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There was a question about pronunciation on OEDILF that prompts me to post this.

In L5 of a limerick, in order for accuate meter it should read British EmPIRE. Of course, the stress in "empire" is on the first syllable, as "EMpire." Most on OEDILF think, therefore, the limerick needs changing (it rhymes with "fire" and "admire" in lines 1 & 2). While I see their point, when I first read the limerick, it sounded fine to me. I think that is because while "EM" is stressed, "pire" (by virtue of the "p" versus an "e?") is said loudly so it sounds nearly correct to me. I don't know if I am being clear, but, if so, is there a pronunciation word or term for that? Or, am I all wet? Is it absolutely clearcut to the rest of you the it is pronounced EMpire? Confused
 
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I've drunk too much wine to be able to give a coherent answer.
 
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Of course, we won't tell Richard that it was wine and not beer! Wink

Judging from the lack of response here, I assume that maybe I am all wet about the pronunciation of 'empire.'
 
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I have given up on the OEDILF because of this sort of nitpicking. Certainly, the stress falls on the first syllable every time I've heard the word pronounced, but some leeway ought to be allowed...


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quote:
Originally posted by arnie:
I have given up on the OEDILF because of this sort of nitpicking. Certainly, the stress falls on the first syllable every time I've heard the word pronounced, but some leeway ought to be allowed...


I've tried (unsuccessfully) to argue at the OEDILF that culturally we all know how the stresses fall in a limerick and that while of course it's better and more elegant to match the correct stress pattern of the word to the metre, in most cases our knowledge of how a limerick should sound will lead us to read it properly. I've argued that we use sentence and word stress in all sorts of ways in speech and that I don't think it matters if occasionally stress falls on the wrong word or syllable in a line.

The key word in the above was "unsuccessfully".
 
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I've argued that we use sentence and word stress in all sorts of ways in speech and that I don't think it matters if occasionally stress falls on the wrong word or syllable in a line.

Most other kinds of poetry are not obsessed with exceptionless rules. The occasional departure from strict meter makes for a better poem.
 
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Yes, I agree with all that has been said above...and I too have said so, unsuccessfully, on the forum.

Yet, here I had wondered if there are nuances to pronunciations, such that certain sounds (like the "pire") interact with, or even trump, the actual stressed syllable. That is, while the dictionary says ĕm'pīre', the "p" being harsher than the "em" makes many people stress the last syllable (me, being one of those people). All wet about that? I just would like to give some real linguistic feedback to them for a change because nearly everyone is on the opposite side of the fence with this, except the author (CJ).
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
In L5 of a limerick, in order for accuate meter it should read British EmPIRE. Of course, the stress in "empire" is on the first syllable, as "EMpire."

I haven't read the limerick, but I see nothing wrong with "British EmPIRE." And I think empire rhymes just fine with fire and admire.

I take exception to your second sentence, however. Some dictionaries (notably, the OED Online) give only one pronunciation, with the stress on the first syllable. Others vary. M-W, for example, pronounces it 'em-"pIr, with the primary stress on the second syllable and the secondary stress on the first. It seems to me both syllables are stressed, nearly equally so. How would you pronounce it in The Empire Strikes Back? I would say in that case there is slightly greater stress on the second syllable.

At any rate, there has always been some leeway in pronunciation for the sake of rhyme.

Tinman
 
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Oh, great, Tinman. That was precisely what I had wanted. I had not realized that the M-W has the primary stress on the second syllable. I can't wait to post this!

Here was the first limerick:

Two qualities most folks admire
Are courage and grace under fire.
Noble traits such as these
Forged some tough SOBs
Not to mention the British Empire.

Followed by CJ's change, based on the almost unanimous (yours truly was nearly a lone wolf here) discussion that it can only be pronounced EM-pire. I think the second one, the one that is going to stay, stinks:

Two qualities most folks admire
Are courage and grace under fire.
Noble traits such as these
Forged some tough SOBs
In the (mispronounced) British Empire.

Thanks again, Tinman. You the man!
 
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My own argument is that the limerick is historically inaccurate. Most of the British Empire was founded on the back of trade, not by military conquest - as the "courage and grace under fire" stanza suggests. But the pronuciation is also flawed, though, as even the OEDILF people are beginning to accept, this should not be a fatal flaw in an otherwise good limerick (which actually I don't think this is).


