For aspiring wonks and those who have been around longer (who should really know better), it’s always important to have a good grasp of how to correctly pronounce the names of sector organisations.
One of the particularly interesting aspects of the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill through the House of Lords has been the many and varied pronunciations of a range of sector acronyms which have been uttered in debate. This is a major issue for the sector and one which the Minister’s recently proposed amendments have failed to address.
This has to be tackled.
Those with long memories will recall a few years back there was an attempt here to clarify one particularly contentious pronunciation problem.
This issue has not gone away. So, to bring an end to dinner party embarrassment and shameful muttering in conference contributions here is your definitive guide to some of the most challenging acronyms and the unquestionably correct way to pronounce them. Their Lordships should find it handy too.
HEFCE – definitively, once and for all (and while it’s still here) it is hef-key. Not hef-see, hef-kay or H.E.F.C.E but hef-key.
AHUA – while many like to say ah-hoo-ah this does have different connotations in the North East of England and Scotland and therefore the official pronunciation is A.H.U.A.
BUFDG – one of my sector favourites this – buff-dog is the widely accepted form, but there is a minority view that boo-fudge sounds nicer.
BEIS – this is a tricky one as there has inevitably been some jockeying for position following the establishment of the new department. Not B.E.I.S or bees or beece but apparently it is baize.
HESA – not hessa as recently essayed by Baroness Goldie in the House of Lords during the HE Bill debate or even hezza as Lord Lucas preferred but hee-sa.
AURIL – not awe-rill but ow-rill apparently (but not too many people worry about this one).
UKPISG – one of my personal favourites this. U.K.-piss-gee appears to be the most commonly accepted version. Which is nice.
DLHE – lots of people seem to struggle with this, but it is del-ee.
UKRI – again with a new agency there is something of a battle on to establish a definitive position, but you-cry does seem to be winning out over you-kree and uck-ree.
HEFCW – looks tricky on paper but is straightforward really – it’s hef-coo (best said with a Welsh intonation if possible).
AUDE – some Estates directors do prefer to say the name as if it were a sports car but it isn’t Audi/ow-dee, it is awe-day.
UKCISA – I’ve always struggled with this one, but the definitive line from the organisation itself is you-keeza.
USHA – not the solicitor character in the Archers (oo-sha) but the Universities Safety and Health Association (yes, they changed the normal order of the words so they could do this) which is known as ush-ah.
UCAS – you-cass not uck-ass as it is occasionally pronounced by older generations (presumably recalling their days talking about their UCCA applications).
Wonkhe – I am still amazed at the number of colleagues who seem reluctant to pronounce our name correctly as wonky preferring instead to say wonk-H.E.
So, do you agree with all of these? You should, because you know I’m right. What other sector pronunciation challenges have I missed out?