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23rd Apr 2017

The Great Scone Map shows how people in different parts of Ireland pronounce ‘scone’ differently

Rory Cashin

Scone, or scone?

As in rhymes with cone, or gone?

There has been polls and votes and such over the years trying to get a general consensus, but apparently how you pronounce the word depends heavily on where you live.

Did you even know there was a third way to pronounce it, that phonetically reads like “skoon”? But that applies to just one small town in Scotland, with the rest of Ireland and the United Kingdom falling somewhere between rhyming with cone and gone.

As a way of celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday, or the anniversary of his death – yup, he died on his birthday – the folks at Cambridge University have put together this map which shows how people in Ireland and the UK pronounce the word differently, depending on where they live.

Scotland, Norther Ireland and the north of England pronounce it with gone, while most of the Republic of Ireland and middle England pronounce it with cone.

Phonetics expert Professor Jane Setter of the University of Reading told The Guardian: “It is not a matter of being posh, or thinking you are posh, if you pronounce scone as in cone. It is more a matter of where you grew up. By and large, the pronunciation that rhymes with gone is more common, however.”

So there you have it. There is no right or wrong way to say it. But for anyone who fails to pronounce the H in ‘Herb’, there is a special place in hell reserved for you.

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