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Awstin or Ostin

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Bill Dawes30/09/2020 18:46:59
539 forum posts

Just watched a quaint little film on Talking pictures channel called 'All that is England' a promotional film made in 30s for Austin cars.

A lovely bit of nostalgia (not that I go back to the 30s I hasten to add) and a slice of coronavirus antidote.

Now the real point of my post, many times recently I have heard Austin pronounced Ostin rather than Awstin as I have always known it. I speak as a Brummie where Austin was based and I never ever heard people say Ostin, if they worked there they would say 'I work at the Awstin.'

Interestingly in this little film, very middle class to be honest, to be expected I suppose for car owning public in the 30s, they were all saying Awstin.

Much relieved at this as I was beginning to wonder if it was my memory that had got it wrong. I blame that brown boot polish Dickinson bloke for starting it all with his Octions.

Bill D.

roy entwistle30/09/2020 19:21:09
1551 forum posts

It would be Ostin where I come from smiley

Bill Dawes30/09/2020 19:28:40
539 forum posts

If Austin called themselves Awstin I wonder how Ostin came about.

Bill D.

Simon Williams 330/09/2020 19:31:20
662 forum posts
82 photos

To rhyme with "bostin",....

Steviegtr30/09/2020 19:32:45
2456 forum posts
339 photos
Posted by roy entwistle on 30/09/2020 19:21:09:

It would be Ostin where I come from smiley

Here too, in not so sunny Leeds.


pgk pgk30/09/2020 19:40:02
2594 forum posts
293 photos



john halfpenny30/09/2020 20:02:07
249 forum posts
24 photos

'Bostin' is yamyam not brummie, but in brummagen it's definitely 'orstin', or so my Longbridge apprentice mates would say.

Edited By john halfpenny on 30/09/2020 20:06:08

Tim Hammond30/09/2020 20:38:57
79 forum posts

As a child and young man I lived in Smethwick, our next door neighbour (a WW 1 veteran) worked at the Austin Motor Works at Longbridge for many years, and he always pronounced it "Ostin" He worked there at a time when Herbert Austin used to walk around his factory to see how things were going, and thus he knew him. Come to think of it, many of our neighbours worked there (the money on the production line was VERY good at the time), and they always pronounced it "Ostin". I worked there for a few years in the 1960's and we always called it "Ostin", though at that time we tended to use the name "BMC" more than "Austin." In time, it became "British Leyland Motor Corporation" and then simply "British Leyland", but the less said about that the better.

norm norton30/09/2020 20:41:44
188 forum posts
9 photos

'Ostin' seems the more logical pronunciation. It follows the same as Austria and Australia, but austerity can go two ways?

"Awstin' sounds the more affected, and 1930's, but might it be a regional dialect?

old mart30/09/2020 20:49:10
3886 forum posts
264 photos

I come from the south of England and never heard of the car being called Awstin except by the ok yars, who have always pronounced things differently.

Michael Gilligan30/09/2020 21:44:25
20289 forum posts
1064 photos

I left Birmingham in 1966, and honestly can’t remember the local pronunciation; but I do recall the factory was always known as “The Austin” ... one of my ancestors was a very early employee, and taught purchasers’ chauffeurs to drive the cars !

Here’s an excellent web-site: **LINK**


Mick B130/09/2020 22:18:58
2219 forum posts
125 photos

Mummy and Daddy always taught me to say Awstin, but when they sent me to a posh school I found there they all said Ostin. But since their Daddies drove Rovers and Wolselys, and even mine had a Humber, perhaps they were trying to reflect the social stratum they thought the brand belonged to...


Mike Woods 101/10/2020 07:47:58
40 forum posts
1 photos

Ostin 'ere in 'ampshire. An antipodean friend pronounces his home country as 'stralia, so maybe to him it would be 'stin. I guess it depends on local accents really.

Edited By Mike Woods 1 on 01/10/2020 07:49:24

Hopper01/10/2020 07:56:11
6623 forum posts
347 photos
Posted by Mike Woods 1 on 01/10/2020 07:47:58:

Ostin 'ere in 'ampshire. An antipodean friend pronounces his home country as 'stralia, so maybe to him it would be 'stin. I guess it depends on local accents really.

