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Both, says the Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation, a secret guide that has helped generations of BBC newsreaders pronounce difficult words and odd-sounding names, has been made public for the first time in the UK and US.

The training manual offers advice on words such as “schedule”, “controversy” and “kilo-metre”, as well as troublesome modern names including “Al-Qaeda” and “JK Rowling”. It’s an updated version of the tome used by the BBC since the days when radio presenters wore dinner jackets.

It includes the correct way to pronounce foreign names, such as “Sven-Goran Eriksson”, the former England manager, (sven yoer-an ay-rik-son) as well as “Faria Alam”, his former lover, (fuh-ree-uh uh-lam). Rowling, the Harry Potter author, is pronounced as in “rowing” a boat and not as in having a “row” with those who say differently.

It buries the hatchet about long-lived arguments — such as whether to say “shed-yool” or “sked-yool” for “schedule”. Shed-yool is a more English way of pronouncing it, says the guide, though neither is wrong. And is it kil-uh-mee-tuhr or kil-om-uh-tuhr? The first way is the more traditional, says the guide, but the second version is also acceptable.

More than 16,000 words, phrases and difficult-sounding names and places are included in the £14.99 (approx. Rs 1,300) book. The BBC has a Pronunciation Unit with a database of 200,000 words, names and phrases that may leave some newsreaders and presenters tongue-tied.

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