Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:07 pm UTC

I have a syllabic n in often so it's hard to tell what's just voicing onset weirdness and what's an actual t. I think I only pronounce the t when the word is stressed and/or in isolation and not even always then. I also pronounce "the" and "a" with 'long' vowels in those same situations
my pronouns are they

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Monika » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:32 pm UTC

Mega85 wrote:Merriam-Webster lists "often" with a "t" sound and puts a "÷" before that pronunciation. That is used in that dictionary for pronunciations that are commonly prescribed against.

Oh, I was wondering what that symbol was.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:43 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Mega85 wrote:Merriam-Webster lists "often" with a "t" sound and puts a "÷" before that pronunciation. That is used in that dictionary for pronunciations that are commonly prescribed against.

Oh, I was wondering what that symbol was.


From Merriam-websters pronunciation guide

\÷\ The obelus, or division sign, is placed before a
pronunciation variant that occurs in educated
speech but that is considered by some to be questionable
or unacceptable. This symbol is used sparingly and primarily
for variants that have been objected to over a period
of time in print by commentators on usage, in schools by
teachers, or in correspondence that has come to the
Merriam-Webster editorial department. In most cases the
objection is based on orthographic or etymological arguments.
For instance, the second variant of cupola \‚kyü-
pə-lə, ÷-ƒl‹ō\, though used frequently in speech, is objected
to because "a" is very rarely pronounced \‹ō\ in English. The
pronunciation \‚lˆī-ƒber-‡ē\ is similarly marked at the entry
for library because some people insist that both rœs should
be pronounced.


https://assets2.merriam-webster.com/mw/ ... iation.pdf

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby New User » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:24 am UTC

Mirror, terror, and horror are words I've heard pronounced in different ways. I've heard many people who make them sound very similar to mere, tear, and whore. I've also heard mira and tera, but I don't recall hearing hora much.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Aiwendil » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:28 am UTC

The OED says:

OED wrote:Often is less commonly used than oft until the 16th cent. Several orthoepists of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Hart, Bullokar, Robinson, Gil, and Hodges, give a pronunciation with medial -t- . Others, including Coles, Young, Strong, and Brown, record a pronunciation without -t- , which, despite its use in the 16th cent. by Elizabeth I, seems to have been avoided by careful speakers in the 17th cent. (see E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500–1700 (ed. 2, 1968) II. §405). Loss of t after f occurs in other cases; compare soften v., and also raft n.1, haft n.1, etc. The pronunciation with -t- has frequently been considered to be hypercorrection in recent times: see for example H. W. Fowler Mod. Eng. Usage (1926), s.v.


So both pronunciations are perfectly cromulent, but interestingly it was the pronunciation with the -t- that was prescribed, whereas nowadays if one is prescribed it is apparently the one without.

Also interesting to me is that the OED gives the American pronunciations as /ˈɔf(ə)n/ or /ˈɑft(ə)n/. In other words, ɔ only without the t and ɑ only with the t. My pronunciation, though, is /ˈɔft(ə)n/, and I'm fairly sure I've heard people with the caught-cot merger say /ˈɑf(ə)n/.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Liri » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:00 am UTC

Whoa, who doesn't pronounce the t in raft?
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:11 am UTC

How many syllables do you have in "schedule"? For me, the word is three syllables [skɛdʒəwl̩] "skej uh wul".

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Derek » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:53 am UTC

Two: /skɛdʒəl/

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:20 am UTC

Two. /skɛdʒ.wʊl/

I'm also confused about the "raft" inclusion.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Monika » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:35 pm UTC

Does nobody say skedyool? Is there always a j sound after d?
(Can't do IPA on my phone)
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:21 pm UTC

It's a yod-coalescence thing. I speak fairly conservative RP and even I don't preserve the yod there. I do have a /ʃ/ at the beginning most of the time unlike everyone else here though (but am inconsistent there and also have /sk/).

/ˈʃɛ.dʒʊl/, /ˈskɛ.dʒʊl/

When the word is stressed or in isolation, the final vowel is /u:/ though
my pronouns are they

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby chridd » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:32 am UTC

I (US) definitely have /dʒ/; I'm not sure if I've heard it with just /dj/. I might have a bit of a /j/ there after the /dʒ/ (so /ˈskɛdʒjl̩/), but if so it's really subtle and might just be because of the /ʒ/. I normally have two syllables, but /ˈskedʒ.ju.l̩/ doesn't sound wrong to me (I pronounce tool as two syllables, which I think is related).
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:47 pm UTC

chridd wrote:I (US) definitely have /dʒ/; I'm not sure if I've heard it with just /dj/. I might have a bit of a /j/ there after the /dʒ/ (so /ˈskɛdʒjl̩/), but if so it's really subtle and might just be because of the /ʒ/. I normally have two syllables, but /ˈskedʒ.ju.l̩/ doesn't sound wrong to me (I pronounce tool as two syllables, which I think is related).


