# TRAI(T).

I just discovered an important fact about the pronunciation of a common English word—something that doesn’t happen very often any more. A comment in a (silly) MetaFilter thread informed me that the word trait was traditionally pronounced exactly like tray, at least in the UK; in other words, the final -t is (or was supposed to be) silent. (The OED lists both pronunciations, “tray” first; the 1998 edition of the Cassell Concise lists both, but in the reverse order.) This is not surprising for a borrowing from French, but I had never run across it, and I doubt many Americans have. So what I want to know is: are my UK readers familiar with this pronunciation? If so, is it current, a bit old-fashioned, or something they said back in grandfather’s day? (And of course if any Americans are familiar with it, I want to know that as well.)

1. Claire says

I know both. I say the [t] (I’m 27) but my parents don’t.

2. Noetica says

[Where are your linguistic roots, Claire? USA only?]
Traditionally, educated Australians have sanctioned only the “tray” pronunciation, regarding the alternative as clear evidence of illiteracy. Even as a technical term in psychology it was uniformly pronounced this way, until the American cultural and linguistic tsunami of the last three decades or so. Now you will hear academic psychologists using either one or the other pronunciation; the same applies generally for other academics. Some of us still wince when we hear “trayt”.
I submit that much the same should be said for British usage.
The situation is roughly comparable to that with American “alternate” for British “alternative”. I still correct this in students’ writing, but it’s a losing battle.

3. Tatyana says

Oh, thank you, thank you so much, Noetica!
I thought it’s me and my [poor] English!
I has been using “alternative” almost every day writing notes for contractors on architectural drawings (typical phrase: “General contractor shall provide cut sheets of alternative fixtures for architect’s approval prior to purchase”)
And every time my Cornell-educated boss would insist on changing “alternative” to “alternate”.
I feel so good right now!

4. Once again, LH changes someone’s life for the better…

5. Noetica says

I pedantically insist on remarking upon your “prior to”. What ever happened to good old Anglo-Saxon “before”? But I also insist that you continue to feel good (as I now do, too).
🙂

6. Tatyana says

One step at a time, LH, one step at a time.
Noetica, I agree with you, it does sound silly. But it’s a standard construction, used in AIA*-recommended contract underwriting, and I assume it is some remnant of “Legalese”. For example, form 171 includes expressions “prior to bid”, “prior to construction”, etc.
* AIA – American Institute of Architects.

7. Noetica says

Yes, Tatyana. As you say, one step at a time.

8. Sharon says

Well, I’m English born and bred and I’ve never heard of the silent-t pronunciation. Or heard anyone using it, that I can recall. Neither in my uneducated working/lower-middle class background nor in my educated university life.

9. MM says

I’ve always pronounced it with t, but I have heard the tray version and I think I even knew it was (also) correct. However, I have heard it rarely and regard it as rather effete. I see Longmans Pronunciation Dictionary (1st ed.) says the tray pronunciation is the standard in the UK, but trayt also exists. I’m 57 and I have a Ph.D. (I mention this in view of Noetica’s remarks).

10. J. Cassian says

I’ve never heard any Briton pronounce “trait” as “tray”. One strange, pseudo-French pronunciation I have heard is “envelope” spoken with a nasalised “on” as the first syllable. Some people consider this the correct, “posh” way to pronounce the word, but “envelope” isn’t even the same as its equivalent in French (i.e. “enveloppe”). I’ve yet to hear anyone pronounce “to envelop” with a French accent.

11. I’ve only ever come across the ‘t’ version. (Born and bred in London, 34 years old, P to the h to the D, for sure.)

12. Very interesting. Apparently it’s moribund in the UK but still going in Australia (where Claire is from). Incidentally, I just checked my 13th (1967) edition of Daniel Jones’ Everyman’s Pronouncing Dictionary, where the -t variant is given not only second but enclosed in those raised-eyes brackets (“well, certain people do say it this way, but those people… well, you know…”). But that may be a carryover from earlier editions.

13. I can repeat Sharon’s comment word for word, changing only “English” to “Irish”.

14. uncanny hengeman says

Wow, I feel honoured. I think.
As I said further down in the thread, I gave up pronouncing it the “correct” way many years ago.
a) It seemed like I was the only one who ever said it properly – and I was often corrected by people who didn’t know they were pronouncing it incorrectly!
b) It kinda makes sense if you treat English as an evolving language so I went with the flow.

15. Claire says

Noetica, I’m from Canberra and have only been in the US a few years. This came up when I was in Year 11 and doing VCE psychology in Melbourne – the teacher said /trai/ but all the students said /trait/. She kept correcting us but it never did any good. Then I noticed my parents didn’t say the t either.

16. scarabaeus stercus says

those who have a certain trait,
should serve their tea by tray,
then they can do a little bray.
those that have another trait,
may be givern a higher rate
if it be their fate,
then they can be shown the gate.
Survived this long [ score and ten+]and my addled mind ne’er ‘erd of a geezeer and his trait with only a 3 spot. Oh! live and learn.

17. I’m Australian, 37, middle class, not university educated, and widely traveled. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of “trait” being pronounced /treI/. Both Macquarie and Shorter Oxford give /treI/ before /treIt/.

18. Noetica says

LH, my 14th edition of the Everyman dictionary agrees with your 13th edition. Also, Webster’s 3rd International gives the “tray” pronunciation as the British pronunciation, for what that’s worth.
As I say, there has been an American tsunami affecting pronunciation and much else in life, this side of the Pacific. Young persons here nearly all say “trayt”, now. Some of them even say “TRANSmitter” where we had always said “transMITTer”. I have not yet heard one say “CAPillary” for “capILLary”, but no doubt that’s on its way.
I can only assume that Britain has been similarly affected.
In Australia we have long had not only our own established linguistic ways, but a wash of American and British film and television to influence our practice. This makes the situation complex, and provides much grist for observers of contact phenomena. While linguistic diversity preceding the age of mass media may be greater in both Britain and America than in Australia, I suggest that in America there is far less incursion from “foreign” English, and that this explains the surprise Americans often evince when they first encounter pronunciations other than their own. But frankly, I was amazed that you had not ever heard “trai(t)”, LH. And I was also amazed when a most linguistically astute American colleague of mine had not heard (or had not consciously registered) “transMITTer”.
We are amused that it is often felt necessary to dub Australian films with American voices, when they are exported, against the tide, to the Land of the Free. How quaint and provincial!

19. Noetica says

Both Macquarie and Shorter Oxford give /treI/ before /treIt/.
Andrew, the Macquarie’s pronunciations are not worth a knob of goatshit. It has “acciaccatura” pronounced “a-catch-a-TYOO-ra”. Honestly, I wouldn’t have a Macquarie in the house. It is a cheap adaptation of a third-rate American dictionary from the ’40s, into which it introduces fresh errors for the purpose of making it our own.
Bah!

20. Big Ramifications says

“Some of them even say “TRANSmitter” where we had always said “transMITTer”. I have not yet heard one say “CAPillary” for “capILLary”, but no doubt that’s on its way.”
I like how Americans say “aLOO m’num” instead of “al YOU minny um”. I reckon their way sounds much cooler. 🙂
…And possibly more logical, too. When being processed from bauxite rocks, aluminium is first turned into aluminium oxide before it becomes a refined metal. Those in the industry refer to it as alumina – and both Americans and Australians pronounce it “aLOO m’nah”. Therefore, I reckon the American pronunciation of aluminium makes slightly more sense.

21. scarabaeus stercus says

“like how Americans say “aLOO m’num” instead of “al YOU minny um”. I reckon their way sounds much cooler” This version of Brit stays away from the loo, it costs a penny.

22. Avril says

I’m a 36 year old kiwi now living in America. I remember once in high school (in New Zealand), trait was used as an example of a word that everyone mispronounces, ie, everyone said trayt but it was supposed to be tray. But tray sounded so silly that I always avoided using the word; now that I’m in the land of “trayt” I don’t have to think about it. (I still say alyoominnyium, though.)

23. Big Ramifications says

Therefore, I reckon the American pronunciation of aluminium makes slightly more sense.
No, I totally take that back. Call it a draw at best. At least Aussies say it how it is spelt. Americans neglect to pronounce the second “i”.

24. Erin Stafford says

Not only do we Yanks neglect to pronounce the second ‘I’, we also neglect to write it. We spell the word ‘aluminum.’ I didn’t even know about the British varient until my high school chemistry teacher mentioned it.

25. Claire says

Noetica, that’s a fairly widespread pronunciation of acciaccatura. I learnt violin and piano for many years and heard all sorts of variations, but /ækiətʃurə/ or /ækætʃətʃurə/ were the most common.
Are dictionaries prescriptive or descriptive references?

26. aldiboronti says

I’m British and I’ve always pronounced it tray but, as in many other words, the influence of the speak-as-you-spellers has been pervasive over the last few generations and the tray pronunciation in the UK, dominant forty-odd years ago, has now been pushed into a backwater.

27. The “tray” pronounciation is still going strong as “the correct” Australian pronounciation in at least some corners of the country (though “trayt” is widely used in Australia, and including by people with higher-social-register dialects). When I was a postgrad, we used “tray” normally, but “trayt” when we were talking about the characteristics referred to with the word “trait” in biology. So in our little community at least, saying “trayt” indicated that one intended it as a technical term. (We did know that Americans universally pronounced it “trayt”, though I’m surprised to hear the “tray” pronounciation seems to have largely disappeared from educated accents in England.)