Richard English
 
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I like the first version (historic or not) and if it had been mine I'd have fought for it with courage and grace under fire. I'd have pulled it rather than go with that compromise as I think it's vastly more confusing than the alleged problem that it's supposed to solve.
 
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I agree with Bob; the first version is much the better. As I said before, I've given up on the OEDILF because of this sort of nonsense, but I assume this is not an option for CJ. Smile


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Okay, Tinman, are we reading M-W wrong? Qermaq from OEDILF says, "Sorry, Kalleh, but M-W give 'em-"pir - with primary stress clearly marked on the first syllable." Here is the link.
 
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He's right in that ' indicates primary and " secondary stress, however the very fact that there is a secondary stress listed at all in a two syllable word indicates that there is some degree of leeway here as a great variation in stress between the two would be indicated without any secondary stress at all.

My advice is to just let them have their way with it.
No-one with any artistic sense could possibly prefer the second version as it's completely nonsensical. If I had read it without knowing the history I'd have been totally baffled as to the inclusion of the word "mispronounced" as it has nothing to do with the definition and would make me sit and wonder why, and how, I should mispronounce British Empire.

And I've just popped over to the OEDILF and said so.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BobHale,
 
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quote:
But the pronuciation is also flawed, though, as even the OEDILF people are beginning to accept, this should not be a fatal flaw in an otherwise good limerick (which actually I don't think this is).

I don't think you're correct, Richard. Every post that I have read (and many have logged in on this question), except for 2, says that they should be striving for "perfection" with pronuncation. It seems to be very important to most of them...right up there with stressed/unstressed syllables at the beginning and end of lines.

I would be so confused by the latter limerick (since I first read it as em-PIRE anyway!) that I wouldn't get the limerick unless I read the author's note.

As I have tried to say there, the best OEDILF limericks are those lighthearted ones that elegantly define a word in those measly 5 lines. There are a few really exceptional limericks like that there. That is the goal that I'd be striving for were it my project.
 
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Degree of stress is relative. If EMpire is pronounced with the vowels it normally has, it's impossible for there to be two distinct pronunciations: one with secondary stress on -pire and one without. Because -pire has its distinct vowel (unlike TEMper), it necessarily is perceived as having secondary stress.

Consider TEMPoral, one strong and two weak vowels: this is pronounced with loudness levels 1-2-2. With TEMPorize the very fact that -ize is a full vowel means that it's perceived as relatively greater stress than the weak -or-: pattern 1-3-2 rather than 1-2-2 (= 1-3-3).
 
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Remember I said, "...even the OEDILF people are beginning to accept,..."

There has been much nit-picking about things such as stress, scansion and punctuation, to an extent that even began to irritate me. However, I feel that even the more pernickety WEs have begun to realise that such pettfogging is ultimately pointless.


Richard English
 
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quote:
pettfogging


Do you mean pettifogging? I'd not heard the term before and looked it up. Great word! I'm going to have to use it often this week to cement it in my brain.


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quote:
pernickety

This has possibly been discussed at some time or other, but, since I'm still fairly new, please indulge me: Shouldn't there be an *s* in persnickety?
 
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Interesting question, amnow. It seems that "persnickety" can also be spelled "pernickety." Is that the case, Richard? Is "pernickety" used in England instead of "persnickety?"

CW, I love pettifogging too. It surely occurs at my work! One of our people threw out all the dishes because people were putting them in the dishwasher without having them perfectly clean. I have often wondered what people like that think the point of a dishwasher is! Roll Eyes
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Okay, Tinman, are we reading M-W wrong? Qermaq from OEDILF says, "Sorry, Kalleh, but M-W give 'em-"pir - with primary stress clearly marked on the first syllable." Here is the link.


Yeah, you're right, Kalleh. It has one accent mark on the first syllable and two, darker, marks on the second. I interpreted this to mean that the stronger accent was on the second syllable. But, the M-W Online Pronunciation Guide says otherwise.

Tinman
 
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Is "pernickety" used in England instead of "persnickety?"
Yes.The COED says " informal, chiefly Brit."


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Quote "...Do you mean pettifogging?..."