I pronounce "schedule" /ˈskedʒ.u.l̩/ - i.e., as three syllables - but "tool" is one syllable for me.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:55 pm UTC

Aiwendil wrote:
chridd wrote:I (US) definitely have /dʒ/; I'm not sure if I've heard it with just /dj/. I might have a bit of a /j/ there after the /dʒ/ (so /ˈskɛdʒjl̩/), but if so it's really subtle and might just be because of the /ʒ/. I normally have two syllables, but /ˈskedʒ.ju.l̩/ doesn't sound wrong to me (I pronounce tool as two syllables, which I think is related).


I pronounce "schedule" /ˈskedʒ.u.l̩/ - i.e., as three syllables - but "tool" is one syllable for me.


Same here.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby measure » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:53 am UTC

Mega85 wrote:How many syllables do you have in "schedule"? For me, the word is three syllables [skɛdʒəwl̩] "skej uh wul".

Quickly: [skɛ.dʒʊl] (2)
Slowly: [skɛ.dʒuː.ʊl] (3)

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:04 pm UTC

Dr. Seuss. His name is typically pronounced as /su:s/ by most people, but he actually pronounced the name as /sɔɪs/.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:38 pm UTC

Mega85 wrote:Dr. Seuss. His name is typically pronounced as /su:s/ by most people, but he actually pronounced the name as /sɔɪs/.

I remember reading about that. Apparently it was the same way during his life, and he eventually accepted the fact that pretty much all Americans were going to pronounce his name that way whether he liked it or not.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:13 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Mega85 wrote:Dr. Seuss. His name is typically pronounced as /su:s/ by most people, but he actually pronounced the name as /sɔɪs/.

I remember reading about that. Apparently it was the same way during his life, and he eventually accepted the fact that pretty much all Americans were going to pronounce his name that way whether he liked it or not.


From Wikipedia

Geisel's most famous pen name is regularly pronounced /sjuːs/,[2] an anglicized pronunciation inconsistent with his German surname (the standard German pronunciation is [ˈzɔʏ̯s]). He himself noted that it rhymed with "voice" (his own pronunciation being /sɔɪs/). Alexander Laing, one of his collaborators on the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern,[62] wrote of it:

You're wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn't rejoice
If you're calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice[63] (or Zoice)[64]

Geisel switched to the anglicized pronunciation because it "evoked a figure advantageous for an author of children's books to be associated with—Mother Goose"[48] and because most people used this pronunciation. He added the "Dr." to his pen name because his father had always wanted him to practice medicine.[65]


So apparently he himself started using the /suːs/ pronunciation for his pen name Dr. Seuss.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Monika » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:02 pm UTC

Vaguely related: In Die Hard 3 John McClane hears someone call Zeus Carver "Hey, Zeus!" and asks him if his name is Jesus (Spanish pronunciation). This conversation doesn't translate well. We pronounce it tsois.

BTW it's called Stirb langsam = Die slowly in German.

Also I only just found out it's McClane not McLane.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby New User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:31 pm UTC

I like to pronounce Zeus like Zay-us. Nobody understands what I'm talking about unless I say Zoose.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Flumble » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:55 pm UTC

Obviously they don't understand your unusual pronunciation, because it's /sdeú̯s/.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Monika » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:54 pm UTC

I'm rewatching Die Hard 3. They translated it to John mishearing it as "Hey Boys" and thinking Zeus' name is Boys.

Also at some point relatively early a woman says "If that [unlikely thing] is true I'm gonna marry Donald Trump." I had never heard of Trump before he started running (started to run? English is confusing). And later in relation to the 21/42/president riddle someone says Hillary Clinton is going to be the 43rd president.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:57 am UTC

Why do people claim that people from New Jersey say the state as "New Joisey" when no one from New Jersey talks like that? Just when have they ever heard someone from New Jersey call the state "New Joisey"?