28. Justin says

Coincidentally, I heard a friend of my parents say ‘trays’ for ‘traits’ just yesterday and remarked on it to myself. I think it’s definitely a pronunciation used by the older generation, whereas I would always pronounce the final ‘t’, or by those who are still very conscious of it being a French borrowing.
It’s the same as with the whole debate here over the pronunciation of ‘garage’, with the older generation reluctant to rhyme it with ‘marriage’ (which is without a doubt the dominant UK pronunciation for ‘garage’) and preferring to use the pronunciation that is similar to US usage and thus to the French pronunciation.
I’m London born and bred, by the way.

29. Noetica says

…heard all sorts of variations, but /ækiətʃurə/ or /ækætʃətʃurə/ were the most common.
To set things straight, the only standard Italian pronunciation of this Italian technical term is /attʃakkaTUra/ (so to represent the doubled consonants). The only pronunciation the Macquarie gives reverses the palatal and and the velar consonants. This reversal is, in my experience also, common enough in pronunciations of this rarely-heard word. It is founded on a complete failure to comprehend Italian orthography.
Are dictionaries prescriptive or descriptive references?
They ought to be both. We want a dictionary to give, for example, criterion as the singular corresponding to the plural criteria, because that is originally and traditionally the “right” way, and most importantly because no one can ever get into serious trouble by adopting that usage. But we may also want a dictionary to note that criteria is often used as a singular, AND that this is deplored by many as untraditional and “incorrect”.
Applying this principle to acciaccatura, we would first want a dictionary to give a pronunciation considered unexceptionable by those who know musical terms well and know their Italian pronunciations; and then, if there is room and if the dictionary aims to be comprehensively descriptive, we want it to note that there are alternatives that stray from the Italian original.
I would bet that the Macquarie acted out of sheer ignorance, in the present case.
(One of my piano teachers many years ago knew how to pronounce Italian well enough, but had no idea about French. Confronted with chaconne he uttered /kaKOne/, which has a quite a different meaning!)

30. Justin: When you say “the pronunciation that is similar to US usage” what exactly do you mean? In the US we say guh-RAHZH; I had always thought the posher variant in the UK was GARE-ahzh (ie, like the lower-register garridge but with a Frenchy ending).

31. Big Ramifications says

Well I’ll be a monkey’s…
I never new that, Erin. Ya learn something new every day!
aluminium vs aluminum

32. Angela says

LH – the Frenchified version of ‘garage’ with stress on the first syllable is indeed the ‘posh’ version used in the UK, but there is another, that rhymes with ‘marriage’ as described above. I use either one, depending on who I am talking to…
I think very few Brits would put stress on the final syllable (as the Americans and French do).

33. Angela says

On the other examples: I always say ‘trayt’ and never ‘tray’, and I have very often heard ‘acciaccatura’ pronounced the Macquarie way – but that’s not the pronunciation given in my Collins English, which I shall post here if someone will point me to an idiot’s guide to how to type using the IPA.
My tuppence worth is that I should like dictionaries to reflect both kinds of use IN THIS CASE – it’s handy to know how a word is pronounced in the language from which it is borrowed, in a transparent case of highly specific borrowing such as ‘acciaccatura’.
I don’t think it’s worth transferring this principle onto any word that has ever been borrowed into English, though. Think of the size and expense of dictionaries!

34. Noetica says

Angela, the Macquarie pronunciation of acciaccatura is just one of many illiterate and confused attempts to transfer the Italian term into English. I too have heard it said that way, among a number of other inept ways. We expect that a dictionary will authoritatively restore order and give some sort of a ruling, don’t we? And even if we don’t expect that, would we be happy if a dictionary records just one (the one least like the original) of a number of popular pronunciations from the available range? If it did that it would fail even as a purely descriptive reference.
The Collins pronunciation is a mild and perfectly useable adaptation of the Italian, simply dropping the doubling of consonants, anglicising the “u” a little, and giving the final “a” as a schwa.
The SOED gives a somewhat more anglicised pronunciation (equivalent to the only one in Everyman’s Pronouncing Dictionary), and I find that its rendering of the “foreign” Italian pronunciation closely resembles mine. It has the doubled consonants; but it predictably gives its wretched Oxford equivalent of /æ/ for every occurrence of “a”. That is glossed as the sound of “a” in “cat”. Bah, once more.
I doubt that the Macquarie’s exchange of the two types of consonants will be found in any other widely used dictionary. The Macquarie alone risks seriously embarrassing a musician going for a job interview. There’s a good practical criterion for you!

35. it predictably gives its wretched Oxford equivalent of /æ/ for every occurrence of “a”
But that is, is it not, how Brits talk? When I listen to BBC News I always hear /præg/ for Prague, &c, and just last night I noticed /pæsta/ for pasta on a TV show. Surely in this case the dictionary is doing its proper job of reflecting common usage. (The only dictionary I know that consistently includes the foreign pronunciation is Daniel Jones’s Everyman.)
On the Aussie front, I have the Australian Oxford, which seems to take a good approach; unfortunately it doesn’t include acciaccatura.

36. Justin Neville says

Yes, my earlier comments were misleading (oh, alright, incorrect!) with regard to ‘garage’ before. The upper-register UK pronunciation of the word is not as similar to the US pronunciation as I suggested. What they have in common is that the final syllable has retained the French-sounding pronunciation of ‘age’, ie. ‘ahzh’, which most ‘-age’ borrowings from French have now lost. I agree they differ as regards which syllable is stressed and how the vowel in the first syllable is pronounced.
But my point was that the upper-register UK pronunciation of both ‘garage’ and ‘trait’ remains very close to the French pronunciation than does the lower-register (and, I would contend, the most common) UK pronunciation of both words.

37. Arnold says

Living in the UK, I have heard “trait” pronounced “tray”, but it is definitely rare and on the way to extinction.
How fascinating about “garage”. My impression is precisely the opposite — that an old-fashioned upper-class English speaker will pronounce it “garridge”. (“Put the motor-car in the garridge, Jeeves.” “Very good, sir.”) The explanation — insofar as there is an explanation for this sort of absurd U / non-U distinction — is that lower-class people will pretend to be more genteel than they really are by sprinking their conversation with French-sounding words (e.g. “serviette” rather than “napkin”, “envelope” pronounced “ong-velope”, “garage” pronounced to rhyme with Mme Defarge) whereas a true gentleman is secure in his own sense of English identity and doesn’t need to put on Frenchified airs.
That, at any rate, was the explanation I was given by my mother, who was educated at a very upper-class girls’ school in the 1950s, where great emphasis was placed on correct speech and manners in order to prepare the “gels” for coming out into “society” where they would meet “the right sort of people”. My mother thought it was all a great deal of nonsense, but — such is the power of social conditioning — still took the trouble to teach me all the rules in case I ever needed them.

38. Justin Neville says

it predictably gives its wretched Oxford equivalent of /æ/ for every occurrence of “a”. That is glossed as the sound of “a” in “cat”.
But that is, is it not, how Brits talk? When I listen to BBC News I always hear /præg/ for Prague, &c, and just last night I noticed /pæsta/ for pasta on a TV show.
Bit confused about the above comments. I’m from London and I would NEVER use the same vowel sounds in both ‘Prague’ and ‘pasta’. In fact, even those Northerners that would use the same vowel sound in both ‘bath’ and ‘bat’ would use the longer ‘ah’ in ‘Prague’.

39. Arnold says

Ah now, as for Prague, the old-fashioned English pronunciation can be found in W.J. Prowse’s poem, one of those pieces of whimsical Calverley-esque light verse so popular in the late nineteenth century:
Though the latitude’s rather uncertain
And the longitude also is vague,
The persons I pity who know not the city
The beautiful city of Prague!
But that went out with the Victorians, and I don’t suppose there is anyone still alive who pronounces “Prague” to rhyme with “vague”. (On preview: I agree with Justin, “Prarg” is the norm. Maybe I’ve led a sheltered existence, but I’ve never heard anyone pronounce it “Pragg”.)

40. pierre says

Well, I have just learned (here in America) that the English are so accustomed to mispronouncing “aluminum” with an extra “i” between the n and the u, it has given rise to an accepted alternative spelling. 😉
Can someone enlighten me with regard to the word “specialty”? I have heard English english-speakers pronounce it with an extra “i” between the l and the t. Do they also permit themselves to spell it so — “speciality”?
(And if they do, why don’t they go on and accept the spelling “Himalya”? Creeping phoneticism seems to have crept only so far. Is it a rule that extra letters may be added, but not removed?)

41. Justin Neville says

Yes, we spell it “speciality” and pronounce it as such (with two more syllables and the stress on the “a”). Similarly, “normality”, not “normalcy”.
But I don’t see your point on “Himalaya”, which is how we pronounce it….

42. pierre says

The common pronunciation of “Himalaya” in the US is “Him-a-LAY-a”, in England, “Him-ALL-ya”, at least to my ears. Justin, are you saying the ay is a dipthong? I could easily be mis-hearing it.

43. pierre says

Correcting myself: I can’t say “Him-ALL-ya” is the common pronunciation in England, but I can say I have only heard it from Englishpersons.

44. Justin says

Well, I am English and have never heard anyone from anywhere, including here, say anything other than Him-a-LAY-a, or possibly Him-a-LAY-ya (ie. pronouncing the ‘y’). Him-ALL-ya would sound just plain daft (to me at least).

45. pierre says

I’m glad I hedged to the extent that I did, or I’d be even more embarrassed now.
The wikipedia says Him-ALL-ya is the proper Sanskrit pronuciation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himalayan_Mountains)
I must simply have heard it once pronounced this way by an Englishman, and thereby permitted myself to conclude this was the common pronunciation in England! (It may have been Sir Edmund Hillary, on television?)