I certainly did. Just a typo; I do know how to spell the word.


Richard English
 
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Reviving a thread...

In QT's column, someone wrote to complain about people who say JOO-la-ree for "jewelry" and REE-la-tor for "realtor." I definitely have heard that, too. Do you hear that in other parts of the U.S. or in England? Do you think people just switch the vowels around by mistake, or is it an accent?
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
In QT's column, someone wrote to complain about people who say JOO-la-ree for "jewelry" and REE-la-tor for "realtor."

I've occasionally heard JOO-la-ree, but REE-la-tor is quite common, even among realtors. We've talked about this before and I would look it up except the search function isn't working.

It seems that when two consonants are bumped up against each other there is a tendancy to insert a vowel, or at least a vowel sound, in between them. Many people say "triathalon" for "triathlon." I used to say "athalete" for "athlete" until a speech teacher in college corrected me. I'm sure there are other examples, but I can't think of any at the moment. I found this on Wikipedia.

Tinman
 
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I can't speak for 'realtor', which doesn't exist in Britain, but the other is really two words, 'jewelry' and 'jewellery'. Nowadays this is just treated as a trans-Atlantic spelling difference, but in origin they're slightly different words.

The suffix '-ry' is phonetically derived from '-ery', and occurs in a few words like harlotry, devilry, Irishry, ribaldry, yeomanry. The OED calls it a comparatively late change.

And '-ery' has two origins; it's either a single suffix or a combination '-er-y'. So 'jewellery' could be from 'jewel' or from 'jeweller'.

The loss of weak 'e' before sonorants (l, r, n, m) is commonplace in English, so what was originally four syllables jew-el-er-y has been reduced in various ways. The earliest of those was the substitution of -ry to give jewelry.

The old OED says the three-syllable pronunciation jew-el-ry is usual even for the four-syllable spelling; so that was educated usage around 1900. Americans tend not to make such reductions (saying e.g. 'temporary', 'cemetery' with a syllable 'rare', not English temp-or-y, cem-et-ry), so perhaps the three-syllable pronunciation you hear is from an earlier stage, jewel-er-y.

The other reduction is of course of 'jewel' itself from two syllables to one, and by two syllables I really include the possibility of just one, a diphthong. I don't know whether most people here would pronounce 'jewel' as a homophone of 'dual', diphthong/disyllable, or whether it's a pure monosyllable jool. Or even whether we can make a consistent difference. I certainly can't tell for sure in my own speech. I suspect in normal speech I'd just say "jool" in jewel box, dual carriageway, and only use "jual" in slower enunciation.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
In QT's column, someone wrote to complain about people who say JOO-la-ree for "jewelry" and REE-la-tor for "realtor."
I've occasionally heard JOO-la-ree, but REE-la-tor is quite common, even among realtors.


We usually pronounce it "joo-ler-ee" over here and spell it "jewellery". We don't have Realtors in Britain (we call them Estate Agents) so that one doesn't apply.
 
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There is, of course, the example made famous by George Bush, 'noo-cu-lar' for 'nuclear'.


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jew-ler-ree or jall-ler-ree?

Jew-ler-ree doesn't quite sound normal.
 
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Originally posted by Graham Nice:
jew-ler-ree or jall-ler-ree?

Jew-ler-ree doesn't quite sound normal.


Most of the people I've heard say "jew-ler-ree". There's a very subtle pronunciation with the first syllable - it's more like the "oo" in "move" than the "ew" in "Jew".
 
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Speaking as a jeweller (in my spare time, anyway), I would agree with joo-ler-ree. How would any of the North Americans here pronounce jeweller, or jeweler, which I believe is the American spelling?

Ros
 
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Originally posted by Ros:
How would any of the North Americans here pronounce jeweller, or jeweler, which I believe is the American spelling?

I pronounce "jewel" as "jual" or "joo.al." When it's part of a longer word, though, I sometimes shorten it to "joo," so "jeweler" becomes "joo.ler," but "jewelry" is "jual.ree" or "joo.al.ree." There is a tendancy to reverse the "al" and pronounce it "joo.la.ree," as Kalleh pointed out, but I don't think I do that. You know, it's hard to analyze your own speech!