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Carlington » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:16 am UTC

Sure, so:

Around the turn of the 20th century, the variety of New York accent that also existed in New Jersey had undergone a curl-coil merger. The r-coloured /ɜːr/ vowel sound in Jersey was pronounced instead as the diphthong /əɪ/, which doesn't really exist in a lot of other varieties of English. Coincidentally, that same diphthong was also used for the /ɔɪ/ sound in boy.
Now, what speakers from the rest of America picked up on was "New Yorkers and New Jerseyites say 'er' the same as they say 'oy'" - people are generally way better at identifying differences between sounds than they are at just identifying sounds in isolation. And since they didn't have this /əɪ/ sound to properly emulate the New York accent, what they did was emulate it by merging their own Jersey sound with their own boy sound, resulting in "Joisey".
Since then, that feature of the accent has become heavily stigmatised and is nowadays almost non-existent, which is why you don't ever actually hear people from Jersey say Joisey. Stereotypes, it seems, persist longer than the linguistic features they are based upon.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Monika » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:33 am UTC

Fascinating!
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:01 pm UTC

I knew this kid in high school who was from California, however spoke nonrhotically due to a speech impediment. People always asked him where he was from.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Aiwendil » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:10 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Sure, so:

Around the turn of the 20th century, the variety of New York accent that also existed in New Jersey had undergone a curl-coil merger. The r-coloured /ɜːr/ vowel sound in Jersey was pronounced instead as the diphthong /əɪ/, which doesn't really exist in a lot of other varieties of English. Coincidentally, that same diphthong was also used for the /ɔɪ/ sound in boy.
Now, what speakers from the rest of America picked up on was "New Yorkers and New Jerseyites say 'er' the same as they say 'oy'" - people are generally way better at identifying differences between sounds than they are at just identifying sounds in isolation. And since they didn't have this /əɪ/ sound to properly emulate the New York accent, what they did was emulate it by merging their own Jersey sound with their own boy sound, resulting in "Joisey".
Since then, that feature of the accent has become heavily stigmatised and is nowadays almost non-existent, which is why you don't ever actually hear people from Jersey say Joisey. Stereotypes, it seems, persist longer than the linguistic features they are based upon.


Were the curl and coil vowels fully merged in that accent? My older relatives on the New York side of the family definitely have something like /əɪ/ in words like "curl" and "Jersey", but I think they have something closer to /ɔɪ/ in "boy". Though come to think of it, if I imitate one of them saying "oy vey", it is perhaps closer to /əɪ/ than /ɔɪ/. So perhaps they do merge those sends fully but my brain parses them differently because the sounds are distinct for me.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Carlington » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:33 am UTC

I don't know if the merger was complete, but I have little doubt that there would be some socially conditioned interplay here given the stigma surrounding the accent and also that language often has a sort of in-group/out-group variation to it.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:00 am UTC

A spelling reformer proposed that "worry" be respelled "werry".

Tuesday, August 2, 2005: "werry" for "worry"

A poll of Americans and Japanese about concern that World War III might occur in their lifetime prompted me to address today's word.
-ORR- is very ambiguous. In a stressed syllable, the vowel is usually seen as broad-A or short-O (borrow, tomorrow, corridor as most people say them) or AU (torrid as most people say it, lorry, abhorred). Only in "worry" (and its derivatives) is ORR pronounced ER or UR.

Since most people rhyme "berry" and "hurry", and ER is the way this sound is most commonly spelled (especially in multitudinous agent words (purchaser) and comparatives (bigger), let's go for the spelling that new learners are more likely to think of when they hear the word spoken: "werry".


http://simplerspelling.tripod.com/arc05-3Q.html

Most people rhyme "berry" and "hurry"? I don't think so. I've never heard anyone pronounce those words to rhyme.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:42 am UTC

Mega85 wrote:A spelling reformer proposed that "worry" be respelled "werry".

Tuesday, August 2, 2005: "werry" for "worry"

A poll of Americans and Japanese about concern that World War III might occur in their lifetime prompted me to address today's word.
-ORR- is very ambiguous. In a stressed syllable, the vowel is usually seen as broad-A or short-O (borrow, tomorrow, corridor as most people say them) or AU (torrid as most people say it, lorry, abhorred). Only in "worry" (and its derivatives) is ORR pronounced ER or UR.