46. JP says

I’m Scottish born, Cambridge educated and gleefully pedantic enough to have been brought up with ‘trayt’ and still crack a small smile when I hear someone say it. I wouldn’t go so far as to think it worth correcting, but I wouldn’t pronounce the ‘t’. I’d venture to say that most linguistically-aware people in the UK know that the ‘t’ *ought* to be silent, but realise that it’s rather late to start complaining about the shift . . .

47. JP says

Incidentally, regarding ‘alumin(i)um’
(I hope I’m not breaking any rules of etiquette by posting such a long piece, but I found it quite interesting…)
‘The metal was named by the English chemist Sir Humphry Davy (who, you may recall, “abominated gravy, and lived in the odium of having discovered sodium”), even though he was unable to isolate it: that took another two decades’ work by others. He derived the name from the mineral called alumina, which itself had only been named in English by the chemist Joseph Black in 1790. Black took it from the French, who had based it on alum, a white mineral that had been used since ancient times for dyeing and tanning, among other things. Chemically, this is potassium aluminium sulphate (a name which gives me two further opportunities to parade my British spellings of chemical names).
‘Sir Humphry made a bit of a mess of naming this new element, at first spelling it alumium (this was in 1807) then changing it to aluminum, and finally settling on aluminium in 1812. His classically educated scientific colleagues preferred aluminium right from the start, because it had more of a classical ring, and chimed harmoniously with many other elements whose names ended in –ium, like potassium, sodium, and magnesium, all of which had been named by Davy.
‘The spelling in –um continued in occasional use in Britain for a while, though that in –ium soon predominated. In the USA—perhaps oddly in view of its later history—the standard spelling was aluminium right from the start. This is the only form given in Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, and seems to have been standard among US chemists throughout most of the nineteenth century; it was the preferred version in The Century Dictionary of 1889 and is the only spelling given in the Webster Unabridged Dictionary of 1913. However, there is evidence that the spelling without the final i was used in various trades and professions in the US from the 1830s onwards . . .’

48. Fascinating — thanks for the history! (And please don’t worry about long comments; as long as they’re saying something interesting, they can be as long as you like.)
Looks like I heard an idiosyncratic pronunciation of Prague, but I’m still convinced the vowel of “cat” is often used in the UK where we in the US use ah. I’ll try to think of another example.

49. Noetica says

LH:
it predictably gives its wretched Oxford equivalent of /æ/ for every occurrence of “a”
But that is, is it not, how Brits talk?
Alas, it is indeed the way many from the Old Country talk. Certainly on TV cooking shows that we suffer in Ozlandia, /pæsta/ seems de rigueur.
But all of that is a separate matter from how the SOED gives its foreign pronunciations. This is what I explicitly discussed, in the post you comment on, LH. The /æ/ of “cat” may be used, among consenting adults, for at least the first two instances of “a” in acciaccatura (though probably not the third, and certainly not the last); but it is plain wrong to use four instances of /æ/ in representing the original, “foreign” Italian, pronunciation of the word. This is what SOED does, and it does it with a symbol it explains as marking the /æ/ sound in cat. J’accuse!
Collins and Webster’s 3rd do much better, marking such a foreign “a” as like the /a/ in “father”.
Surely in this case the dictionary is doing its proper job of reflecting common usage.
No, as explained.
(The only dictionary I know that consistently includes the foreign pronunciation is Daniel Jones’s Everyman.)
It doesn’t do so consistently. It does not, for example, give anything other than an anglicised pronunciation for acciaccatura.

50. Michael Farris says

“I’m still convinced the vowel of “cat” is often used in the UK where we in the US use ah.”
‘maffia’, there are some others I’ve heard, but I can’t remember them right this second.

51. I seem to recall that it is the case in most dialects of English that many words have fluctuating pronunciations between the sound in “cat” and the sound in “Saab”. Certainly in British and Australian English. In Australia these variations are often claimed as proof of class accent or regional dialect, but studies show they are not settled enough to categorise such ways. In American English I was pretty sure variations existed as well but perhaps in that case they are along regional dialect lines.
As for my own pronunciations of some topical words; “acciaccatura” is not in my vocabulary at all, garage is /”g{rA:dZ/ (GARR-ahj), “envelope” is either /”env@l@Up/ (EN-va-lope) or /”Qnv@l@Up/ (ON-va-lope), but never /”Q~v@l@Up/ (ONG-va-lope), “pasta” is /”pA:st@/, and I use “serviette” /”s3:vi%jet/ and “napkin” /”n{pk@n/ interchangeably but seem to prefer the former at the moment.
I left out the ad-hoc pronunciations for “pasta” because I don’t know how to do it unambiguously, “serviette” because I don’t know how to show /3:/ without implying rhoticity, and “napkin” because it’s too bloody obvious (-:
On SOED pronunciations, mine is from about 1991 when they were their own pre-IPA system which was complicated but allowed for more flexibility and subtlety. The current SOED does use IPA. I get the impression that people on this list are not aware that there are two styles of SOED pronunciation. Which are you talking about here?
For Noetica, thankyou for shattering my illusions as regards the Macquarie. I’ll not trust it as much any more but I shall still use it. It was the one place I could find the Australianism “light globe” but it let me down when I was looking for “doovermalacky”. The other two good sized Australian dictionaries are the Oxford Australian English dictionary and the Collins Australian English dictionary. Is any one better? Are these other two actually developed in Australia? And where can I find out more about the true origins and history of the MQD? Specifically, which “third-rate American dictionary from the ’40s” is it cheaply adapted from?
Now it’s my turn to apologize for a long post!

52. I use the Oxford Australian, which has “light globe” but not “doovermalacky” (it does, however, have “doover,” defined as “any object when one does not know or cannot remember what it is called; a thingummyjig,” which is an admirable definition — I assume “doovermalacky” is an expanded version).

53. Noetica says

Andrew:
The current SOED does use IPA. I get the impression that people on this list are not aware that there are two styles of SOED pronunciation. Which are you talking about here?
Myself, I mainly use a CD-ROM version of SOED, dated 1997. It uses IPA. Actually, I am negotiating to swap my 1993 print version for a 1970s one, because much that was good is now omitted. (Why on earth have they retained “itacist” but dropped its fellow, “etacist”?)
The other two good sized Australian dictionaries are the Oxford Australian English dictionary and the Collins Australian English dictionary. Is any one better? Are these other two actually developed in Australia?
I can’t say anything about the Oxford offering, other than to give my opinion that the smaller Oxfords have declined over the years. I only use the SOED and the OED.
The Collins is excellent, both as a general resource (I really like its extensive proper-name entries, with pronunciations) and for specifically Australian usages. As I understand it, the Collins is substantially the UK version, with Australian and NZ additions. In my opinion it does an excellent job of looking after the Australian reader. (I own two.)
And where can I find out more about the true origins and history of the MQD? Specifically, which “third-rate American dictionary from the ’40s” is it cheaply adapted from?
For a partisan but adequate history, you can look here:
http://www.sun.ac.za/wat/translex/MACQUA3.html
Extracts:
“All the editors had been involved in major studies of the phonological patterns of Australian English across the community. So, contrary to general practice except in learner’s dictionaries, they decided to supply an Australian pronunciation, with variants, for every headword entry, using a suitable version of the International Phonetic Alphabet. The transcription symbols were to be phonemic, each accommodating within a single symbol the whole spectrum of variation found among Australian speakers. Thus not one of the three major categories of Australian pronunciation, Broad, General and Cultivated, would be favoured over the others, and every user could interpret the transcription in terms of their own position in the spectrum (Mitchell and Delbridge 1965).”
“As with so many projects which come to fill if not dominate the lives of those who participate, this one began with a fairly casual offer from a publisher. It came, late in 1969, from Brian Clouston, the head of the Jacaranda Press, Brisbane, a publishing house dealing principally with educational books. It was casual in the sense that he did not consult his board before making an offer, and the offer did not include a contract. Made to Arthur Delbridge, who was the foundation professor of linguistics in Macquarie University, it proposed the writing of “an aggressively Australian dictionary”, to be finished and ready for publication in two years’ time, with funds enough to encourage the participation of a small group of academic editors, a support staff, and office accommodation off campus. The university itself was not involved in the initial arrangement, though clearly it needed to give permission to its own academic staff who became involved. More importantly, the offer included the use of a dictionary of suitable size, the Encyclopedic World Dictionary (EWD), as a base on which the new work could be developed. This dictionary had itself been based on the American College Dictionary (ACD) (1947–1967), with Patrick Hanks as editor and the Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd as publisher. It was published in London in 1971. The ACD was never on sale within Australia, and the subsequent work on the proposed Jacaranda Dictionary (to give the Macquarie Dictionary its first intended name) ignored it completely in favour of EWD. EWD itself had been available to Australian users only through a successful mail-order campaign of short duration in 1972. It was a revision of an American dictionary by a British lexicographer whose first concern was “to describe the vocabulary common to all or most brands of English in the fullest and clearest possible form” (Hanks 1971: Introduction). It was not in any sense a national dictionary, but it proved to be Australia’s indispensable base dictionary.”
As far as I’m concerned, for “indispensable” read “dispensable”. They would have done better to take their time, and start from a better base.
I am familiar with “dooverwacky”, but not the variant you give, Andrew.

