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Hereford
Posted: 02 February 2012 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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In the movie Ronin, De Niro’s character pronounces this /hɪɚfɚd/ ("heerford"). He is refering to the place in Britain.

Is this a common US pronunciation for the cattle breed? Are the various towns in the US called Hereford pronounced this way?

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Posted: 02 February 2012 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ve never heard it pronounced in that manner. It has always been “her ferd” with a mild accent on the “her”. New England, North Central Atlantic states, Midwest, Northwest.

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Posted: 03 February 2012 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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My experience is the same as sobiest’s.  (My father was agricultural attache in various US embassies, so I heard a lot about cattle.)

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Posted: 03 February 2012 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I like that movie but never noticed the mispronunciation.  De Niro’s character is American, and although we don’t know much about his background, probably not a farm boy (also true of De Niro himself) so the error could be deliberate, or it could be De Niro’s and the director decided to let it slide.

IMDB’s “Goofs” section comments:
Robert De Niro’s character, when discussing Sean Bean’s character, mispronounces the town in England where the SAS HQ is. It is Hereford - pronounced Her-er-fud and not Heer-ford as spoken by De Niro. However, there are many ‘Herefords’ in the USA (Texas, Arizona, California, and a few in New England) and many US Herefords are pronounced Sam’s way, much as Americans often pronounce Edinburgh as Edin-Bro.

[ Edited: 03 February 2012 11:15 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 03 February 2012 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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There also the fact that an American who is not familiar with the cattle breed would simply be seeing a name on a map that looks like here-ford and so he pronounces it as it looks (to him). When I lived in the UK, I ran into this a lot. For me, there were many British places and names that I knew phonetically from movies, but not necessarily by their British spellings. It took me several minutes one day to realize that “Leicester Square” in my A to Zed was in fact the place I had heard mentioned in movies but would have spelled as “Lester Square.”

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Posted: 03 February 2012 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dr. Techie - 03 February 2012 11:12 AM

It is Hereford - pronounced Her-er-fud

Well, only in a non-rhotic dialect: the actual English pronunciation is closer to “her’uh’f’uh’d”, those “uh"s representing schwas, as I hope this clip makes clear. The cow gets the same pronunciation as the city.

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Posted: 03 February 2012 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Note that in the context of the film, it would have made more sense for him to have pronounced it like the place name in the UK, as the character was trying to show that another character was not familiar with the SAS base there: mispronouncing it would have weakened his position. I do suspect that it was a mistake by De Niro, but was just wondering (by the by) whether the US Hereford’s are pronounced with the Heer sound, and those IMDb goof notes indicate that might be the case.

Note also that the IMDb notes are riddled with errors. People pay out on Wikipedia but the Many Eyes Smooth Errors idea works in the long term: errors stay on IMDb forever. I did sign up there once and sent them a bunch of corrections, but none of them were acted on, so…

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Posted: 04 February 2012 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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wondering (by the by) whether the US Hereford’s are pronounced with the Heer sound, and those IMDb goof notes indicate that might be the case.

I think the IMDb notes are wrong in this case, because I’ve heard only “her-ford,” not “heer-ford.” I agree about the unfortunate difficulty of correcting IMDb.

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Posted: 04 February 2012 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Corrections do work their way through on IMDB, it just takes a while as there’s a vetting process after you’ve submitted the edit which can take a few weeks to complete. If the correction doesn’t appear it’s because it’s been rejected. I remember I had to twice submit a correction for the birthplace of the actor Ricardo Cortez, the second time giving a fuller explanation to back the authoritative cite (Cortez’ birthplace was given as Austria when in fact his parents had emigrated to the US just prior to his birth in New York City). They finally changed it.

I’ve just submitted an edit for the Goofs section in question, giving the correct British pronunciation that zytho indicated. Let’s see if that one works its way through.

BTW some sections of the IMDB are not open to editing (you can’t correct a misidentified photo, for instance). But in these cases starting a thread in the relevant section of the IMDB Help forums will usually do the trick.

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Posted: 05 February 2012 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Quite often IMDb’s biography pages will include the same information twice or three times, phrased slightly differently. Sometimes there will be mutually contradictory entries, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. It’s disappointing, considering that the entries have been professionally vetted.

The triviality of the trivia is also extraordinary.
Snoop Dogg “shares a birthday with Viggo Mortensen and Tom Petty”. Wow.
He is “known for using a unique form of doublespeak, adding “-izzle” to the end of words whenever he can.” It’s not unique. He didn’t even invent it, by a long shot.

Bryan Brown’s “Trade Mark”: “Frequently plays Australians”
ROFL. You don’t say? Playing people of your own nationality is a trade mark?

Someone is wrong on the internet and I can’t fix it…

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Posted: 05 February 2012 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Professional vetting is way too strong a term for it. The vetting process is extraordinarily haphazard, leading to anomalies like those you mention above: contradictions in entries sometimes in direct juxtaposition, downright errors, etc. It certainly lessens the worth of IMDB as a reliable database. I’m sure the root of the problem is too many submissions and too few people checking them.

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Posted: 05 February 2012 08:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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As Peter Griffin says, “but I digest...”

Thanks for the info, all.

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Posted: 06 February 2012 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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How are the American cigarettes Marlboro pronounced in the States (borrow, I think)? Is it short for Brit Marlborough (buh-ruh)? Cf. American place Battleboro, and Scots Edinburgh, American burgs, staid burghers, boroughs, etc. German originally but interesting variations in English.

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Posted: 06 February 2012 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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burrow is the way I would pronounce the last two sylls

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Posted: 06 February 2012 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I recall hearing it pronounced buh-ruh in the state of Georgia, in or near the city of Augusta, in 1972-3.

I remembered it because most of my friends who smoked, smoked Kools. There was a young man trying to bum a cigarette from one of our group. He did not want a Kool or Newport or any menthol-flavored cigarette, he wanted a “Maahr-buhr-uh” I remembered this for the language and for the humor as he went from man to man exhibiting increasing agitation at each new failure in his quest.

I only recall hearing it with this pronunciation this one time. 

Other times it has been pronounced: “Marhl burro”

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Posted: 06 February 2012 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Just to remark that Hereford, pronounced the Rightpondian way or written, is a perfectly comprehensible Old English phrase meaning ‘army ford’.  After well over a millennium of use, and all the impact of Norman French and Latin, any Anglo-Saxon would instantly understand it.

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