Since most people rhyme "berry" and "hurry", and ER is the way this sound is most commonly spelled (especially in multitudinous agent words (purchaser) and comparatives (bigger), let's go for the spelling that new learners are more likely to think of when they hear the word spoken: "werry".


http://simplerspelling.tripod.com/arc05-3Q.html

Most people rhyme "berry" and "hurry"? I don't think so. I've never heard anyone pronounce those words to rhyme.

It's also kind of strange that a poll of Americans and Japanese people prompted thoughts about a spelling reform based on distinctly British pronunciations.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby chridd » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:50 am UTC

Mega85 wrote:http://simplerspelling.tripod.com/arc05-3Q.html

Most people rhyme "berry" and "hurry"? I don't think so. I've never heard anyone pronounce those words to rhyme.
This has been discussed before. (This particular claim by this particular person, I mean.)

Although werry I'd say would be a valid reformed spelling, I don't think it rhymes with berry in most dialects—I might be inclined to respell berry as something like bairy, although of course that wouldn't make sense for some other dialects.

And the other distinctions between sounds that or makes also vary between dialects (e.g., I pronounce tomorrow with the vowel in start, but I've also heard it pronounced with something more like north).
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby flicky1991 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:44 am UTC

"werry" seems nonsensical to me - "worry" has a completely different vowel from "berry". Now, "wurry" would make sense.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby chridd » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:56 am UTC

flicky1991 wrote:"werry" seems nonsensical to me - "worry" has a completely different vowel from "berry". Now, "wurry" would make sense.
...but for me, at least, worry has the same vowel as in letter and various other words ending in -er, so I think of er as the usual way of spelling that sound (although I can't think of many words where it occurs in a stressed syllable... herb, Serbia, stressed her, nerd, herd, Bert, pervert, tern, Verne... okay maybe I can think of some). And I don't think of er as the usual way of spelling the berry sound (I'd be inclined to spell it as a long a + r (air, are, etc.), but of course that doesn't work in dialects that distinguish merry from Mary).

wurry would also wurk.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby flicky1991 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:08 am UTC

The vowel I have in "hurry" and "worry" is the same one as in "hut" and "fun", hence why "u" seems more natural to me.
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby New User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:59 pm UTC

For most of my life I've heard everyone rhyme bury with berry. Now I sometimes hear it rhymed with hurry and worry. I think that sounds better and I'd like to adapt that pronunciation for my own use, but I am often not mindful of it.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Aiwendil » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:25 pm UTC

New User wrote:For most of my life I've heard everyone rhyme bury with berry. Now I sometimes hear it rhymed with hurry and worry. I think that sounds better and I'd like to adapt that pronunciation for my own use, but I am often not mindful of it.


I've been living for a while in Sudbury, Ontario - which I pronounce /'səd bɛ ɹi/. A local once admonished me that it is pronounced /'səd bɝ ɹi/.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:29 am UTC

I would most likely pronounce that name /'sʌd bɝ ɹi/if nobody told me otherwise.

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:35 am UTC

What about "Pillsbury"? I pronounce that as "pills berry".

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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Mega85 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:43 am UTC

Here's something I've found that the spelling reformer said:

''THIS is the famous "distinction without a difference", except that there are about 4 times as many -erry's as -urry's. And please note that Dictionary gives woor.ee, foor.ee, and hoor.ee (that's the sound that the U with a 'hat' (circumflex accent) shows: short-OO), which I have not heard so regard as bizarre. Either they heard wrong or they're on drugs.''
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* ''Dictionary, oddly, is sometimes just plain wrong. For instance, "water" is not shown there as ever being pronounced "wut.er", but I listened very carefully to reports of water-main breaks on TV stations in the New York Tristate Metropolitan Area (the broadcasting capital of North America), and wut.er is plainly the pronunciation educated people in this area give that word. The SSWD project, of course, cannot offer "water" precisely because it has more than one common pronunciation.''
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* ''If you put together the -erry's and the -ery's pronounced the same, you get a MASS of words with ER as the crucial spelling, but if you try to use -ury rather than -urry, you get a completely different sound. So I think we'll go with -erry. But I appreciate your views. Cheers.''