54. bathrobe says

Since this thread has degenerated into a discussion on the merits of Australian dictionaries, I have a question that has been burning at me for the past 30 years.
When I was brought up in Queensland, the word ‘ocker’ was a pejorative term that was used for Asians (normally Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.) I know it was used at the University and I know that it was used in the general community (I heard one gentleman at the post office commenting that the Chinaman should get off the line of our telex machine — the reason being that it said OCC, meaning, of course, ‘occupied’).
There is another meaning of the word ‘ocker’ which is ‘true-blue and down-to-earth Australian’, with rural or working class undertones.
This is the meaning that is listed in all those Australian dictonaries. I have looked in vain for the meaning ‘Asian’. Not a single dictionary or Internet source mentions it! Is this a purely Queensland provincialism (possibly already extinct)? And if it is, why don’t the so-called Australian dictionaries list it?

55. Noetica says

When I was brought up in Queensland, the word ‘ocker’ was a pejorative term that was used for Asians (normally Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.)
I have never heard that one. The scholarly and comprehensive but under-used Australian National Dictionary (AND; Oxford, 1988 [Ockersford?]) gives three related senses for “ocker”, with copious citation of sources. It also has the abbreviation “ock”, “ockerdom”, “ockerism”, and “ockerina” (a female ocker). None of them has anything like the sense you mention.
I speculate that the word used in that other sense is a typical Oz contraction, of “octoroon” (cf. “ocky”, also in AND, for “octopus”), ignorantly and locally applied to East Asiatics instead of “A person of one-eighth Aboriginal descent” (AND).

56. dearieme says

tray. But I’ve probably not used the word for 30 years.

57. I’m American (my speech is mostly a mishmash of Midwestern and mid-Atlantic dialects) and I say “transMITTer”. “TRANSmitter” sounds more like Southern US dialect to me. But I was a bookish kid and, like many bookish kids, came up with strange nonstandard pronunciations for many words as a result of first seeing them in print, so this might not mean much.
I have never heard “trait” pronounced with a silent final t except in French.

58. …And the way I pronounce “garage” ends more “ahdge” than “ahzh”. The vowels are pretty much as in the French, though.

59. Well, “TRANSmitter” comes from Noetica’s report of how young Australians tend to say the word; like you, I’ve never heard an actual American say it, so it may be hyper-Americanization on the part of Aussies.

60. Noetica says

That surprises me, LH. I am close to 100% certain that I have often heard “TRANSmitter” in the days when I was able to tolerate American trash television, with which Oz is of course flooded. It may be that a split by level of education is involved, as with very many words. This might explain the lack of testimony for “TRANSmitter” here. Alternatively, I could simply be mistaken (but then, what would induce me to make it up?).
Anyway, how about “CIGarette”? This has no place in traditional Oz pronunciation, but is given as a pronunciation in American dictionaries. It has long been increasing in use here, in the speech of younger persons.
Consider also “ADult”, “INquiry”, “EXcess”, “REcess”, “ADDress”, “MUStache”, “REsearch”, “ROmance”, “LABoratory”, all noted by Mencken (in The American Language, abridged and annotated by Raven McDavid, pp. 416-8) as examples of the “stronger American tendency to throw the accent forward”. Noticeable also are “CREmate”, “ADvertisement”, along with innumerable other throwings-forward one notes, but which are not mentioned by Mencken. Relevant to my “TRANSmitter” case may be this observation by McDavid (in a footnote to Mencken): “An unfashionable initial stress often appears in individual words in the speech of prominent Americans; e.g., ée-ficiency was often said by President Eisenhower.” (And I add, if in the speech of prominent Americans, why not in the speech of innumerable scarcely noted obscure Americans?) On the “garage” controversy Mencken has something useful to contribute, too: “Running against the current, barráge and garáge survive in the United States against the British bárrage and gárage.”
In all of the cases cited above, Oz and British usage traditionally have the stress later in the word. But in many cases we now often follow the American stressing; and even I have unwittingly succumbed, with some.
Placing of stress, in words and also in larger elements (see my discussion of the vicissitudes of “ice cream”, elsewhere) remains a relatively unexplored area, partly because stress is not marked in written English as it is (with glorious regularity) in Spanish. Many otherwise astute observers are deaf to its ways and changes, in my meta-observation.

61. Well, the tendency Mencken noted is certainly real, and all the other words you cite are initial-stressed in my usage (though I vacillate with “inquiry”); it’s possible that I’ve heard TRANSmitter and simply not noted it, and of course it’s possible it’s used in places I haven’t been. All I can say for sure is that it’s not standard American.

62. Noetica says

For me that’s actually useful information. Thanks, LH. Anyway, I’ll keep my antennae tuned for TRANSmitters when I hear American speech, and I’ll report anything of interest that I pick up from non-standard varieties.

63. Eliza says

I’ve come late to this thread, so fwiw: I say trait without the T (because I was told it was “better” and who was I to argue); “garage” rhymes with “carriage”. Northern English.
Sorry for butting in on all your curi-Ozzities.

64. John Cowan says

I speak one of the more conservative kinds of American (off Tangier Island, anyway), and for me the stresses are transMITter, cigarETTE, adULT (noun), ADult (adjective), INquiry, EXcess (noun), exCESS (adjective), REcess, adDRESS (all parts of speech), MUStache, REsearch (noun), reSEARCH (verb), roMANCE (all parts of speech), LAB’ratory.

My grandson (who is now five) has coined the verb cigarette ‘smoke a cigarette’; I heard him say the other day “They’re cigaretting in there!”, referring to a particular room in someone’s house, with some distress. This verb had initial stress, and if I adopted it, I’d give it initial stress too. (He knows the verb smoke but doesn’t use it in this connection.)

65. Barbara says

I was taught in Teachers’ college in the 70’s that the word “trait” was pronounced “tray.” I have since used it that way. I am Canadian. I also like to be correct in the way I speak.

66. Carole says

” trait”, in my Australian experience, rhymes with “bouquet”.
What of “less” and “fewer”? Why do non-Americans pronounce “furore” without the final “”e”?

67. Carole says

Stress: Horrifyingly, Australian Basketball commentators have begun to pronounce “defence” with the accent on the first syllable!

68. Why do non-Americans pronounce “furore” without the final “”e”?

I presume you mean Americans, not non-Americans, and the answer is twofold: 1) We don’t have a word “furore,” we have a word “furor,” and we pronounce it as spelled. 2) By “without the final ‘e'” you mean like in “more,” “score,” “shore,” etc.?

69. marie-lucie says

trait

I have seen the word written but I am not sure if I have heard it spoken (I probably did but without particularly noticing), and I don’t think I have had occasion to pronounce it. If I had to (reading aloud, for instance) I would probably pronounce the final t. But in both speaking and writing English I prefer to use “feature”, which is the most common meaning of French trait.

acciaccatura

My sister and I practiced violin and piano respectively for years (and still do), our father played violin and viola and had a very good overall musical culture, but I had never run into acciaccatura or a French adaptation of the word. It can’t be too rare in music since many of you know the word, but I have no idea what it means.

70. GeorgeW says

“They’re cigaretting in there!”, referring to a particular room in someone’s house, with some distress. This verb had initial stress, and if I adopted it, I’d give it initial stress too.”

I am sure you are aware of our tendency to stress noun-verb homophones differently with first syllable stress on the verb and second for the noun, like REport (verb), rePORT (noun). I can’t think of any 3-syllable examples at the moment. In any event, I (SoAmE) stress the noun ‘cigarette’ on the first syllable and would do the same if I were to verb it. This may be more of a Southern tendency.

71. John Cowan says

Hat: m-w.com lists both furor (< Fr fureur, 15C) and furore (< It furore, mid-19C, but earlier in connection with opera singers) as current in AmE. The OED1 agrees, but there are no current updates for either word yet. It’s true that furore in three syllables appears to be the dominant form in BrE, and that AmE pronounces furore the same as furor. Of course, both varieties use the Latin furor in such phrases as furor academicus, furor biographicus, furor papisticus, furor poeticus, furor scribendi, furor teutonicus, all per the OED. This furor gets anglicized as fury (< Late Latin furia, 14C), as in From the fury of the Northmen [furore Normannorum], Lord, deliver us, the old prayer of the English against vikings, later applied to Normans as well.

GeorgeW: Southern AmE does have initial stress in many words where other English varieties don’t. Wikipedia lists police, cement, Detroit, Thanksgiving, insurance, behind, display, hotel, motel, recycle, TV, guitar, July, umbrella, which are all stressed on the second syllable in non-Southern varieties; presumably report the verb is one of these. This must be a secondary change rather than the preservation of older initial stress: Byron rhymed July with newly and truly, but I don’t hear any vowel reduction in my wife’s pronunciation of this word (she’s from North Carolina).

m-l: An acciacatura is a grace-note found chiefly in Renaissance and Baroque music, consisting of playing a very short note one whole tone or semitone either higher or lower than the main note. It may be performed either just before or right on the beat. It is notated by writing the grace-note as an eighth-note, but with a smaller head and putting a slash through the vertical stem of the note. For what it’s worth, my piano teacher was a native Italian with a thick Italian accent, and he definitely said accacciatura /akkattʃaˈtura/, the pronunciation described by Noetica-2005 as “illiterate and confused”. My teacher was neither; he was, in addition to being a pianist, a Dantist of some note. (I wouldn’t swear to the gemination after almost fifty years, though; he might have used a degeminated accent of Italian.)

72. Stuart says

My NZ-born and raised grandparents drummed “tray” into me as a child in the 70s, but I abandoned it in my late teens because its rarity here made it sound distractingly pretentious. I don’ recall ever having heard another native NZE speaker using it.

73. marie-lucie says

JC: An acciacatura is a grace-note found chiefly in Renaissance and Baroque music, consisting of playing a very short note …..

Thank you for the precise definition: I know exactly what you mean, but it is known in French as une appoggiature, from the Italian appoggiatura. Is that word not used in English then?

