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Ypres

My husband and I will be visiting Ypres in the spring. Would you kind travel experts please help us with the pronunciation of Ypres. We don't want to show up sounding like bumpkins .

Posted by
31435 posts

Paula, I was there about a month ago, and the pronunciation of the name is definitely an issue with most people. During WW-I, the British had a difficult time with this, and just referred to it as "Wipers". They even produced a small newsletter at one point titled the "Wipers Times". The version which seems to be most common is "Eep-ers" (hopefully that spelling is self-explanatory). If you're driving, note that road signs provide the Flemish spelling "Ieper". I would highly recommend using a local Guide to tour the battle sites, as it will provide a much more interesting and rewarding visit, and a better appreciation for the historic events which occurred there. Jacques was the Guide that provided the tour of battle sites for our group, but unfortunately I don't know which firm he works for? He was an outstanding Guide! Happy travels!

Posted by
389 posts

A great website I like to use is Forvo.com, which has recordings of words, including place names, from many different languages. Here's the French pronunciation of Ypres: http://www.forvo.com/word/ypres/ The Flemish/Dutch pronunciation (Ieper): http://www.forvo.com/word/ieper/ The sounds are quite similar in both languages. Just don't say something wildly Anglicized like "Eye-pers" and you'll be fine.

Posted by
12040 posts

The combination of "ie" in Dutch is the same as "ee" or "ea" in English. I'm not sure of the French pronunciation of "Ypres", but because Ieper is a Flemish town, the local pronunciation is something close to "EEper". The pronunciation of nearby Kortrijk and Diksmuide also usually give non-Dutch speakers problems.

Posted by
188 posts

We did hear it pronounced as Eeepers when we were there. If you have a chance, do go to the In Flanders Field Museum. It's a great interactive museum and we learned things about both WWI and the Battle of Ypres that we didn't know. Well worth a couple of hours. And if you have a car and a GPS, do go to Tyne Cot Cemetary, the largest Commonwealth cemetary in the world.