* Quote-''UR, ER, OR, and AR may be pronounced with tiny differences by SOME speakers in SOME dialects as to SOME words. I went to your URL for the Cambridge dictionary, which offers TWO bizarre transliterations (which may or may not be rendered in standard IPA but is opaque to me -- IPA transliterations tend to proceed from the positions of vocal apparatus of the linguists who speak them in preparing to write them; SSWD is concerned about what people HEAR, and if they hear no difference between, for instance, vaann and venn for French "vin", it doesn't matter to them whether the person saying it forms the word one way, because the listener hears it the same no matter which way a speaker might articulate it). Most to the point, the Cambridge dictionary shows TWO pronunciations, British dialect and American standard.
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* I then went to the Merriam-Webster URLs for the other words and clicked on the speaker icon to listen to the pronunciations rendered, in American English, and found no distinction worth making. All those words would rhyme PERFECTLY as most people regard things. Of course, we could avoid the problem altogether by saying that there are two different pronunciations for "worry", so the word can't be changed!
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* For most ordinary , for whom the SSWD project is intended, not for linguistics specialists, there is between a great many word pairs or groups, no difference worth 'worrying' about. There are a lot of overeducated people who have bugaboos about tiny matters of no consequence, and will argue them endlessly, to everyone else's tedium. I'm not about to argue the linguistic equivalent of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, a subject that may have fascinated some medieval theologians but nobody else.
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* The SSWD project is about NEEDED change, and preferably changes that people can readily apply to things they HEAR. One transliteration for a small range of actual sounds is convenient, and all spelling is convention. Few speakers of standard English distinguish in sound between "ferry" and "furry". Having a distinction in spelling for these two HOMONYMS is useful. As to which spelling you favor for a reform of "worry", I have noted that you favor "wurry".
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* The problem may be only that a following-R tends to alter the quality of the vowel before it, for some speakers more than others. I have not yet offered this word (which you plainly render "wurd" and I render "werd") and might select "wurry", on the basis that some people might see it as parallel to "merry", which they pronounce like "Mary". Or I may not offer it at all, since, as some people regard things, it has two pronunciations so cannot be changed if a change would antagonize some significant body of speakers. I am asking for more comments. Cheers.

* Quote- ''YES, I noted that in checking "merge", some dictionaries use the U with a hat as the vowel. But in any case, that is the ER sound, as shown plainly by the sample words in Dictionary.com's own pronunciation key: "urge, term, firm, word, heard".
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* As for "ont", I suggested that because "ant" is a homophone we can eliminate from a language filled to overflowing with homophones, and seems to those of us who say "ont" -- meaning a large proportion of the best-educated people in the U.S. and almost everybody in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, etc. -- that calling a person by a homophone for an insect is arguably disrespectful. I have no power to impose anything, and the SSWD site is designed mainly to make people think. As for "tord", too-waurd is a spelling pronunciation, and as with ev-er-y and other spelling pronunciations (which my Random House Unabridged labels so people know better than to use them), spelling reformers can properly advise people that tho they think they are being careful to be correct, they are actually being wrong.
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* The distinction between "ferry" and "furry" is, I repeat, not "worth making. All those words would rhyme PERFECTLY as most people regard things." People who try to draw needless distinctions and force people to try to supply only one of essentially interchangeable spellings do spelling reform a disservice. This is not the distinction between "merry" rhyming with "berry" and "merry" rhyming with "Mary". It is TRIVIA that ordinary people do not waste time on and cannot justify wasting educational time and money on. If you see a poem in which one line ends with "ferry" and the next appropriate line ends in "furry" or "worry" or "cherry" or "very", will you be startled by an appalling lack of rhyme? If so, you are one in perhaps 15,000 people.
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* Native speakers of English cannot and do not make the short-E as in "bed" and follow it with R in the same syllable and come out with anything like what most people say for "very", "berry", etc. Following-R changes the quality of many vowels in its same syllable.
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* Make all the silly and PRETENTIOUS distinctions you want. Ordinary people concerned with communication rather than language as an arcane study to itself will not trouble to heed you.''

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:20 am UTC

''THIS is the famous "distinction without a difference", except that there are about 4 times as many -erry's as -urry's. And please note that Dictionary gives woor.ee, foor.ee, and hoor.ee (that's the sound that the U with a 'hat' (circumflex accent) shows: short-OO), which I have not heard so regard as bizarre. Either they heard wrong or they're on drugs.

I mean, the r-colored ɛ, ɜ, ə, ʊ, and ʌ all seem pretty similar to me. They are definitely distinct, but I wouldn't think any of them would sound "bizarre" in the words "worry," "furry," or "hurry," nor would I expect everybody to precisely rhyme those three words.