74. It is indeed, and is much more common — I’m familiar with appoggiatura, but couldn’t have told you what an acciacatura was. Frankly, I’m not sure how to distinguish them.

75. marie-lucie says

LH, could it be that each word is used in a different context? with different instruments? with voice vs instruments? etc

76. John Cowan says

An appoggiatura is essentially (and is sometimes called) a long acciacatura, occupying half the time of the main note, or nearly, whereas an acciacatura is ultra-short. In addition, on the piano the acciacatura is often held down while the main note is struck, hence the etymology < schiacciare ‘squash, crush’. This is not the case for the appoggiatura, which is played legato with the main note but not simultaneously with it. A written appoggiatura has no slash through it.

Etymology of schiacciare, unfortunately as an image; the first etymon given is Latin *excutiare.

77. By the way, it appears to be acciaccatura (with four c‘s), not acciacatura.

78. Lordain Volley says

I’m a teacher and I’m 48 years old. I have never heard anyone pronounce the word traits as “trays”, until a few moments ago. I was watching an episode of the British comedy ‘ Rising Damp’, in the last episode broadcast in 1978, the character of Mrs Jones uses the term Tray, asking “what trays does she have”, the Rigsby character then refers to an ‘oak tray’, he is then corrected by Mrs Jones and then says “or you mean traits (tray-t-s).

Astonishingly I have never heard this before being said in the UK.

79. DAVID FOX says

ANYONE WHO PRONOUNCES TRAIT WITH A ‘T’ AT THE END IS A TRAITOR TO THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE!

80. John Cowan says

Pronounced “trayer”, no doubt.

81. I think you mean PRONOUNCED “TRAYER”, NO DOUBT.

82. John Cowan says

Who, me, shouting? I never shout.

83. Petico says

In an intellectual discussion group in Oxford yesterday, I heard two people pronounce “trait” without sounding the final ‘t’. I’ve heard it a number of time before, and I regard ti as an upper-middle-class affectation (both these speakers were of that social group). I don’t think it can be considered standard English, and it always grates on my ears. If we are going to pronounce one word as if we were French, why not pronounce them all that way?
uh-UH, uh-UUHHH!!!

84. Bathrobe says

When I was a kid in Australia, we used to say “graage” /gra:dȝ/. Now I find my family has switched to “GArage” /’gæradȝ/. You notice these things when you’ve been away.

85. Bathrobe says

Also, I learnt that “tray” was correct. I think I use “trait” myself because virtually no one I know says “tray”. And it’s useful having a distinction between the words “tray” and “trait”.

I also say ‘ON-velope’.

86. I was taught to say ‘ON-velope’ (or I guess “was exposed to it as a child” would be more accurate) but have mostly switched to ‘EN-velope’ over the years.

87. Keith Ivey says

Same for me on “ON-velope”. Oddly that pronunciation went along with pronouncing “coupon” as “KEW-pahn”, which seems like the less French-sounding option, and on that word I’ve switched to “KOO-pahn”.

88. Latejoiner says

I say ‘tray’ for trait, not as an ‘upper-middle class affectation’ but because I was taught as a child by my Welsh mother that that was the correct way to say it. I was also corrected on ‘lingerie’ (lonjeray). Thankfully, no-one has yet started calling it linger-ee, as I embarrassingly did (I’d read it, but not heard it!). If saying something the right way is to be considered an affectation, then I’m surprised the inevitable evolution of language isn’t much more rapid, though it does seem to have speeded up of recent years.

89. David Marjanović says

Though the latitude’s rather uncertain
And the longitude also is vague,
The persons I pity who know not the city
The beautiful city of Prague!

PRAGA MATER VRBIVM

90. I was taught as a child by my Welsh mother that that was the correct way to say it.

With all due respect to your Welsh mother, she has no authority over the language and cannot determine what is “correct.”

91. Abdallateef says

In a discussion with some friends I was seized upon for saying tray! I checked it out and both pronunciations are correct. From now on I shall use both just to confuse people. English is fun. It’s like gracias in Spanish. You say Gracia the reply is Gracias. Language is fluid.

92. Before we embrace the Americanisation of everything too enthusiastically, rememmebr that they stick to imperial measurements (well their version of them!), they think the main course is the entree, and they put zees all over the place when a simple “s” will do!

93. David Marjanović says

And yet, they, too, carefully hide the difference between house and houses, which hasn’t been self-evident in well nigh a thousand years.

94. Alison says

One thing I can’t stand is the mispronunciation of mischievous. It’s so widespread, even well educated people do it, including Judge Judy. It grates me every time I hear it as does “pacific” for “specific”. I was taught that “tray” is the correct pronunciation by my mother, but she was the only person I ever heard use it this way. I also use “garage” rhyming with “marriage” and “yoghurt”, not “yoh-gurt”.

95. Rodger C says

“yoghurt”, not “yoh-gurt”.

This is opaque to me.

96. One thing I can’t stand is the mispronunciation of mischievous. It’s so widespread, even well educated people do it, including Judge Judy. It grates me every time I hear it as does “pacific” for “specific”. I was taught that “tray” is the correct pronunciation by my mother, but she was the only person I ever heard use it this way. I also use “garage” rhyming with “marriage” and “yoghurt”, not “yoh-gurt”.

Do you not see the problem in claiming a widespread version is a “mispronunciation” while pointing out that your mother is the only person you know who uses the “correct pronunciation” of trait? You need to think about what “correct” might mean.

“yoghurt”, not “yoh-gurt”.

Like Rodger C, I don’t understand this. Do you mean /ˈjɒɡət/ (“YOG-ge(r)t)?

97. Rodger C says

Not to mention the problem in simply spelling a word out and thinking you’ve indicated the pronunciation.

For the record, the only person I ever heard pronounce “trait” as “tray” was one of my undergraduate economics professors, an L2 speaker of English (and, in fact, the only native speaker of Frisian I’ve ever known–we had conversations about the language). I assumed at the time that he was simply pronouncing it as French.

98. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

I was taught that “tray” is the correct pronunciation by my mother, but she was the only person I ever heard use it this way.

That applies to me as well, but unless Alison is one of my sisters posting under a pseudonym we had different mothers.

99. Douglas says

I was nearing the end of my 52 year working life when I first heard a person fail to pronounce the second t.
I certainly hope his colonic irrigation was fragranced so that he could enjoy the view without the odour.
It is most likely a family thing rather than mainstream. None of my psychology or sociology lecturers and tutors ever dropped the t.

100. Bioneck says

I’d like to put my two penn’orth (as in tuppence meaning two pence and pronounced ˈtʌp(ə)ns) into this discussion, too. First, may I declare my nationality. I am English, that little country where the English language came into being through invasion. conquest, immigration. It is a mix of Latin, Ancient Greek, Old Fresian, Anglo-Saxon, Norman-French, German (eg. Angst, Blitz, Zeitgeist etc.), Italian (numerous words used in music terminology), Indian (e.g. bungalow, pyjamas (not pajamas, etc.), Japanese even (macrame, bonsai, tsunami, etc.) and several other languages. I believe we should attempt to say the foreign words that have been ‘borrowed’ by us as accurately as possible to the original, thus, I was taught by my exceptionally erudite late father to say ‘treɪ’ not ‘treɪt’ as the former is given preference to in that revered, famous lexicon the Oxford English Dictionary. I mean, would you dream of pronouncing ballet with the ‘t’ being vocalised? Another horrendous modernism frequently made by BBC presenters (a former guardian of the language but sadly failing now) is the word ‘restaurateur’. Yes, that’s right, there is no ‘n’ in the word. It is not restaurant-eur. Another pet hate of mine is the incorrect pronunciation of the word ‘lido’ which is Italian and should be pronounced ‘leedo’ not ‘l-eye-do’. Well, I’ve had my rant for now and now I await them in return knowing full well what some of you will say. As a dyslexic, who attended British schools in all sorts of foreign countries and an American school, too, just imagine my total confusion when, at the age of 8-10, I learnt ‘color, plow, flavor, neighbor, etc.’ and then had to un-learn it all without a single teacher picking up on my previous education and helping me to understand why the difference. My higher education was completed in English and two foreign languages! Vive la difference!

101. Bioneck says

As George Bernard Shaw reputedly once said “England and America are two countries separated by a common language” !

102. Noetica says

TRANSmitter in Merriam-Webster (to which the Chicago Manual of Style defers):

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transmitter

And first hit, searching on “transmitter” “youtube”:

Concerning “acciaccatura”, from the Annals of Systematic Ignorance:

And a superbly erudite corrective:

103. Keith Ivey says

I wish those automatically generated pronunciation spam videos could be filtered out of search results.

104. David Eddyshaw says

I say “tray”; it is probably significant that I hardly use the word at all except as a medical term of art, and that in the UK at least, quite a lot of these preserve antique “correct” pronunciations virtually unknown in Real Life (VerTIEgo, abDOUGHmen …)

Like obscene anatomy mnemonics, these were part of our medical oral tradition, now sadly vanishing away or already gone.

Interestingly, if Wiktionary is to be believed, the long /i:/ in the Latin vertigo was itself introduced by folk etymology:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/vertigo#Latin

105. David Eddyshaw says

@Bioneck:

Macramé is not Japanese:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/macram%C3%A9#English

You should therefore pronounce it miqramatun, ideally, though I suppose miqrama is marginally acceptable in these degenerate days when the young no longer pronounce their Arabic case endings. (Sheer sloppiness, I call it.)

