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Why do Americans pronounce centaurs "centars"???


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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I’m an Army Brat in the USA, so moving every 2-4 years (including 3 years in Bavaria) weirded my accent & pronunciation.

For me:

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

18 years in northern Illinois followed by 10 in central (before 23 down here in South Carolina) and those all seem like what I have. I might be 50-50 with Clawstrophobia and Clostrophobia.

How do you say the thing on top of the house. roo + f or rhymes with wolf and hoof?
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
How do you say the thing on top of the house. roo + f or rhymes with wolf and hoof?
Neither? (Oh oh, we probably pronounce that word differently too!)

For me (West Coast Canadian - and I've never heard a Canadian pronounce out as oot. Never.) roof is like the roo in kangaroo with an f at the end, or like "Oof. I fell down." with an R at the beginning.

Meanwhile "wolf" has an l in it. Like a sheep's wool with an f. Wulf.

And hoof doesn't quite have the longer oo sound. I can't think of a way to spell it. Closer to huf but not quite huff, if you get what I mean. Anyway doesn't quite rhyme with roof. Although it would if you were from Washington State. (Though I've heard them pronounce that Warshington. Not all of them, though.)
 



Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Neither? (Oh oh, we probably pronounce that word differently too!)

For me (West Coast Canadian - and I've never heard a Canadian pronounce out as oot. Never.) roof is like the roo in kangaroo with an f at the end, or like "Oof. I fell down." with an R at the beginning.

Meanwhile "wolf" has an l in it. Like a sheep's wool with an f. Wulf.

And hoof doesn't quite have the longer oo sound. I can't think of a way to spell it. Closer to huf but not quite huff, if you get what I mean. Anyway doesn't quite rhyme with roof. Although it would if you were from Washington State. (Though I've heard them pronounce that Warshington. Not all of them, though.)

The L in wolf is silent for me I think. I want to say I pronounce roof, wolf, and hoof to rhyme with the way I'd say neuf and boeuf. But my French pronunciation is probably really bad (and slow) for the few words I remember.

[And the "woof" sound of a dog. My son also pronounces the singular of wolves like I do, but my wife gets the L in wolf and pronounced roof like you do.]
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
The L in wolf is silent for me I think. I want to say I pronounce roof, wolf, and hoof to rhyme with the way I'd say neuf and boeuf. But my French pronunciation is probably really bad (and slow) for the few words I remember.

[And the "woof" sound of a dog. My son also pronounces the singular of wolves like I do, but my wife gets the L in wolf and pronounced roof like you do.]
Woof is the same as hoof but not the same as roof. For me. Neuf and boeuf would be completely different. (Though I wouldn't say my French is very good either. I may be Canadian, but I speak Japanese nearly as well as I do French, which is not great.)

On the original subject... I definitely put an oar in Centaur. Cent-oar. Like rowing fifty boats. Minotaur is the same but definitely min and not mine. If any of that makes sense.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
18 years in northern Illinois followed by 10 in central (before 23 down here in South Carolina) and those all seem like what I have. I might be 50-50 with Clawstrophobia and Clostrophobia.

How do you say the thing on top of the house. roo + f or rhymes with wolf and hoof?
Roof rhymes with Goof. Hoof…depends. Sometimes it rhymes with roof, but others it’s more of a “huhhf”…”hoof” with a shorter “o” sound.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
They don't—but since the sound they actually pronounce isn't in your phonemic repertoire, and /u/ is the closest thing you have, that's what it sounds like to you.
The Canadians I know sound more like “aboat“ except when theyr exaggerating their accents. I have heard “aboot” from some northerners from the USA, though. Minnesotans, as I recall.
 


Argyle King

Legend
🤷‍♂️

To me, "au" sounds different than "a."

How I would read "centar" (used in the original post) is not how I would say centaur. I don't say centaur the same way I would say dinosaur either.

I think I say it something more like the 'au' in "taurus." It's not a long-a, nor is it a short-a. It's a little like a slightly stretched short-a, but spoken more from the back of the throat.

Thinking about it, I guess what I'm doing with my lips is similar to the sound at the end of "dinosaur," but the sound is coming from my throat and tongue differently.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
How 'bout Pennsyltucky?

I can’t link to it directly (f-bombs droped), but there’s the amusing “Baltimore accent test” on Youtube (originating on Reddit, apparently) in which several people try to say “Aaron earned an iron urn” with mixed degrees of success.

And there are several videos about Scots trying to use vocal commands to do things like operate elevators (skit) and car SatNav systems (RW video).

If you go from one end of the American south to the other, you’ll hear about 5 distinct pronunciations of “praline”, some of which include consonant sounds for letters not found in the word.

My home city (NOLA) has some interesting takes on things as common as “sinks” (starting with a “z” sound) and mutilation of mythological names of the 9 greek muses (they’re used as street names). Interestingly, despite that, “Pheidippides“ is usually pronounced correctly because it was the name of a runner’s gear store.

Anothe good one to look for: back when Eyjafjallajökull was erupting, a travel segment crew went to Iceland to get educated on how to say it properly, since so many non-Icelandic speakers were struggling with it. One man broke it down very well, but then mocked others for having so much trouble getting it straight, The interviewer got him back by asking him to say “sausage”, which he failed to get that “edge” ending, instead frustratedly storming off camera saying it like “sausish”.
 
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niklinna

Looking for group
Anothe good one to look for: back when Eyjafjallajökull was erupting, a travel segment crew went to Iceland to get educated on how to say it properly, since so many non-Icelandic speakers were struggling with it. One man broke it down very well, but then mocked others for having so much trouble getting it straight, The interviewer got him back by asking him to say “sausage”, which he failed to get that “edge” ending, instead frustratedly storming off camera saying it like “sausish”.
I once won a contest with my French host parents when they asked me to say "grenouille" (frog) and I nailed it, and then I asked them to say "squirrel", and they couldn't do it without inserting vowels: They pronounced it as [ˈskwiːʀɛl] instead of [skwɻl] (IPA, my American pronunciation; Brits seem to pronounce it more like [ˈskwɪrəl]). Oh and then there's this bit of youtube silliness.

I'd rather have had a gift for vocabulary over pronunciation, to be honest.

Edit: More fun—here are some nice French people being asked to pronounce English words.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
One thing I’ve noticed in Central California is that while we turn some Ts into Ds, we don’t really drop any sounds or letters from words. I mean obviously it’s a crossroads region so things vary from SoCal to NorCal to East Texas just amongst locals who primarily speak English, never mind all the variants from the large Spanish speaking population (over half of Kern County speaks Spanish as thier first language), and the many decent sized Asian populations, and smaller but noticeable populations from everywhere else in the world.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
NE Indiana is in the boundary zone of settlement between "from Ohio River and points southeast" and "from New York / New England". I hear a lot of southern "warsh my clothes" but also hear a softened version of President Kennedy's "Pahk the cah in Havahd Yahd at nigh'" (Park the car in Harvard Yard at night) New England accent. I never have figured out why Cuba was "Koober" to him, though.

My father-in-law came from the coal mining territory of Kentucky and was proud of his "hillbilly accent". Out here on the flatlands, it made him distinctive.

P.S. That horse-man thingy from Greek mythology is a "sen-tar".
 


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