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December 23, 2012 1:16 PM   Subscribe

How do you say Henry Ireton's last name?

Henry Ireton, the civil war general, regicide, and Cromwell's son-in-law, has a lastname which maybe isn't as obvious to pronounce as it looks. I think I've heard it spoken a long time ago, but can't remember how it was said. Can you help?

I've written below a few different ways it could be said, so please choose which one is right, or at least which one you've heard. Feel free to correct any mistakes in the IPA.

1. ['aɪərtən] — "Ayertun" (that is, the first syllable rimes with "fire")
2. ['aɪrətən] — "Ayratun"
3. ['ɪrɪtən] — "Irritun"
4. ['ɪrətən] — "Irratun"
5. Some other way not listed (please say how)
posted by Jehan to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
 
I've heard it pronounced the first way.
posted by dfriedman at 1:22 PM on December 23, 2012


I'd treat it as a variant of Ayrton, and this provides a bit of backup. 17th century pronunciations had some general differences from today's, but that's more tangential here.
posted by holgate at 1:25 PM on December 23, 2012


But isn't "Ayrton" usually spoken to rime with "air"? That's not a possible pronunciation I had even thought of.
posted by Jehan at 1:33 PM on December 23, 2012


Having studied that period as a postgrad, amongst UK academics at least I have always heard it pronounced the first way.
posted by greycap at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


But isn't "Ayrton" usually spoken to rime with "air"?

It is now, but you've also got the last bit of the Great Vowel Shift and a certain amount of instability around spelling between now and then. I'm happy to give the nod to greycap here, because it's not as if we try to pronounce Cromwell and Whalley and Livesey in ways that they themelves would recognise.
posted by holgate at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2012


1. (['aɪə(r)tən]) is correct according to all three of my reference works on the pronunciation of names (Merriam-Webster, Daniel Jones, and Rybakin).

> I'd treat it as a variant of Ayrton

Nope, it's a separate name, from Kirk Ireton in Derbyshire.
posted by languagehat at 2:16 PM on December 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's #1, from someone who lives very close to Bishop Ireton High School.
posted by capricorn at 5:55 PM on December 23, 2012


Thank you all.

I could swear I have heard 3. before, but I'm glad to know right now.
posted by Jehan at 11:21 AM on December 24, 2012


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