106. jack morava says

This is about semantics rather than phonetics, and I suppose its audience will be vanishingly small (I learned of this thread only just now): but I very recently became curious about the interpretation (in for example algebraic geometry, but in both French and English) of trait’ as meaning the Zariski spectrum of a discrete valuation ring’: in more concrete terms, the connected (Sierpinski) space consisting of two points, one open and one closed

It plays a role in intuitionistic’ logic as something like yes in general but occasionally no’, with the closed’ point imagined as being on the boundary of the open’ one; this resembles Roman Jakobson’s marked vs unmarked categories but there are slight technical differences. A continental authority says

my first reaction to ’trait’ is to think of ’trait d’union’ (hyphen in English). Looks like an adequate depiction of the [Kuratowski] closure operation in the two point spectrum of a DVR…’ On the other hand, the two points are sometimes represented by an arrow from the generic’ point to the specific’ point, perhaps suggesting something like specialization’ in a biological sense, eg acquisition of a specific trait’ such as eye color.

107. Stu Clayton says

Rarely has so much been made of so little. the Zariski spectrum of a discrete valuation ring’ cracks me up.

108. Stu Clayton says

##########################
Here’s the amazing fact about the Sierpiński space {T,F}.

Open sets in any topological space X correspond to continuous maps f: X → {T,F}. Given the function f, the open set is

{x∈X : f(x) = T}

For details, read this blog post!
##########################

“Amazing fact” my foot. Somebody seems to have forgotten the definition of continuous function.

109. jack morava says

Yeah it cracks me up too, that’s why I got curious about it; see perhaps

It’s connected with formal representations of `speciation’, which can look kind of discontinuous; phase changes (ice to water to steam) are perhaps a related class of examples.

110. Noetica says

And here is a US English discussion of transducers and transmitters:

What fascinates me is that the speaker alternates between TRANSducer and transDUCer, and between TRANSmitter and transMITTer. For no apparent reason. When a direct distinction needs to be made between transducers and transmitters, only sometimes does he happen to stress the terms in a way that highlights their difference.

This sample was not selected to prove a point; it was the first and only Youtube discussion I looked at concerning transducers. I’m left wondering: Is there some hidden rationale behind these alternations, or are they truly in effect random? I favour the randomness hypothesis, in this instance and generally. And I consider it likely that the speaker in this case (and a large proportion of cases) would be totally unaware of such alternations in word-stress patterns.

111. Bathrobe says

Nice to see Noetica back! Always one of the more interesting and knowledgeable commenters (not to disparage any of the others, of course).

112. Stu Clayton says

Hey Noe ! I think I’ve heard that exact same voice – with that American pronunciation and intonation patterns – in other youtube clips and in TV ads. It sounds a bit like computer-generated speech. It also sounds like a “professional” presenter, with that mechanical low-key bonhomie that gets on my nerves.

I favour the randomness hypothesis, in this instance and generally.

I do as well.

113. drasvi says

I say kompléksnyje and kómpleksnyje chísla (complex numbers) by mood.

Some people insist that the former is the proper pronunciation of the word for complex numbers – sometimes citing the example of cómpleksnyj obéd “complex lunch”, a lunch of several courses in a cafeteria.
Similarly, sailors insist that “говно плавает, а корабль ходит“. “Shit floats. A ship walks
плавать – swim, float, sail. ходить – walk.
The implication is: you do not want to call our beautiful numbers with the same word as their ugly lunch?

Some people just use it.
Some people use the other pronunciation.
I use both, by mood. And I always know what stress I am using this or that moment:)

114. drasvi says

And Russian military pilots now believe that лётчик properly describes military pilots, while пилот is suitable for civilian pilots, пилотов гражданской авиации.

115. David Marjanović says

Reminds me of airman in the US Air Force.

German simply uses Kampf- “fight” as a productive prefix for military matters.

116. David Marjanović says

The voice in the video has other puzzling features, like the complete lack of contrastive stress around 1:00 (“an electrical SIGnal… a much larger electrical SIGnal”. But if it’s artificial, that’s by far the best artificial voice I’ve ever heard.

117. Stu Clayton says

But if it’s artificial, that’s by far the best artificial voice I’ve ever heard.

I know, that puzzles me too. It’s too good to be true. I suppose it’s more reasonable to assume that some guy has trained himself to sound like an advanced robot.

I bet angels speak like that – friendly with a hint of non-negotiable objectivity.

118. mollymooly says

“a medical term of art … abDOUGHmen”

Ooh! This adds a deep joke to Marge Simpson’s damning testimony on Dr Nick Riviera, “He mispronounced words that even I know, like ABdomen.”

119. What fascinates me is that the speaker alternates between TRANSducer and transDUCer, and between TRANSmitter and transMITTer. For no apparent reason.

My first thought was that the speaker might be from the South (or some other region where initial stress is used more widely). When I clicked on the link, I discovered that he has an absolutely neutral accent (with a slight tinge of robotism, so I can see the “artificial voice” idea), but it’s still possible that his original dialect had that feature and he hasn’t managed to eliminate it. I myself (thanks to my Ozark forebears) alternate more or less randomly between INsurance and inSURance, UMbrella and umBRELla.

120. John Cowan says

I am English, that little country where the English language came into being […]

Were the analogous rant uttered by an Ozite or a Kiwi or a Canuck, it would be confidently ascribed to colonial cringe. Here, well … “metropolitan cringe”?

We Yanks, of course, cringe by boasting.

121. Isn’t that just bog-standard English self-deprecation? I don’t see where colonial cringe comes in. A (stereotypical) Englishman would rather die than boast.

122. John Cowan says

I don’t think so: it seems too long and too defensive. Englishpersons, what say you?

123. Long? You just quoted the “I am English, that little country” part, and that’s what I was responding to. The rest doesn’t seem defensive to me at all.

124. Ryan says

Pondering that Claire, the 27-year old who initially responded saying her parents said trai though she did not, is now in her mid-40s, her parents perhaps in their 70s. At some point, in addition to analyzing language change, LH will become a document of language change.

125. Rodger C says

Oh Jonah, he lived in de whale
Oh Jonah, he lived in de whale
Fo’ he made his home in
Dat fish’s abDOmen
Oh Jonah, he lived in de whale

126. Keith Ivey says

Make a cross on your abdomen,
When in Rome do like a Roman;
Ave Maria,
Gee, it’s good to see ya.
Gettin’ ecstatic an’ sorta dramatic an’
Doin’ the Vatican Rag!

127. D.O. says

“little island of ours” is a fixed expression in EngEng and by now doesn’t mean anything in particular. In my search of historical precedent the earliest reference in gbooks is to a sermon by Joseph Hall in this context

“And, if any nation under heaven could either parallel or second Israel in the FAVOURS of God, this poor little Island of ours is it.”

I thought Pitt the Elder was the originator.

128. Brett says

The stress on abdomen, including the canonical musical examples demonstrating second-syllable stress, were previously mentioned here.

129. drasvi says

I say “tray”; it is probably significant that I hardly use the word at all except as a medical term of art, and that in the UK at least, quite a lot of these preserve antique “correct” pronunciations virtually unknown in Real Life (VerTIEgo, abDOUGHmen …)

Yes, Russian mathematical kompléksnyj, of course, preserves the stress of Latin complexus.

I do not know how I should interpret atómnyj. We tend to say “atomic [bomb, power plant …]” rather than “nuclear”, even though the later is familiar and used to sound quite scientific. Usually the adjective is átomnyj, but it was atómnyj before, and when átomnyj replaced it, professionals of nuclear industry for a long time insisted – or still do – that the latter* is correct.

* atómnyj. Sorry for confusion.

130. Thanks, I love knowing that kind of thing.

131. drasvi says

The noun is átom. Did they borrow the stress for the adjective from an oblique case form? But why?

Thanks, I love knowing that kind of thing.
The most famous is
astronóm (common)
astrónom (astronomers)
Again, I do not understand why. Greek vs. Latin.

Also phenomén and phenómen.

And in many professions self-designation is different: say, a tsirkach would call him/herself tsirkovoj/-aja

132. January First-of-May says

Did they borrow the stress for the adjective from an oblique case form?

AFAIK the stress on the noun is initial even in oblique case forms. But of course this could easily have been different before.

133. JustNoticed says

I have just noticed this wonderfully obsessive strand where trait seems to have been discussed since 2005… I’m unfortunately ignorant in the writing of phonetics (envy! envy!). However I was raised in Newcastle Australia with a public school education in the 1970s and taught that trait was simply an example of a word not pronounced as written – that is, to pronounce trait as tray, as in ‘one is several character trays’. Embarrassingly perhaps I still do this, not at all to make any point but no doubt from pure habit and laziness. I do though shudder when I hear ‘ory’ and ‘ary’ now pronounced by younger Australians with this ending stressed. I was raised with ‘dictionary’, ‘statutory’ and ‘stationary’ pronounced as three syllable, not four syllable, words – the final vowel not pronounced (great apologies here for inability to express this otherwise) stay-shon-ree, dic-shon-ree, stat-tute-tree. We seem to have moved to a USA stay-shon-AIR-REE, dic-shon-AIR-EE etc, each year the AIR component ever broader in the Australian vowel and receiving ever more syllabic stress and emphasis. It’s become the main part of the word? (Tonight on Aussie ABC radio, a matter described as “essential not at all dis-cresh-shon-AIRRRRR-ee’). As a postscript our current prime minister Scott Morrison yesterday followed George W Bush in pronouncing nuclear weapons not as new-klee-ah but noo-koo-lar. Sigh. Thank you all for such fabulous focus.

