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Proper pronunciation

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Greetings,

 

I have a silly question. On several occasions when talking with those across the pond from the USA, I have experienced several individuals from that category using pronunciations of the letter I that were not expected by my American ears.

 

A great example of this would be the 1989 television production of Agatha Christie's A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple of course) in which Major Palgrave says the words "Albino Tiger"; pronouncing the word "Albeeno".

 

What rule governs the use of this particular puzzling phonetic?

 

- Nathan, E.B.B. (English by blood)

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The pronunciation of this word (and various others) with the "eye" sound rather than the "ee" sound is a specifically North American variation. (Consider also the common - wrong - American pronunciation of Iraq with the "eye" sound.)

 

Paul

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Greetings,

 

I have a silly question. On several occasions when talking with those across the pond from the USA, I have experienced several individuals from that category using pronunciations of the letter I that were not expected by my American ears.

 

A great example of this would be the 1989 television production of Agatha Christie's A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple of course) in which Major Palgrave says the words "Albino Tiger"; pronouncing the word "Albeeno".

 

What rule governs the use of this particular puzzling phonetic?

 

- Nathan, E.B.B. (English by blood)

T P asked for "the rule". There are many explanations for particular ways of pronouncing words, with so many inconsistencies that it is difficult to speak or "rules", but in this particular case the word originated with the Spanish (or possibly Portuguese) and their pronunciation might have been carried over.

 

The Oxford English Dictionary recognises that both the "ee" and "eye" pronunciations have been used by English speakers.

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I don't think it's worth talking about rules.

 

Any 'rules' that do exist in (British) English are invariably broken somewhere or other in the language!

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To take some random examples from the OP, et al.:

 

Albeenoh

 

Caribeean

 

Irahk The 'I' being short, as in 'did'.

 

Controversy - with the'o's being pronounced as in 'off', not 'ahff'.

 

{The bold type indicating where the stress is placed.}

 

And even, 'And eye-oh eye-oh eye-oh ...' in the well-known carol, though without introducing a 'y' between 'eye' and 'oh'.

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Just sticking to Britain, when I was young I was taught (and no one seemed to disagree) that Mt Everest was in the Himma-lay-ahs. Now, according to our esteemed newsreaders, it seems to be in the Hi-mah-liyahs. Where did that come from?

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I don't think it's worth talking about rules.

 

Any 'rules' that do exist in (British) English are invariably broken somewhere or other in the language!

 

==============================

 

 

 

Eee eye; tha's probably reight.

 

MM (Yorkshireman)

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Just sticking to Britain, when I was young I was taught (and no one seemed to disagree) that Mt Everest was in the Himma-lay-ahs. Now, according to our esteemed newsreaders, it seems to be in the Hi-mah-liyahs. Where did that come from?

 

 

======================

 

 

Well, the top of them came from the bottom of the sea......limestone.

 

Is this what you wanted to know? ;)

 

MM

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To take some random examples from the OP, et al.:

 

Albeenoh

 

Caribeean

 

Irahk The 'I' being short, as in 'did'.

 

Controversy - with the'o's being pronounced as in 'off', not 'ahff'.

 

{The bold type indicating where the stress is placed.}

 

And even, 'And eye-oh eye-oh eye-oh ...' in the well-known carol, though without introducing a 'y' between 'eye' and 'oh'.

 

--------------------------------------

 

 

 

You say eether and I say eyether,

You say neether and I say nyther;

Eether, eyether, neether, nyther,

Let's call the whole thing off!

You like potato and I like potahto,

You like tomato and I like tomahto;

Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!

Let's call the whole thing off!

But oh! If we call the whole thing off,

Then we must part.

And oh! If we ever part,

Then that might break my heart!

So, if you like pajamas and I like pajahmas,

I'll wear pajamas and give up pajahmas.

For we know we need each other,

So we better call the calling off off.

Let's call the whole thing off!

 

 

 

The burning question of course, is whether potatoes or potahtoes have "eyes."

and whether tomatoes or tomahtoes have pips or pipes.

 

MM

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Controversy - with the'o's being pronounced as in 'off', not 'ahff'.

 

I agree with drjad that it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the differing pronunciations of our language. I have absolutely no objection to natives of the USA pronouncing words according to their own usage; what I do object to is the way that their pronunciations are infiltrating our own culture. Some of these seem now to have become the accepted method of pronouncing certain words: research now seems to have the first syllable accented as does finance - fi as in finish; controversy and kilometre are two of the best examples of this problem with the accent almost always wrongly placed on the second syllable instead of the first and third. We have all got our own pet examples and I look forward to the possibility of reading those that I get wrong myself!

 

It seems to me to boil down to a lack of understanding of how words are formed owing largely to the lack of classical language teaching in our schools combined with the influence of our friends in the States. It was pointed out to me that a kilometre is an instrument for measuring “kills” - useful no doubt for such as Kings Saul and David, Harold Shipman and other similar mass murderers but it doesn’t measure distance and is probably of not much use to the gentle folk who contribute herein.

 

Isn’t this forum the most wonderful way of wasting time?

 

David Harrison

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Does anyone still bother to correct "Praise him upon the loot and harp"? In the days when I had choirboys, they all thought I was barmy for insisting on the proper pronunciation of "lute" - and they flatly refused to believe me when I pointed out that "lieutenant" should not be pronounced in a way that might be taken for a description of someone occupying a cubicle in a public toilet. Too much television, of course.

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