Pronouncing “Crisps”

The daughter of one of my Ghanaian friends had a problem pronouncing the plural of the word “crisp”. She had no trouble saying, “the air is crisp this autumn morning” but had great difficulty in saying “May I have packet of crisps please?” Her problem was not knowing when to stop making the “sps” sound at the end of the word. It would have been easier for her to say “May I have a packet of cripps please?” (Cripps being plural and a crip being singular.) So she would in effect be saying “May I have a packet of crispspsps please.”  This used to annoy me because I suspected she was taking the pss. Curiously today, my wife (Ghanaian) said to me “Honey, would you like a packet of cripps?”.

(And thanks to Ara and Bilby for the technical knowhow!)

22 thoughts on “Pronouncing “Crisps””

  1. Hey, well done PapaG, thank you, pleased to help, but it was Boadicea, not Bilby!

    My younger daughter, who seemed to have her own language for ages, used to only communicate with me via her elder (slightly) sister. We did manage to communicate eventually though!

  2. Hi PapaG, my stepdaughter, when young, did exactly the same. In fact ‘crips’ became a family word for a few years.

  3. Bearsy :

    Hi PapaG, my stepdaughter, when young, did exactly the same. In fact ‘crips’ became a family word for a few years.

    I think Sir Stafford would be as pleased as punch to be remembered in such fond terms

  4. Hi PapaG. Cripps seems the most sensible way of saying it anyway!

    I had the privilege of serving on Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Council with the late Lady Ricketts, daughter of Sir Stafford Cripps. At first sight, she was a formidable lady but was actually very charming and an extremely knowledgeable plantswoman and forager.

    I never did have the nerve to mention to remind her in a jocular manner, of the BBC newscasters spoonerism when he introduced her father as “Sir Stifford Crapps.” 🙂

  5. G’day PapaG
    This actually happened in the cab a few years ago. Five year old passenger: “Driver, can you take us to Apple crumble street”.
    Mother of five year old : “Oh driver, you better make that Abercrombie”.
    It put a big smile on my face. 🙂

  6. Good morning PapaG.

    Remarkably you may inadvertently have solved what has a been a mystery to me all my life.

    Here in South Africa potato crisps are only referred to a chips! I’ve often wondered why? Why throughout the English speaking world we were different?

    Perhaps it comes down to pronunciation, it would be one small step for ‘cripps’ to evolve to chips!

    We easily avoid confusion with ‘French fries’ by adding the word hot.

    “Waitress, a plate of hot chips please”

    “Certainly sir, would you like tomato sauce with that?”


    “Waitress, a packet of chips please”

    “Certainly sir, what flavour?”

  7. Soutie, the corruption of the English language in far off climes continues apace. In the USA one must order ‘hot tea’ for a simple cup of tea. Chips are what you call hot french fries, I suppose. Why use one word when three will do?

  8. Soutie – the youngsters here are beginning to use ‘fries’ instead of ‘hot chips’, but any grown up will be happier with the old way. The word ‘crisps’ is recognised in most places, but usually with a grin and a swift “when are you going back to the UK?”

  9. My son, unable to remember the lyrics of a song about a caterpillar sang instead

  10. When my eldest girl used to sing ‘when you go down to the woods today’, as a nipper, she used to sing, ‘watch them catch their underwear’ instead of, ‘watch them catch you unaware’.

  11. The English chips, American french fries, are known here as ‘slap chips’. To be fair they are very different from McDonalds style french fries. They are thick and sloppy, like wot you get at the chippie. Delicious with salt and vinegar.

    Hostiple and psghetti a couple of the words that kids get wrong.

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