Tinman
 
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I agree, Tinman, it is hard to analyze your own speech. I say it like Tinman, though. When I say "jewel," I say "jew-el," but, like Tinman, I tend to say "joo-ler," instead of "jew-el-er." I have to say, it does irritate me (slightly!) to hear "joo-la-ree;" that I don't say. It reminds me of people who say "Feb-u-ary" or those who say the days of the week like they end it "dee": "Mondee." I think that is regional.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
I agree, Tinman, it is hard to analyze your own speech. I say it like Tinman, though. When I say "jewel," I say "jew-el," but, like Tinman, I tend to say "joo-ler," instead of "jew-el-er." I have to say, it does irritate me (slightly!) to hear "joo-la-ree;" that I don't say. It reminds me of people who say "Feb-u-ary" or those who say the days of the week like they end it "dee": "Mondee." I think that is regional.


Oh dear Frown. I'm guilty of all of those Frown.
 
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Di, you say "Sundee, Mondee, Tuesdee," etc.? I have heard people with midwest accents (Kansas, etc.) say it that way, but not people from England.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
Di, you say "Sundee, Mondee, Tuesdee," etc.? I have heard people with midwest accents (Kansas, etc.) say it that way, but not people from England.

Sundee Mundee Chewsdee Wensdee Thersdee Fridee Sad-dee

for me (when I speak with my "real" accent as opposed to my "teachers' accent" which is used for a)students and b) visitors from the US).
 
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I say them all the same as you, Bob, all except 2's-dee and Sadder-dee.
 
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I'm sorry Jerry.
My weekend is sad, but yours is sadder.
 
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quote:

Sundee Mundee Chewsdee Wensdee Thersdee Fridee Sad-dee


I say them all that way, except that I say "Saterdee".

I read an article some time ago (I can't remember where it appeared or who wrote it now) in which the writer had laid down rules of "correct" pronunciation. I few I remember are that secretary should be pronounced as "sehcretry" - without sounding the "a", constable should be "cunstable" and that the stress should fall on the first syllable of "controversy" and not the middle one.

Because it's the 60th anniversary of the end of WW2, the BBC has been broadcasting programmes from that era. It's amusing to listen to the strangulated, adenoidal accent heard on the BBC at that time. This was known as Received Pronunciation, or "RP", and it was the accent of the upper classes (and aspiring social climbers). There were very few regional accents and those belonged either to comedians or to characters in plays, who were - highly stereotypically - of low class and equally low intellect.

I googled for "BBC Pronunciation Unit", which had the final say on all BBC verbal output - especially foreign names and found this wonderful example of their usefulness Smile!

In the 1960s, there was a complete reversal. Regional accents were well and truly "in" and suddenly everyone was rushing off to drama schools to learn the regional accents that drama students had tried so hard to shed only a few years previously.

It was Professor Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion who said: "The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it. . . . It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth, without making some other Englishman despise him." It's still true today.
 
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Interesting that you English posters say the days of the week that way. I am still skeptical, though! I am going to specifically listen the next time I am talking to someone with an English accent. It sounds so midwestern to me!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Di, you say "Sundee, Mondee, Tuesdee," etc.? I have heard people with midwest accents (Kansas, etc.) say it that way, but not people from England.

I say them both ways. It depends, at least in part, on whether the word is followed by another word. For example, in the phrase," Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes," I would say "Sundee," but in reciting the days of the week, I would say "Sunday." And I speak of "Mondee morning" and "Fridee night." Part of it is stress. If you pronounce the "-day" ending, you have to stress it, so "Monday" has equal stress on both syllables. If you don't stress the "-day," it comes out "-dee," as in "Sundee." At least, that seems to be the way it is with me. Since a common pronunciation of a final "y" is "ee," what's really happening is just a dropping of the "a" sound. And yes, I'm from Kansas. I spent my first seven years there.

I've heard my dad ask a paper boy if he had any "extrees," and he used to drop a syllable in "battery" and pronounce it "batt'ry."

