leicester City that we in the American northeast can and do pronounce it correctly. That’s because Massachusetts, along with the rest of New England, has its own fair share of English place names, reflecting the origins of our Pilgrim and Puritan fathers, mostly from the south coast of England. We’re used to places that don’t sound like they’re spelled, such as Gloucester (Glaw-stuh), Leominster (Lemmin-stuh), and Worcester (Wuss-tuh). Why, we’ve even got our very own local Leicester (Less-tuh) in central Mass. Of course there’s also Dorchester, Winchester, and Rochester, that are pronounced just the way they’re spelled. Don’t ask me why; that’s the quirk of the English tongue, that makes America and Britain the “two nations divided by a common language.”
Enjoy the aura of your cup victory and your upcoming play in the Champions League, Leicester City! We Bostonians know what it means to savor a triumph by an underdog, and we can say so properly.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2016.