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Writer Richard Curtis sparks debate over how Americans say Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 06:14 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:17 24 May 2018

Richard Curtis, who wrote the film, pictured during filming in Halesworth 
Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Richard Curtis, who wrote the film, pictured during filming in Halesworth Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Archant © 2018

Writer Richard Curtis had concerns that calling his new film “Suffolk Lad” may have brought some pronunciation issues, but as reporter MICHAEL STEWARD found out there is a Suffolk and Norfolk on both sides of the pond.

Writer Richard Curtis has sparked a debate over how Americans pronounce Suffolk after he said during an interview that he didn’t know whether anyone from the country could say it correctly.

The writer and producer said that he would love to call his new movie being shot in the region ‘Suffolk Lad’ but doubted “whether anyone in America can pronounce Suffolk”.

Curtis, whose past hit films include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill, was speaking about his new movie – provisionally titled All You Need Is Love – which is being filmed in Suffolk and Norfolk and stars Framlingham pop superstar Ed Sheeran.

Actress Lily James in Suffolk filming the new Richard Curtis movie Picture: SCREEN SUFFOLK Actress Lily James in Suffolk filming the new Richard Curtis movie Picture: SCREEN SUFFOLK

The film, which is being directed by Danny Boyle, is rumoured to be set in a world where The Beatles never existed.

Curtis’s comments, made during an interview with Screen Suffolk, have prompted both Americans and English people to react.

Kellie Adamson, a reporter with the Suffolk News Herald in Virginia, USA, said: “Someone that is local to the area pronounces it SufFICK.

Filming of the new Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film Picture: SCREEN SUFFOLK Filming of the new Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film Picture: SCREEN SUFFOLK

“Most Americans that pronounce it with ‘folk’ at the end are from the north. The same goes for the city of Norfolk.”

Sgt David Dobrydney, of RAF Mildenhall, which houses United States Air Force’s 100th Air Refueling Wing, said it strives to correct any wrong pronunciations.

“We strive to act as good ambassadors to the local community, to include pronouncing names of people and places correctly,” he said.

Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, from both sides of the pond, in Richard Curtis' hit film Notting Hill Picture: WORKING TITLE Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, from both sides of the pond, in Richard Curtis' hit film Notting Hill Picture: WORKING TITLE

“A newly arrived member might mispronounce a term, but it’s soon rectified as they become acclimated.”

Gary Barnes, who is originally from Ipswich but now lives in Aruba, works in the tourism industry with many US clients and says they have no problem pronouncing it.

“I have many clients coming from the US, a large amount from Long Island, New York. The eastern side of Long Island is actually Suffolk county and I have not met any residents who have a problem with the pronunciation. In fact I would say more Americans have a bigger issue with Norfolk.

“The names I hear Americans having issues with most are Harwich - ‘Har-WITCH’, Norwich - ‘Nor-WITCH’ and Gloucester- ‘Glow-SESTER’ among others.”

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