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Old 05-21-2009, 05:31 AM   #1
HarryT
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Seriously strange pronounciations (?)

In an American audiobook I'm currently listening to, I've come across two VERY odd (odd to me, at least) pronounciations:

1. The word "buoy" - ie a floating marker at sea - which the reader pronounced "boo-ee". In British English the word is pronounced the same as the word "boy".

2. The word "quay", which the reader pronounced "kway". Again, in British English it's pronounced "key".

Are these really the "normal" American English ways of saying these words? I've never come across this before.
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:37 AM   #2
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I've certainly heard "boo-ee" used in American TV shows (by several different characters). My daughter thought it was some new nautical term until I explained.

Quay has always been "key" to me - but I'm not American.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In an American audiobook I'm currently listening to, I've come across two VERY odd (odd to me, at least) pronounciations:

1. The word "buoy" - ie a floating marker at sea - which the reader pronounced "boo-ee". In British English the word is pronounced the same as the word "boy".

2. The word "quay", which the reader pronounced "kway". Again, in British English it's pronounced "key".

Are these really the "normal" American English ways of saying these words? I've never come across this before.
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:38 AM   #3
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I never knew that there was another way to pronounce them. So, yes, that is the way that we say the words (here in my area anyway).

It's always interesting to me when words are pronounced differently depending on culture and / or geographical area.
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:47 AM   #4
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Thank you - that's very useful to know. I thought that I was reasonably "well up" on American English, but these particular ways of saying words were new to me.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:08 AM   #5
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I never did believe that there was an "American" English. Words are pronounced differently in the various regions of the USA. Different dialects, I guess you could call them. I drive a car in California but, in some places on the East Coast, I would drive a "cahr". My mother's family was from the Midwest and said "wahsh" for wash. To me, it's kind of fun noticing the differing pronunciations. (I even have a lot of Spanglish in my speech)
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:48 AM   #6
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In my experience, buoy is often pronounced as "boo-eee" here, sometimes as "boy", but very often something in between the two. I don't recall ever hearing quay spoken (and am embarrassed to say I had no idea until now how it should be pronounced ).
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:57 AM   #7
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That's how I've pronounced them as well.


Yeaaaah boooeeee!

Sorry, couldn't help it.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreams View Post
I never knew that there was another way to pronounce them. So, yes, that is the way that we say the words (here in my area anyway).
Same here in the northeast. Although in the phrase "breeches buoy" I've heard it pronounced "boo-oy".
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:13 AM   #9
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Don't forget that it's not just pronunciation diiferences, there are also differences in spelling between American and British English, e.g. color/colour, favor/favour (which have no pronunciation differences) and aluminum/aluminium (which does also change the pronunciation).

I think that there are some very real differences. I remember reading somewhere that one day British and American English would be so different that people from the two countries would no longer be able to converse comfortably. However, I think that that prediction was made in a time prior to the communication age we live in nowadays - I doubt it could happen now.
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:37 AM   #10
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Since I live at New Westminster Quay, in what is referred to now as Greater Vancouver, it is somewhat annoying to hear the word "Quay" pronounced as "Kway". We are fairly close to the American boarder but there are Canadians who pronounce it this way also, possibly those who grew up on the vast expanse of land between the Atlantic and Pacific and who never used the word.

My American dictionary says it should be pronounced as [kee].

Buoy is pronounced either way, and often a variant between the two like "bowie".
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:42 AM   #11
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WDE, you and your imaginary Canadian dialect always crack me up!

It's boo-ee
It's kway
It's zee (WDE has some strange imaginary zed thing, I think he needs speech therapy or something)

I love ol' WeirdDialectEnunciator, no matter how bad his pronounciation may be!
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:56 AM   #12
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I have pronounced buoy as "booie" and as "boy", depending on who I am with. My seriously nautical friends call it a "boy". I have always pronounced quay as "kway" .... however, I know that, for example, the city of Torquay is "Torkee" not "Torkway."

You also need to remember regional pronunciations, which can really scramble your brain. For example, here, the name Buchanan, is pronounced "Buck cannon" .... and the name Pedernales is pronounced "Per din al les."

My own accent is very non-regional, so there is no mistaking me for an outsider in this area. Half the time the locals can barely understand me (and vice versa). Words like "tow" are pronounced "tao" instead of "toh" ... the list just goes on and on.

I was shopping for skulls yesterday, and could not get anyone around here to understand the word skull as I say it. I ended up calling it "the bony part of the head ... you know, when all the flesh is gone?" Then, I'd get "Oh, thuh skuh!"

The composer, Verdi? His name is pronounced "Birdee" here .... I could sit here and note the weirdness until my fingerprints were worn right off.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
however, I know that, for example, the city of Torquay is "Torkee" not "Torkway.
Place names are great. Near (ish) to where I live there are:

Costessey (Kos-si)
Wymondham (Wind-dum) (short i)
Happisburgh (Haize-bruh)

Even the locals can't agree on Norwich. People in Norwich say Narr-ich. People around Norwich say Noh-ridge.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Place names are great. Near (ish) to where I live there are:

Costessey (Kos-si)
Wymondham (Wind-dum) (short i)
Happisburgh (Haize-bruh)

Even the locals can't agree on Norwich. People in Norwich say Narr-ich. People around Norwich say Noh-ridge.
isn't worcestershire pronounced something like "wooster" ? (and people complain about all the extra letters you don't actually pronounce in french words ! )
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:10 PM   #15
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RM, you are not allowed to say "shopping for skulls yesterday" without any other details. Make with the story, lady!
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