Edited By Mike Woods 1 on 01/10/2020 07:49:24

That'd be 'Straya to you. But the cars were always known here as Ostins. I think some were assembled here, making them 'Strayan Ostins,

We had an Ostin A40 when I was a kid. With a cruising speed of about 45mph, 'Straya was a bigger country in those days than it is today, with Mum, Dad, three boys and the dog all loaded up for annual holidays several hundreds of miles away. Air conditioning consisted of winding the window down. And it had those little turn signals that flipped up out the side like jug ears and flashed. That were hi-tech in 1965 that were.

On board entertainment consisted of punching each other in the arm until the first one cried. The old man would threaten to pull up under the nearest shady tree and give us all a flogging with "the Army belt".  But of course the nearest  tree was half an hour's drive away and he'd forgotten by then, distracted by the dog breaking massive wind and No.2 brother breaking the window winder handle off.

Edited By Hopper on 01/10/2020 08:06:05

SillyOldDuffer01/10/2020 09:04:04
8863 forum posts
1995 photos
Posted by norm norton on 30/09/2020 20:41:44:

'Ostin' seems the more logical pronunciation. It follows the same as Austria and Australia, but austerity can go two ways?

"Awstin' sounds the more affected, and 1930's, but might it be a regional dialect?

We're all wrong: it should be spelt and pronounced 'Agustin', which is a mangling of 'Augustine'. Mon braves, it's French, quelle horreur!

Wikipedia explains all:

Austin is an English given name and surname, an Old French language contraction of Agustin as Aostin, Austin (regular disappearing of intervocalic [g] from Late Latin to Old French, compare month August : Old French aüst / aoust, French août). Agustin is the popular form of Augustin, equivalent to Augustine. Variations of the name Austin include Austen and Auston.

Gaius Octavius is to blame for this, due to making himself Emperor Augustus in 27BC. I don't think anyone today knows how the Romans pronounced 'Imperator Caesar divi filius Augustus'.

Does it matter? I pronounce it Austen, as in Pride and Prejudice, because I was taught at school by a man who claimed he'd been to University. Except he, like everyone else, talked about Mount Ever-rest, which is named after Colonel Everest, pronounced Eve-rest. I say Him-a-lay-as rather than Him-al-eye-as. And to prove I'm common, I also say 'or' rather than 'orf'.

Northerner's pronounce 'book' with a long o - 'boook', whereas I say buk. Hard for me to accept they might be right because civilisation ends north of Cold Ashton Crossroads, but the rhyme schemes in Chaucer confirm 'boook' is correct in mediaeval English.

Don't get me started on 'Hygge'. It's everywhere - there's a new housing estate in Keynsham called Hygge Park, yuk.

Today's new word: intervocalic. Useless in my workshop!


Bill Dawes01/10/2020 09:13:43
539 forum posts

Well I shall continue with my tirelsss campaign to re-educate the nation to say Awstin.

Another delightful little film on Talking pictures was from 1940, showing a Ford garage and its chaotic workings, pushing cars back and forth, borrowing each others tools, never ready for customer pickup and then comparing it with a well organised one fancy check in procedures, arrows marking car path around workshop, tool trolleys and interestingly electric diagnosis.

Love all these promotional films they used to make, British Railways, Shell, GPO, they all seemed to do them.

Bill D.

Michael Gilligan01/10/2020 12:39:53
20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by Bill Dawes on 01/10/2020 09:13:43:

Well I shall continue [...]


Pronounced oil if yowm from Brum angel


Tim Hammond01/10/2020 13:12:07
79 forum posts
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 01/10/2020 12:39:53:
Posted by Bill Dawes on 01/10/2020 09:13:43:

Well I shall continue [...]


Pronounced oil if yowm from Brum angel


teeth 2teeth 2yes

Circlip01/10/2020 13:15:19
1524 forum posts

And don't even mention Jowwitt.

Regards Ian.

Mike Poole01/10/2020 13:23:28
3376 forum posts
77 photos

I worked for ostin Morris and then ostin Rover also British Leyland, Pressed Steel, Rover, MINI then BMW MINI, my place of work never changed but a name change was a regular occurrence.


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