134. Welcome, JustNoticed, and I’m glad you just noticed this strand! I should make “wonderfully obsessive” the motto of Languagehat; where else are you going to find people chewing over the same word for decades? But you shouldn’t feel embarrassed — keep proudly waving the flag of traditional pronunciation. God knows I do, though “tray” isn’t one of my own traditions. And stick around; you might find some of the other Australia-related threads of interest, e.g. What Australian Slang Has Given the World.

135. Rachel says

My husband and I pronounce it differently; he says tray, I say trait. Our search to find the correct pronunciation has led us to this thread. We remain none the wiser. We are both English in our late 40s. Turns out, he spells fantasy with a ph, so we can ignore him. I, on the other hand, have a PhD (he’s just a medic, Dr is just an honorary title to him).

136. We remain none the wiser.

I beg your pardon? You slander the educational force of the Hattery! If you’ve read this thread, you are ipso facto wiser. But I take your side in the debate, and your husband is hereby ordered to stick to his scalpels and leave the pronunciation decisions to you.

137. David Eddyshaw says

Turns out, he spells fantasy with a ph, so we can ignore him

Seems phair enouph.

138. David Marjanović says

fantasy with a ph

Still commonly done in German, though the Rechtschreibduden now “prefers” it with F, for what that’s worth.

139. John Cowan says

phantasy

Psychoanalysts have always used this spelling, even in English.

140. D.O. says

I mean, does Rachel have a PhD or an FD?

141. John Cowan says

Now now, let’s not get phersonal.

142. Lars Mathiesen says

So how about elephant? That’s a trap for me, it’s elefant in Danish and elefante in Spanish and Italian, so English (and French) is the odd one out. Please tell Duolingo that elefant is OK in English when translating.

(Also Wiktionary/en under It elefante derives ἐλέφας “from” Mycenean 𐀁𐀩𐀞 (e-re-pa). Who went and proved that the Greeks all came from Mykenai while I wasn’t looking?)

FWIW, I only learned fantasy in English class and I usually see En phantasy in texts that have signs of being written by a German speaker, so I sort of assumed that was just another native language interference. Good thing I never tried to correct the people using it when it’s actually OK.

143. David Eddyshaw says

Eliffant in Welsh, confirming that English is Just Wrong.

(In the 1588 Welsh Bible, you still get ph instead of ff on etymological grounds in words like sarph “serpent”, but nowadays ph is only used for /f/ when it is synchronically a mutation of /p/, as in ei phen “her head.”)

144. Rodger C says

Please tell Duolingo that elefant is OK in English when translating.

Well, uh, no it isn’t.

Who went and proved that the Greeks all came from Mykenai while I wasn’t looking?

Either you don’t understand the meaning of “Mycenaean” or I can’t follow your meaning. Anyhow I think it’s cool to learn, what I hadn’t known, that the Mycenaeans had elephants to keep track of.

145. Stu Clayton says

I guess they were short on cages.

146. Lars Mathiesen says

I mean, I’ve tried to impress Duolingo with my consistent usage of the form, but it’s clearly too peeverish to accept new evidence. If Humpty-Dumpty can do it…

So is it proven that whoever put an end to Mycenaean civilization and got known as Greeks later didn’t originally speak a form of Greek themselves, but adopted the spoken language that those account books were based on? Including what was probably a loan word for elephant?

(Especially when the cited form seems to reflect a change /l/ > /r/ that Classical Greek didn’t have. That’s sus on the face of it).

147. David Eddyshaw says

I wonder where Wiktionary got its Berber + Egyptian/Sanskrit etymology for ἐλέφας? It looks rather fishy to me (to say the least.)

148. Lars Mathiesen says

@DE, that would solve my problem, ignoring the vowels as one does, but Duolingo does not have a Spanish course for Welsh speakers. Or for Danish ones. Sad.

149. David Eddyshaw says

I think it’s cool to learn, what I hadn’t known, that the Mycenaeans had elephants to keep track of.

I would imagine that the Mycenaean Greek word actually means “ivory” (as indeed ἐλέφας may.)
Linear B doesn’t distinguish /l/ from /r/, so there is no need to posit any /l/ -> /r/ change.

150. anhweol says

Are there any Mycenean references to live elephants? I thought the word was mostly applied to the ivory which was slightly easier to import. (Though it would be nice to think of remnant populations of Palaeoloxodon chaniensis being herded to Knossos and solemnly recorded in clay).
The Welsh replacement of PH by FF does not seem to be complete in initial position for proper nouns; a Pharisee moving from Philadelphia to Phrygia or even the Philippines retains his “phs” (Phariseiad, Philipinau etc), even if his phylactery can start with ff- (ffylacter) if you believe the Academy dictionary (GPC has ‘phylacter’). And his phonograph is definitely a ffonograff…

151. David Eddyshaw says

Quite right about the proper names. My Beibl Cymraeg Newydd has Phrygia but Pamffilia and Philip but Steffan.
On the other hand, “Egypt” is Aifft, whereas it was Aipht for Bishop Morgan …

152. Lars Mathiesen says

no need to posit — well, you know that, and I know that, but the man on the Clapham omnibus doesn’t. It’s misleading to put in Wikt that ἐλέφας “comes from” e-re-pa with no hint that it might have been pronounced /elepʰas/. (Also you can’t rule it out innit, maybe they hired some accountants that only had /r/ in their native language so the conflation is a real substrate effect)

153. David Marjanović says

e-re-pa-te-jo definitely meant “made of ivory”.

154. Brett says

@Lars Mathiesen: I don’t think there is much, if any, archeological evidence showing a new cultural group arriving in southern Greece and disrupting the palace economy as part of the Bronze Age collapse. If there was any large-scale invasion at all, then the most likely story is probably still the one that the classical Greeks believed, that the Dorians were Greek speakers from the North (perhaps mostly from around Epirus). However, there are historians who believe that the Dorians had always been present in the Peloponnese, who replaced the previously dominant Achaean speakers in the region (who had been more influenced by Minoan culture than the poorer, more rural Doric speakers), so that there was no external invasion of Morea at all.

155. John Cowan says

nowadays ph is only used for /f/ when it is synchronically a mutation of /p/, as in ei phen “her head.”

In Sindarin there are two other cases: when it represents /fː/ from assimilation across a morpheme boundary, as in ephel < et-pel ‘outer fence, surrounding ring [sc. of mountains]’, and in final position, where it is always written for /f/, as in alph ‘swan’. Of course, these only affect the Romanized spelling, not the native Elvish featural orthographies.

The Quenya word for ‘elephant’ is andamundo ‘long-mouth’; its Sindarin form is not recorded but probably *annabon, pl. *ennebyn Sindarin umlaut is pervasive!), collective pl. regularly *annabonath.

156. Ryan says

>I mean, would you dream of pronouncing ballet with the ‘t’ being vocalised?

A true purist would import all the rules of pronunciation from the source language, including liaison in a sentence like The Joffrey Ballet is amazing.

157. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

The late and not much lamented Augusto Pinochet had a French name. Opinions differed in Chile on whether to pronounce it as approximately French — French ch, silent t, or as thoroughly Spanish, ch as in English, t pronounced, or with a combination of the two. So there were four possible pronunciations, and I heard all four in Chile. The most common was a hybrid, with a Spanish ch and silent t.

158. juha says

How many ways are there of pronouncing Michelle Bachelet Chilean style?

pinoche \pi.nɔʃ\ féminin

(Marine) Cône de bois, série de cônes de différentes tailles, destiné à colmater une voie d’eau dans la coque.

–this seems strange as a name origin. Would a Breton hypercorrection of Binoche(t) be more likely? There seems to be an occasional replacement of stressed P with B in Breton borrowings, e.g., ἀπόστολος > abostol (Irish has aspal, with a “normal” development, compare episkopos > easpag = Breton eskob, which has b for stressed p again). Actually the Breton hardening may refer mostly to intervocalic p.

160. David Eddyshaw says

I’m not too clued up on Breton, but I would think that the b for Latin p there is simply the normal Brythonic post-vowel voicing of single stops, which applied to Roman-era Latin loans just as it did to inherited Celtic vocabulary. You wouldn’t expect that to happen word-initially (except after the article in feminines, etc.) Cf Welsh esgob “bishop” (Welsh apostol is obviously not from Roman times, but a later literary borrowing, but there is also a form abostol which is presumably authenticker.)

A fair bit of Irish early Christianity-related vocabulary is not directly borrowed from Latin but has got Brythonicated along the way; I presume this is the case for “bishop.” Old Irish abstal must be a case in point, anyhow.

A (possible) case of a word from French acquiring a final t in pronunciation despite this being silent in French is the Mooré kaseto (borrowed into Kusaal as kasɛt) “testimony, (legal) evidence”, which is in some way connected with cachet in the sense “seal”, though I’m not clear exactly how; perhaps via the verb cacheter.

161. Xerîb says

Though it would be nice to think of remnant populations of Palaeoloxodon chaniensis being herded to Knossos and solemnly recorded in clay

In fact, populations of the Syrian elephant may have survived into the first millennium BCE. Here is a recent paper maintaining the position that even in the Bronze Age, wild populations of the indigenous subspecies of the Asian elephant survived in Syria. I am not qualified to judge in these matters.

Mooré kaseto (borrowed into Kusaal as kasɛt) “testimony, (legal) evidence”, which is in some way connected with cachet

I am in no way qualified to judge West African etymologies either, but R.P. Gustave Alexandre (1953) La langue möré vol. II, at the entry for the word kaséto, offers the following alternative etymology:

kaseto… (songay ka shede pour témoigner) Témoignage, avis, jugement personnel.

This is expanded upon in a little more detail here.