Dictionary, oddly, is sometimes just plain wrong. For instance, "water" is not shown there as ever being pronounced "wut.er", but I listened very carefully to reports of water-main breaks on TV stations in the New York Tristate Metropolitan Area (the broadcasting capital of North America), and wut.er is plainly the pronunciation educated people in this area give that word. The SSWD project, of course, cannot offer "water" precisely because it has more than one common pronunciation.

Well, no, that's not the typical pronunciation in NY. British people use a different vowel in "water" than Americans, but neither is "u". I think it's closer to the distinction between ɑ and ɒ, but I'm not exactly sure.

If you put together the -erry's and the -ery's pronounced the same, you get a MASS of words with ER as the crucial spelling, but if you try to use -ury rather than -urry, you get a completely different sound. So I think we'll go with -erry. But I appreciate your views. Cheers.

Bury? Injury? Luxury? These all have the same sound as "hurry" and "worry" for me.

I then went to the Merriam-Webster URLs for the other words and clicked on the speaker icon to listen to the pronunciations rendered, in American English, and found no distinction worth making. All those words would rhyme PERFECTLY as most people regard things. Of course, we could avoid the problem altogether by saying that there are two different pronunciations for "worry", so the word can't be changed!

This guy sounds like a real prick. Seriously.

For most ordinary , for whom the SSWD project is intended, not for linguistics specialists, there is between a great many word pairs or groups, no difference worth 'worrying' about. There are a lot of overeducated people who have bugaboos about tiny matters of no consequence, and will argue them endlessly, to everyone else's tedium. I'm not about to argue the linguistic equivalent of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, a subject that may have fascinated some medieval theologians but nobody else.

Holy crap, how can a guy this sneering and pedantic criticize other people for being "overeducated"? How does he get to decide what pronunciations I use are "worth worrying about," especially right after pointing out that people may not be able to hear differences in phonemes in other dialects even when they are present? Also, his sentence structure is confusing, and his punctuation is terrible.

The SSWD project is about NEEDED change, and preferably changes that people can readily apply to things they HEAR. One transliteration for a small range of actual sounds is convenient, and all spelling is convention. Few speakers of standard English distinguish in sound between "ferry" and "furry". Having a distinction in spelling for these two HOMONYMS is useful. As to which spelling you favor for a reform of "worry", I have noted that you favor "wurry".

If by "standard English" he means "RP," that might be true, but very few people speak that way natively. He might as well say that, for spelling purposes, "water" should be pronounced "wata," because to my American ears, the way British people say those two words seems basically the same.

As for "ont", I suggested that because "ant" is a homophone we can eliminate from a language filled to overflowing with homophones, and seems to those of us who say "ont" -- meaning a large proportion of the best-educated people in the U.S. and almost everybody in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, etc. -- that calling a person by a homophone for an insect is arguably disrespectful. I have no power to impose anything, and the SSWD site is designed mainly to make people think.

Well, I don't rhyme "aunt" with either "ant" or "ont," nor with a word ending in -ont like "font." I rhyme it with "vaunt," "flaunt," and "taunt." Of course, many people do rhyme it with "ant," and that is hardly a "wrong" pronunciation that needs to be changed. Is the goal here to change the way people pronounce words or to change words' spellings to accurately reflect real pronunciations?

As for "tord", too-waurd is a spelling pronunciation, and as with ev-er-y and other spelling pronunciations (which my Random House Unabridged labels so people know better than to use them), spelling reformers can properly advise people that tho they think they are being careful to be correct, they are actually being wrong.

Some people do pronounce the words like that.

The distinction between "ferry" and "furry" is, I repeat, not "worth making. All those words would rhyme PERFECTLY as most people regard things." People who try to draw needless distinctions and force people to try to supply only one of essentially interchangeable spellings do spelling reform a disservice. This is not the distinction between "merry" rhyming with "berry" and "merry" rhyming with "Mary". It is TRIVIA that ordinary people do not waste time on and cannot justify wasting educational time and money on. If you see a poem in which one line ends with "ferry" and the next appropriate line ends in "furry" or "worry" or "cherry" or "very", will you be startled by an appalling lack of rhyme? If so, you are one in perhaps 15,000 people.

Are people outside of England, like, not people or something? I rhyme "ferry" with "fairy" (/fɛəri:/), not "furry" (/fɜ:ri:/). Again, this seems entirely typical to me.

Make all the silly and PRETENTIOUS distinctions you want. Ordinary people concerned with communication rather than language as an arcane study to itself will not trouble to heed you.''

Dear God, make it stop.


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