The awful events near Lake Annecy have brought this place name into prominence. At first sight it is a straightforward French name, with no problem for people needing to pronounce it, such as British radio and TV newsreaders and journalists, and yet over the past week I have been hearing three anglicised pronunciations: /ËˆÃ¦nsi/, /ËˆÃ¦nÉ™ËˆsiË/ and /Ã¦nÉ™ËˆsiË/. The pronunciation given in the Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation, edited by Olausson and Sangster, both of whom have since left the BBC’s Pronunciation Unit, is yet a fourth: /Ã¦nËˆsiË/. From the variations heard, I can’t work out which is the Unit’s current recommendation.
So, which one is ‘correct’? Of course, the answer has to be, “all and none”, as to speak of a correct anglicisation for an unfamiliar name is nonsensical. However, my preference would be for the first of these, on the grounds that in French the medial schwa would be omitted by the law of three consonants (a schwa is only retained, or indeed may be inserted, if there are three successive consonants in a word or phrase, which is not the case here); and that initial stress seems more ‘natural’ for British English speakers. American English may prefer final stress, as it does in many French names (and even some thoroughly anglicised ones such as Christine).