How to Pronounce Goesharde?

Written by Dyami Millarson

A few quick Google searches made it utterly clear to me that no one on the internet so far has addressed this question of how Goesharde, given its unusual German spelling with ,,oe”, ought to be pronounced, whether in German or English. Goesharde is a historical German placename that occurs in the following Frisian language names: Northern Goesharde Frisian, Central Goesharde Frisian, Southern Goesharde Frisian (all of these are North Frisian endangered languages that I wrote about here, here and here). That is how Goesharde has entered the English language. Goesharde may be pronounced as Gōsharde [ˈgoːsˌɦaɐ̯.də] or Gösharde [ˈgœːsˌɦaɐ̯.də] in German. The British English approximate pronunciations may be [ˈgəʊsˌhɑː.də] and [ˈgɜːsˌhɑː.də] respectively. In the latter case, it is the same as how the German loanwords foehn and loess are pronounced in British English: with the [ɜː]-sound as heard in fur.

Etymology may help to understand the pronunciation of oe. Goesharde corresponds to Gooshiird in Frisian, therefore oe corresponds to oo according to the Frisian phonology. However, Goesharde corresponds to Gøs Herreder in Danish, so oe corresponds to ø.

When the spelling with oe is found in historical and modern texts, it doesn’t reveal the underlying pronuncuation, but spelling variations may help to do so. See a list of spelling variations below.

Author, year of publication, title, relevant pagesFormsExcerpts
Möller, Heinrich. 1931. Geschichte der schuhmacher Österreichs: erinnerungsgabe zum sechzigjährigen jubiläum der schuhmacherorganisation, 1871-1931. Nordergösharde
Osten, von, H. H. 1893.
Schleswig-Holstein in geographischen und geschichtlichen Bildern: ein Handbuch der Heimatskunde für Schule und Haus.
Nordergösharde, Südergösharde
Hettner, Alfred et al. 1900. Geographische Zeitschrift. Volume 6. P. 178. Norder-Gösharde, Süder-Gösharde
Schmidt-Petersen, Jürgen. 1928. The North Frisian Dialect of Föhr and Amrum: Grammar and Texts with Specimens of Other Dialects. North Gōsharde, South Gōsharde
Hubner, Joan. 1733. Volkomen geographie, of beschryving des geheelen aardryks. Volume 2. P. 43. Nort-goesharde
Langebek, Jacob. 1878.
Scriptores rerum Danicarum Medii Ævi. P. 511, 519.
Nordergoesharde, Nørrægøshæret
It may be noted that the place names could be written either with or without hyphen ( – ). The forms included here with ,,oe” do not tell us anything about the pronunciation, but it tells us something about the overwhelming frequency of and therefore preference for the spelling with ,,oe”, which explains why this spelling prevailed and became the modern standard, and the inclusion of the forms with ,,oe” in the table above tells us something about hyphen use. Please also note this information was taken from sources written in various languages.

More information will be added later.

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