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Why do Americans pronounce centaurs "centars"???

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The problem with doing examples that way, is you're assuming we pronounce all these other words the same. To me, the 'au' in all but one of the above sounds just like the one in 'centaur' and 'dinosaur'. Claustrophobia is the only odd one out. And for that I'd use an 'o' sound, not an 'ah' (though it is, of course, possible that we actually mean the same vowel there - talking about this stuff is not straightforward in written form unless we're all gonna learn the IPA!).
Where are you from if I might ask? I've never heard any of those words pronounced the way you say. :)
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The problem with doing examples that way, is you're assuming we pronounce all these other words the same. To me, the 'au' in all but one of the above sounds just like the one in 'centaur' and 'dinosaur'. Claustrophobia is the only odd one out. And for that I'd use an 'o' sound, not an 'ah' (though it is, of course, possible that we actually mean the same vowel there - talking about this stuff is not straightforward in written form unless we're all gonna learn the IPA!).
Yeah, they're all "or" sounds except claustrophobia which is "clos". You can't compare how you say something to another thing you say, because people aren't any more likely to say the other thing the same as you as they do the first thing.
 


werecorpse

Adventurer
I like both pronunciations, Aluminium or Aluminum both solid nice sounding words and obvious so I know what is meant.

But like David Mitchell it’s when you Americans say “I could care less” when you mean “I couldn’t care less“ that I shake my head.

(at this point I wish I had the technological skills to attach the YouTube video but I don’t so I suggest watching David Mitchell’s soapbox short youtube video entitled Dear America… where he addresses this)
 

niklinna

Looking for group
But like David Mitchell it’s when you Americans say “I could care less” when you mean “I couldn’t care less“ that I shake my head.
Well, you see, this is just us Americans being, you know, sarcastic. Silly link aside, that is exaclty what it is—or was. It probably started with people saying "As if I could care less", and, people being creatures, decided to drop those words, and now people just say it straight, with no trace of sarcastic tone. And this is just one of the many ways language changes over time.

The French will say "T'inquiète", meaning, don't worry yourself, but there's no negative word there either! The nerve of those people, stealing our linguistic reduction.

(Also, David Mitchell is brilliant, love his stuff.)
 




Cadence

Legend
Supporter
On the radio ads from the 50s and before, Protein is pronounce "Pro-tee-enn" instead of "Pro-teen"...

Edit: It's not quite as extreme as the radio ones, but you can here some of it in this TV ad from the 60s
around :11, and twice just after :29, and again a few times more.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Just checked. My D&D/MtG playing Percy Jackson reading 12yo, and he says Centaur... and Minotar. That's one better than me. We both butchered Satyr, but in different ways.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Out of curiosity how do you say those words?
With the "ah" sound.

Au(ah)spicious
Au(ah)dacity
Au(ah)to
Clau(ah)strophobia
Menopau(ah)se
Plau(ah)sible

Everyone I've ever met and heard say these words and other "au" words has also pronounced them that way. Except dinosaur. There may be some other exceptions, but I cannot recall those words at the moment. Perhaps it's an American thing, since @turnip_farmer is from England. Do you pronounce them the way he does?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
With the "ah" sound.

Au(ah)spicious
Au(ah)dacity
Au(ah)to
Clau(ah)strophobia
Menopau(ah)se
Plau(ah)sible

Everyone I've ever met and heard say these words and other "au" words has also pronounced them that way. Except dinosaur. There may be some other exceptions, but I cannot recall those words at the moment. Perhaps it's an American thing, since @turnip_farmer is from England. Do you pronounce them the way he does?
Well, assuming by “ah” you mean the thing I think you mean, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody (even on US TV!) say those words like that. Even on American TV they say it they way I do. “Orto”, “Plorsible”. It must be a regionalism local to you?
 

mcmillan

Explorer
Well, assuming by “ah” you mean the thing I think you mean, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody (even on US TV!) say those words like that. Even on American TV they say it they way I do. “Orto”, “Plorsible”. It must be a regionalism local to you?
I'll chime in as using similar pronunciations as maxperson at least for these words. If it helps pin down region, I'm from Colorado. Interesting you say you haven't heard similar on TV since I think people around here have pronunciation pretty close to what I think of as the generic "American" accent, with some sounds skewing a bit Texas - like
 


turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Well, assuming by “ah” you mean the thing I think you mean, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody (even on US TV!) say those words like that. Even on American TV they say it they way I do. “Orto”, “Plorsible”. It must be a regionalism local to you?
If I try to imagine someone saying 'claustrophobic" in a Midwest accent it sounds a bit like 'ah'. I can't get my head around 'plahsible' though.

Important point to bear in mind here is that we don't actually all hear the same sounds as each other. Depending on the languages and dialects to which you're exposed, especially when growing up, your brain learns to distinguish and group different sounds. So it's entirely possible for me and you to hear two distinct vowels where someone from across the Atlantic can hear only one, and vice versa. My girlfriend finds it hilarious that I struggle to distinguish 'ou' and 'u' in standard French.

Further complicating things is that, not only do we hear different sounds, but we label them differently as well. The way that I would pronounce the vowel in 'hot' or 'top' would, for me, define what a short 'o' sounds like, but to American ears it apparently sounds more like an 'a'. Which is funny because the standard American pronunciation of that vowel sounds closer to an 'a' to me.

So, bottom line, we're probably just talking past each other here.
 

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