English pronunciation thread (Dedicated EPT)

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Ser
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English pronunciation thread (Dedicated EPT)

Post by Ser »

A thread for asking questions about the pronunciation of words in English. I often have questions about what's in dictionaries vs. what people actually use, but even you who are native speakers may feel occasional curiosity about what other people here might say.

Let me start with one:

"naïve", "naïvety", "naïveté"

Some dictionaries give /nɑˈiv/, the pronunciation I'm used to, but others give /naɪˈiv/ (southern England /naɪˈiːv/). What do you think?
Last edited by Ser on 11 Aug 2020 17:07, edited 2 times in total.
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Dormouse559
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Re: English pronunciations

Post by Dormouse559 »

A dedicated YAEPT!
Ser wrote: 11 Aug 2020 02:08"naïve", "naïvety", "naïveté"

Some dictionaries give /nɑˈiv/, the pronunciation I'm used to, but others give /naɪˈiv/ (southern England /naɪˈiːv/). What do you think?
The pronunciations with /aɪ/ are the most common in my experience. The main reason is that English speakers tend to turn /a/-type vowels into /aɪ/ when they directly precede /i/ or /e/, at least in foreign borrowings. For example, the surname of Christine Daaé, the main character in "Phantom of the Opera", is pronounced /daɪ.eɪ/; I've never heard /dɑ.eɪ/, even though it's arguably closer to the French. A more timely example is Hurricane Isaias (Isaías), which I hear newscasters pronouncing as /i.saɪˈi.əs/.
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Ser
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Re: English pronunciations

Post by Ser »

Dormouse559 wrote: 11 Aug 2020 02:33A dedicated YAEPT!
I tried to find an existing one, in order to not create YAEPT. Is there any? (If so, please move these posts there. Better now than later when there might be multiple pages...)
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Re: English pronunciations

Post by Dormouse559 »

Ser wrote: 11 Aug 2020 03:57 I tried to find an existing one, in order to not create YAEPT. Is there any? (If so, please move these posts there. Better now than later when there might be multiple pages...)
Oh, I didn't mean my post in a bad way. I don't believe we have an existing thread, and if we do, it'll have been inactive for a long time.
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Re: English pronunciations

Post by Ser »

Oh, good. And nah, I actually laughed at your post. I get the irony of eternally complaining about YAEPTs, when it could've been solved all along with a dedicated EPT! :mrgreen:
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Re: English pronunciations

Post by Nachtuil »

Heck, I'll bite. :)

"naïve" : /naˈjiv/
"naïvety", "naïveté": /naˈjivəˌti/, probably most often something like [nãˈjivəˌɾi]
Honestly, I would not normally pronounce the last two differently as to me they are just alternative spellings for the same word. I might say /naˌjiviˈtej/ for the last one if I deliberately want to sound amusing or outlandish.
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Re: English pronunciations

Post by jimydog000 »

I would always say the first syllable as /naɪ/, like a Southern Englishman. Of course with differences like /nɒɪ~nɑɪ~nɐɪ~/ depending on the social situation and speed of speech.
And a /j/ between the two vowels if speaking slowly, to break hiatus. I do that with the word slower where I insert a /w/ before er.

/naɪˈiːv/ (naɪˈjiːv)
/naɪˈivəti/ (naɪˈjivəti)
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Re: English pronunciations

Post by Salmoneus »

Yes, in my SSBE it's /naI.i:v/. Phonologically of course there's a [j] in there too, but that's just from the hiatus-resolving rules (my dialect does NOT like hiatus - we have intrusive /r/ almost anywhere not already occupied by intrusive /j/ or /w/). Actually, I guess the [ I ] is too?

So maybe it's underlyingly phonemically /na.iv/. But it reality it's definitely more like [naj.jijv]. And the [aj] is also reduced due to lack of stress.

I've also heard [nej.jijv], but that might just be mishearing the reduced [aj]. Don't think so, though, I think it's that other people have misinterpreted the reduced diphthong.

On "naivety", the third syllable is a bit tricky for me. I think it's one of those ones that is schwa in theory, and in careful speech, but that frequently rises to /I/ in practice. In "naiveté", however, the third syllable is almost alway schwa for me.

On the third syllable: "naivety" has /i/ (happy-tensing), but "naiveté" has /e/.
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