Consider an American actor who is tasked with mastering British Received Pronunciation for an upcoming role. If he has a talent for vocal mimicry, as many actors do, he should have no trouble picking up the "rules" of RP just from listening to people speak it: the non-rhotacism of the dialect, the aspiration of intervocalic t, the characteristic intonation patterns and prosody of RP, and so on. For the most part, he should have no trouble speaking RP like a native. Yet he would never in a million years figure out on his own that lieutenant should be pronounced "leftenant," for example, or that controversy is often pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, unless he hears those specific words pronounced. To my knowledge, there are no general characteristics of RP that account for the mysterious appearance of an f in lieutenant (or, if you prefer, there are no general characteristics of General American that account for its absence). You just have to know how those specific words should be pronounced, because you'll never figure it out on your own.
Do linguists recognize a distinction between the "rules" of a dialect on the one hand and its individual pronunciation "quirks" on the other? Is there a term for this phenomenon? Is it considered merely a variation on regional preferences for certain words over their synonyms (e.g., rubbish vs. garbage), or is there something else at play here?
(Disclaimer: I take no position on whether the BE or AE pronunciation of any of these words should be considered the "quirky" one; I simply note that one couldn't easily intuit one pronunciation just from knowing the other.)