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Old 09-16-2016, 08:00 PM   #1
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Default Pronunciation of "Clough" as in Tom Clough

Hello,
Recently I discovered the Northumbrian Smallpipes from listening to the 1996 album "The Northumbrian Smallpipes". However, being blind and that I use a screen reader, sometimes it can't pronounce names correctly since it's computer-generated voice. My favorite track is by Tom Clough playing the Keel Rowe. So how in the world is Clough pronounced? My screen reader on my Laptop just says "Clo", like close. However, my Iphone screen reader says it like "Cluff", which rhymes with tough. Which pronunciation is correct? If neither of these are correct, then what is it? I recommend approximating the spelling of the pronunciation so that I can program my screen reader to say it properly if it doesn't. I'm also guessing it might be "Claw" or "Clawf", just some guesses though. Thanks in advance

Michael,
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:48 PM   #2
Green Piper
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Default Re: Pronunciation of "Clough" as in Tom Clough

"Clough" means wooded hollow in northern England. It is pronounced "cluff."

Charlie
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Old 09-17-2016, 02:28 AM   #3
Rob_Say
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Default Re: Pronunciation of "Clough" as in Tom Clough

First - let me say you have excellent taste! The Clough family pipers are musicians of legendary quality; their music & style has been passed on but we only can only hear Tom Clough in the three tracks from 1929.

In terms of pronunciation; yes it's Cluff - but the local dialect is quite strong. The Cloughs were from Newsham, a small village near Ashington & Blyth; Ashington in particular often crops up in local dialect jokes. Writing this out does it no justice whatsoever - but here goes:
"Did yer hear about the van that crashed into the Tropical fish shop in Ashin'ton the other day? ... It was a Turtle disaster"

Or - how about this one:
A man goes into the Barbers in Ashington and says "Can you do us a perm?"
The barber looks at him and starts: "Mary had a little lamb ..."
You can here that one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwqALJfpjTw

So "Clough" which would normally be "Cluff" becomes a bit more like "Clerrf" (with a longer 'err' sound). Other classics which would get you thumped if you weren't local:
  • "dog" becomes "derrg" .. which gives you: "Ha' yer seen me derrg?" meaning "Have you seen my dog?"
  • "club" becomes "clerrb" ... which gives: "Aa fund me derrg down at the clerrb" meaning "I found my dog down at the club"
Of course we've no idea if Tom had this accent in 1929 - dialects are always changing.

cheers

Rob

Last edited by Rob_Say; 09-17-2016 at 02:34 AM.
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Old 09-18-2016, 06:24 AM   #4
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Pronunciation of "Clough" as in Tom Clough

Rob that's fascinating sterf ...err... stuff.

The "ough" is one of the least-consistent things in English spelling.

Where I work there's a guy named Hough and he pronounces it "how".

Then there's the football manager named Houghton. Could rhyme with bought or rough or plough, the spelling gives no clue.

The Irish name Dougherty, well, there's a family here who pronounce it "doggerty". I've heard "doorty" and "dowerty" and everything else.
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:56 AM   #5
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Default Re: Pronunciation of "Clough" as in Tom Clough

Thanks all of you! Alright, "Cluff" (more or less) is the verdict, I'll change it in my pronunciation dictionary. Cool thing is, even though it speaks American English all the time you can program it to say "Cluff" in a specifically British accent, though it cannot switch accents partway through a sentence without pausing. Here's an example. One might think it will say, "The legendary Tom Clough" where Clough is a British accent; not so. It would instead say "The legendary Tom." switch accents - "Clough". That's a limitation of the screen reader. Haha, my Iphone is smart! But it Debbie-Deb-definitely does not say Piobaireachd at all!
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:28 PM   #6
Ian Lawther
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Default Re: Pronunciation of "Clough" as in Tom Clough

While the Northumbrian piping fraternity always knew of the Tom Clough the rest of my generation in England knew the pronunciation well from the totally unrelated football manager Brian Clough who was nationally known during the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Anecdotally we know Tom had a strong accent because he also had a deep interest in mathematics and even gave talks on the subject to academics. In the notes in Clough book we are told that his "pitmatic" accent was a hindrance to their understanding.

As an aside to the original question I submit a limerick for your perusal....

There once was a young man from Slough,
Whose rhymes were exceedingly rough,
The critics all said,
That his style was too staid,
But at least all his spelling was thorough.

Ian
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