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Pet Peeve #24: The Pronunciation of “Thames”

September 14, 2009

I’m not one to pronounce words correctly. The classic example of this is “vehemently,” which I pronounced–with full vigor–“vah-hem-en-ent-ly” (yes, I added several new letters to the word).

So River Thames, help a brother out. Is it really necessary that you’re pronounced “Tims”?

One, it’s clearly “Thames,” as in “James” with a lisp. Two, it could be pronounced “tames,” which would make sense in some circles. Three, call it what it is and rename it “Tims.”

I think the root of all this agony is that early on in my life, I was asked to find the River Thames on a map (this was probably part of my mission to find, capture, and strip search Carmen Sandiego). Of course, these instructions were spoken to me, and there is no River Tims in England. So Carmen got away, and I resorted to shooting deer with the slowest bullets ever in Oregon Trail. Man’s gotta feed his family somehow.

Is there any word that you’d change the spelling of if you were in charge of the dictionary?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. John Aughey permalink
    September 14, 2009 9:44 pm

    I like the possibly related posts

  2. Oliver Mason permalink
    September 15, 2009 12:55 am

    It’s actually pronounced ‘temmz’, where the vowel rhymes with ‘pen’.

    • September 15, 2009 7:56 am

      Ah, I see. Still pretty close to Tims. Do you have a defense for this pronunciation (keep in mind this is all in good spirits).

      • Oliver Mason permalink
        September 15, 2009 8:36 am

        Yes. In German the river is called ‘Themse’, which is pronounced [tEms@]. So the UK pronunciation is quite close to that, actually 😉

  3. Nancy permalink
    September 15, 2009 5:38 pm

    Have you seen pics of Carmen Sandiego lately? I forgot what she looked like so I Google imaged her and she’s pretty hot! I think I have my Halloween costume idea! It’s either that or Angelina Jolie with a bunch of babies hanging off of me.

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