Who put the ?Sh? in The Channon?

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

REPEAT after Noel and Georgette Everingham: "Chair, chime, chalk, cheese and chocolate."

Now say, 'The Channon'.

No, it's not 'The Shannon'.

That would be: "Shair, shime, shalk, sheese and shocolate."

The pronunciation of the village's name has divided Northern Rivers residents for at least two decades, but the people who live there are adamant it's 'ch' not 'sh'.

If anyone can vouch for the 'ch' sound, it's Noel Everingham, who has lived at The Channon for 67 years and descends from one of the village's pioneering families.

"You don't have to correct people when they say 'The Shannon', but we do because we're sensitive about it," he said.

"It feels like they're trying to give it another name ? the wrong name.

"I've heard The Shannon on the radio, the TV, but some of the worst are rodeo announcers."

Noel's wife, Georgette, who has lived at The Channon for 41 years, said she did not understand where the confusion came from.

"I get so annoyed when someone says The Shannon. It's not 'sh' it's 'ch'," she said.

"We have to defend the place we live in."

Pauline Barratt, author of Around The Channon, said people began using the 'sh' sound about 20 years ago.

"I tell people it's not The Shannon, it's The Channon, but some of them continue calling it The Shannon anyway," she said.

"Someone somewhere has misinterpreted it and it's caught on."

Macquarie University researcher Flavia Hodges, who is working on a national register of place names, said the introduction of the 'sh' sound was a mystery.

"It's plausible to assume people may be adopting a French pronunciation of the name, possibly because they think it sounds more sophisticated," she said.

But that explanation didn't wash with Georgette.

She said there were only a few Australian words that started with 'ch' but sounded like 'sh' and one of them was her daughter's name ? Cheryl.



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