I've said before somewhere on this forum that I think there is a distinct English influence on the pronunciation of words in the South and Midwest. H.L. Mencken, in his first edition of The American Language, published in 1921, speaks of the English influence on American pronunciation. It's a short article, well worth reading. Here are a few quotes.

quote:
At the start two streams of influence upon vulgar American pronunciation may be noted, the one an inheritance from the English of the colonists, and the other arising spontaneously within the country, and apparently much colored by immigration.
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Various similar misplaced vowels were brought from England by the colonists and have persisted in America, while dying out of goodEnglish usage.
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However, a good many of the vowels of the early days have succumbed to pedagogy.
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But all these vowels, whether approved or disapproved, have been under the pressure, for the past century, of a movement toward a general vowel neutralization, and in the long run it promises to dispose of many of them.
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One finds, not only vowels disorganized, but also consonants. Some are displaced by other consonants, measurably more facile; others are dropped altogether. ... R, though it is better preserved in American than in English, is also under pressure, as appears by bust, Febuary, stuck on (for struck on), cuss (for curse), yestiddy, sa’s’parella, pa’tridge, ca’tridge, they is (for there is) and Sadd’y (for Saturday).

Tinman
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Di, you say "Sundee, Mondee, Tuesdee," etc.? I have heard people with midwest accents (Kansas, etc.) say it that way, but not people from England.


See tinman's quote below. He does in both those examples very much what I do myself, only with me the final syllable of weekdays still comes out as a cross between "dee" and "day" when saying the names on their own:

quote:
Originally posted by tinman: I say them both ways. It depends, at least in part, on whether the word is followed by another word. For example, in the phrase," Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes," I would say "Sundee," but in reciting the days of the week, I would say "Sunday." And I speak of "Mondee morning" and "Fridee night." Part of it is stress. If you pronounce the "-day" ending, you have to stress it, so "Monday" has equal stress on both syllables. If you don't stress the "-day," it comes out "-dee," as in "Sundee." At least, that seems to be the way it is with me. Since a common pronunciation of a final "y" is "ee," what's really happening is just a dropping of the "a" sound.
---------------------
... and he used to drop a syllable in "battery" and pronounce it "batt'ry."


quote:
One finds, not only vowels disorganized, but also consonants. Some are displaced by other consonants, measurably more facile; others are dropped altogether. ...

Tinman


That's another word ending that's pronounced differently in American and British English. Americans would say "fass-ill" and "moh-bill" whereas a Brit would say "fass-ile" and "moh-bile", rhyming the final syllable with "I'll".

I've also noticed the American pronunciation of "lever" as "levver", whereas we pronounce it "leever".
 
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Yes, I've noticed that people with English accents pronounce facile or mobile with the "I'll." Is it the same with all "ile" words, such as "tactile" & "sterile?" Some "ile" words we pronounce with "I'll," such as "afebrile," "labile," and "profile."

I am trying to remember if I say "lever" or "leever," and I think I must say both. Maybe I just say "lever," though...I just don't say it that often.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Yes, I've noticed that people with English accents pronounce facile or mobile with the "I'll." Is it the same with all "ile" words, such as "tactile" & "sterile?"


Yes. How about "futile"? We would pronounce that with a long "i", but would you still pronounce it with a short "i"?

quote:
I am trying to remember if I say "lever" or "leever," and I think I must say both. Maybe I just say "lever," though...I just don't say it that often.


Yesterday I heard an English woman in a radio interview saying "levver", but she had been working in the States for several years. It really sounded strange with her English accent though.
 
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The word 'leverage' in accountant-speak means (roughly) borrowing. It also retains the engineering meaning of 'being in a position to use a lever'.

When used over here in the former meaning, the American-style short 'e' is used: levverage. The other meaning is pronounced with a long 'e': leeverage.


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Yes. How about "futile"? We would pronounce that with a long "i", but would you still pronounce it with a short "i"?

Yes, we pronounce it with a short "i" too.

Arnie, I have only heard "leverage" pronounced with a short "e" here in the states, no matter what the meaning.
 
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Reviving a thread Do you pronounce furor with one or two syllables? I heard a speaker today from Wales who said it with 2 syllables. In the U.S., we say it with one syllable (or at least I do).
 
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Two.
Exactly how do you say it?
 
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In the 40s, Adolph Hitler was the Fuehrer (Fuhrer) who produced furor.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
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Two.

I've even heard the UK English version, furore, pronounced with three.

This page gives UK and US pronunciations. The one they give for the US does sound almost like one syllable, though.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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