In today’s English pronunciation lesson, I’ll teach you how to pronounce Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. We’re going to look at this word in detail because it is commonly mispronounced by English learners. In the second part of the lesson, we will compare the word ‘Edinburgh’ to words that have similar spellings.

The word ‘Edinburgh’ is commonly mispronounced because of the ‘burgh’ part of the spelling, which students of English don’t know how to pronounce.

Edinburgh Pronunciation

The word ‘Edinburgh’ contains three syllables → /ˈed.ɪn.brə/.

  • The first syllable carries the stress and sounds the same as the name ‘Ed’, which is short for Edward.
  • The second syllable sounds the same as the word ‘in’.
  • The third syllable sounds very much like the word ‘bra’ (women’s underwear), except that it is unstressed.

How to Pronounce Edinburgh: Similar Words

We will now compare the spelling and pronunciation of Edinburgh to some similar words.

burgh /ˈbʌr.ə/ (n Scottish English) = a district of a town that is self-governing.

borough/ˈbʌr.ə/ (n) = the English word for a district of a town that is self-governing. Note that this word sounds the same as the above word ‘burgh’.

thorough /ˈθʌr.ə/ (adj) = done in a careful manner. For example, ‘The police performed a thorough search of the borough’.

Don’t Pronounce Edinburgh Like These Words! ❌

To help you remember the correct pronunciation of ‘Edinburgh’, we will now learn words with similar spellings that are pronounced differently. DO NOT pronounce ‘Edinburgh’ like the following words…

through /θruː/ (preposition) = from one side of something to another. E.g., ‘I walked through the tunnel’.

rough /rʌf/ (adj) = having an uneven surface. For example, ‘My cat licked me with its rough tongue’. Notice that the <gh> spelling in this word is pronounced with an /f/ sound.

Edinburgh Pronunciation: NOT LIKE THESE Cities… ❌

Despite the similarity of spelling, the following places are not pronounced like ‘Edinburgh’…

Hamburg /ˈhæm.bɜːɡ/ (place) = the second largest city in Germany.

Pittsburgh (place) /ˈpɪts.bɜːɡ/ = an industrial city in Pennsylvania, USA.

Extend Your Learning

▶︎ Speak clear and confident English. Take my Clear Accent course.

▶︎ Watch another pronunciation lesson: How Do YOU Pronounce ‘Garage’?

▶︎ Are you pronouncing ‘schedule’ correctly? Do my lesson on the ‘Pronunciation of Schedule‘.


Jade Joddle grows your confidence and skill to shine when speaking English.

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