Flores in the Azores

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The first line of Tennyson's stirring poem The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet causes some trouble to readers. The poem begins:

At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay

and the problem is in the pronunciation of the two proper nouns.

  • One school pronounces 'Flores' as a monosyllable, like floors (IPA: /ˈflɔːrz/, with 'Azores' to match, 'a-zoars',/ə ˈzɔːrz/.
  • The other main school treats 'Flores' as a disyllable 'floor-is' /ˈflɔːr ɪz/ and 'Azores' as a trisyllable, 'e-zoar-is', /ə ˈzɔːr ɪz/.
LPD gives the pronunciations (in British RP) as /ˈflɔːr ɪz (or -ɪs or -iːs)/ and /ə ˈzɔːz/, which do not match each other.
Wikipedia gives the Portuguese (national) pronunciations of the names as /ˈfloɾɨʃ/ and /[ɐˈsoɾɨʃ]/. (The English pronunciation of the latter is given as /əˈzɔːrz/.)
  • AWE's advice is to follow the second school above, by and large following the native pronunciation of the place-names. The metre is based on lines of 14 syllables ('rhyming fourteeners': if ‘Flores’ and ‘Azores’ are not said as two and three syllables respectively, that leaves the line short of syllables.