Possible? Improbable? Impossible? (In any case, presumably Songhay shede (~ sede?) is from Arabic شهادة šahāda ‘testimony, shahada’.)

162. I certainly like it better than an etymology which depends on the restoration of a phantom French -t. The semantics are more convincing as well.

163. David Eddyshaw says

I’m not altogether convinced of the French origin of kaseto; however:

(a) I can’t think of any parallel for Mooré borrowing a particle + verb combination like that as a noun. AFAIK (though Lameen will actually know), Songhay doesn’t use ka + verb combinations as noun phrases, only as verb complements and the like.
(b) the change of d -> t is peculiar: Mooré distinguishes t/d in all positions quite clearly
(c) the second vowel in kaseto is short, not long

The word is, as far as I can establish, only found in Mooré and Kusaal in Western Oti-Volta, and seems (whatever its ultimate origin) to have been borrowed from Mooré by Kusaal; there is nothing phonologically difficult about that part, at any rate.

The Mooré word has been fitted into the go/do noun class by analogy, which accounts fro the final -o at any rate (which needs explaining on either hypothesis, of course.) Similarly the /s/ for an original /ʃ/ is unproblematic; where [ʃ] exists at all in Western Oti-Volta, it’s just an allophone of /s/.

Kusaal has exploited its own loss of final short vowels to give its own form kasɛt an alternative interpretation as a personal noun “witness”, plural kasɛtib “witnesses.” That would correspond to a Mooré form *kasɛta, which seems to be nonexistent. Looks like the abstract meaning is primary, anyway. On structural grounds, it has to be loanword from somewhere (if it were native WOV, it would have to refer to some kind of millet …)

The /t/ is certainly a problem. I’ve wondered if the proximate source might actually have been cacheté, via something like “sealed [testimony.]”

I wouldn’t mind having a better etymology, but I’m not persuaded by this Songhay one.
At any rate the word belongs to the sort of semantic field where either French or Songhay origin would be plausible on first principles.
It would be nice to link it with šahāda somehow. Kanuri? (Hausa kasuwa “market” comes, mirabile dictu, from the Arabic su:q via Kanuri …)

164. David Eddyshaw says

Jeffrey Heath’s dictionary of Humburi Senni gives sé:dê “witness” (interestingly, in the personal sense), and derives it from the Arabic via Fulfulde seed-. He does cite a Zarma form with a short first vowel: sědày, though.

In fact, Mooré morphophonemics works in such a way that if you assume that the vowel was short to begin with in the borrowing, once the word had been assigned to the go/do noun class by analogy, the change of d -> t could also follow by analogy: the -do suffix assumes the form -to after short root vowels, due to an ancient alternation seen in e.g. roogo “hut”, plural roto (likewise Kusaal dɔɔg, plural dɔt.) So that part could be explained away, I think. Still not persuaded about the ka-, though …

165. David Eddyshaw says

I should perhaps explain that Mooré kaseto definitely has the sense “authentication” specifically, e.g. kaset sebre (“testimony writing”) is “receipt” or “certificate.”

166. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

How many ways are there of pronouncing Michelle Bachelet Chilean style?

Michelle is usually pronounced more or less as in French [mɪ’ʃel], albeit with more obvious stress on the second syllable than in French, and you may also hear [mɪ’tʃel],.

I don’t remember ever hearing the t in Bachelet pronounced. For the ch, some people use [tʃ], others [ʃ]. [tʃ] is probably more common.

167. Y says

I think I’ve heard Chileans say Bachelet (and Pinochet) with a -t, but you’ve probably heard far more Chileans than I have, so maybe I’m imagining it.

168. Rodger C says

Final /t/ is nonnative and unstable in Spanish. “Pinochet” with affricate ch and silent t is just colloquial Spanish.

What I always really thought silly were the contortions undergone by gringo journalists trying to pronounce “Augusto” with /au/. Everyone in the hispanophone world, AFAIK, says “Agusto.” And did long ago, cf. the month name “Agosto,” not “*Ogosto.”

169. Lars Mathiesen says

@Brett, as long as there was a Bronze Age Collapse, or even without it, it’s not quite obvious that later Greek is a direct descendent of the variant they spoke in the palaces. Romance isn’t a descendent of what they spoke in the Senate, either.

That’s the whole of my point, you can’t just posit a Linear B form as a direct ancestor of the Greek word that was later borrowed by Latin and came down to Italian. (Though come to think of it, Romance etymologies happily quote Cicero’s Latin unless they have to adduce some VL development to explain things. In many cases, it’s what we have).

170. David Marjanović says

What’s written in Linear B specifically belongs to the Arcado-Cypriot dialect group, ancestral to perhaps some but not most later Greek dialects. There’s also a bit of diversity in it, e.g. apparently you can watch /j/ getting lost over time, and the sign ha was never used in Knossos, so possibly /h/ was already lost there. (No other h- series signs seem to exist.)

171. juha says

@Athel Cornish-Bowden

¡Muchas gracias!

172. John Cowan says

I thought the resemblances between Arcado-Cypriot and Mycenaean were shared primitive characters.

173. Lars Mathiesen says

@DM, thanks. Later Greek may still have the elephant word from the Linear B word for ivory, of course, but also it may not.

174. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

I used to know someone (now deceased) very well whose maternal surname was Pinochet. However, sharing a name with the Capitán General didn’t get her any special favours at the time of the coup, and she was in prison for a short while (but not brutalized). She was a friend of Isabel Allende — the politician, not the better known novelist.

Final /t/ is nonnative and unstable in Spanish. “Pinochet” with affricate ch and silent t is just colloquial Spanish.

Non-native perhaps, but it exists in other names, such as José Ortega y Gasset. According to Wikipedia the final t is pronounced. His maternal family was apparently well established in Spain in the 19th century, but I don’t know where the name comes from. The -ss- suggests a Catalan origin rather than Castilian. I know a Catalan person whose name ends in t, but for him the t is definitely silent.

175. David Marjanović says

I thought the resemblances between Arcado-Cypriot and Mycenaean were shared primitive characters.

Oh, that’s possible. I actually have a source where I can probably look that up, but no time soon.

I know a Catalan person whose name ends in t, but for him the t is definitely silent.

The ends of words generally seem to be – Sant Celoni near Barcelona is pronounced San Celón.

176. juha says

Re L R alternations:

αδελφός

Greek
Alternative forms

Etymology

From Ancient Greek ἀδελφός (adelphós); from Proto-Hellenic *hə- (“same, together”) from Proto-Indo-European *sm̥- (“together, one”) + *gʷelbʰ- (“womb”), equivalent to ἁ- (ha-, “same”, copulative prefix) +‎ δελφύς (delphús, “womb”).
Pronunciation

IPA(key): /a.ðelˈfos/
Hyphenation: α‧δελ‧φός

Noun

αδελφός • (adelfós) m (plural αδελφοί, feminine αδελφή)

1. brother
2. (religion) monk

177. Sant Celoni near Barcelona is pronounced San Celón.

No, [ˈsan səˈlɔni]. In any case, you’re adducing a word where it occurs after -n-, which is a different kettle of fish.

178. juha says

Montserrat (Catalan pronunciation: [munsəˈrat]) is a multi-peaked mountain range near Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montserrat_(mountain)

179. Alex K. says

There are at least two large groups of Catalan words ending in -t pronounced as [t]. Participles like “fet,” “dit,” and “serrat” as in “mont serrat.” Nouns like “llibertat,” “ciutat,” “amistat.”

180. David Marjanović says

The -i wasn’t there in the announcements on public transport the one time I passed through Barcelona (in 2012).

181. The announcer might have been influenced by Spanish.

182. Rodger C says

Yeah, don’t base your ideas of Catalan on what the Barcelonesos gargle. Are you sure he was in fact attempting to speak Catalan in the first place?

183. juha says

Lloret de Mar (Catalan: [ʎuˈɾɛd də ˈmaɾ]; Spanish: [ʎoˈɾe(ð) ðe ˈmaɾ]) is a Mediterranean coastal town in Catalonia, Spain. It is 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Girona and 75 kilometres (47 miles) northeast of Barcelona.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloret_de_Mar

https://forvo.com/word/lloret_de_mar/

184. Rodger C says

Note that of course it’s [ʎuˈɾɛd də ˈmaɾ], not [ʎuˈɾɛt], because of assimilation.

AFAIK t is always pronounced at the end of Catalan words, but this example reminds me that there’s more variation with final r, a trap for the learner.

185. Having only just come upon this thread, I have not yet read the (many) earlier comments, but would simply note that as a British child, educated in Britain, I was taught at a relatively early age (maybe 9 or 10) that the final ‘t’ in ‘trait’ was silent, and therefore that is how I pronounce it to this day. I very much suspect that I may well be in a minority in so doing.

186. You’re probably right, but don’t let them stop you! I approve of traditional pronunciations, however antiquated.

187. David Marjanović says

Are you sure he was in fact attempting to speak Catalan in the first place?

Yes, because s and c both were a laminal [s].

188. Alex K. says

@Rodger C: “Note that of course it’s [ʎuˈɾɛd də ˈmaɾ], not [ʎuˈɾɛt], because of assimilation.”

That makes things easier for Castilian speakers: compare pared.

“AFAIK t is always pronounced at the end of Catalan words…”

But not in -ment adverbs and nouns in Central Catalan.

189. Rodger C says

But not in -ment adverbs and nouns in Central Catalan.

Right, of course.

190. Rodger C says

David, I still suspect that your bad Catalan speaker was one of the many Barcelonese from Altres Parts.

191. Rodger C says

Alex K: Also molt etc.