Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Ahmen here (England, UK). "Ray", "say" and "play" rhyme. "Raw" and "caw" rhyme. 'Ah' doesn't rhyme with either of those groups. "Ah" is a simple long 'a', as in the RP version of 'bath'. "Raw" and "caw" rhyme with 'roar' and 'bore' as pronounced with a non-rhotic accent, or the first syllable in 'awful' or 'awe-inspiring'.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    AMEN!

    Do you pronounce the first syllable to rhyme with "ray" and "say" and "play", or to rhyme with "ah" and "raw" and "caw" -- or something else? (or do my triplets not even rhyme with each other in your dialect/accent?)
    In my accent "ray" and "say" and "play" rhyme, and "raw" and "caw" rhyme with each other (and with “or”) but not with “ah” - which rhymes with the vowel sound in “bath”, “calf”, and “carve”. (In “calf” and “carve” the consonant immediately after the “a” is unsounded, it simply modifies the way the “a” is pronounced.)
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited August 28
    BroJames wrote: »
    In my accent "ray" and "say" and "play" rhyme, and "raw" and "caw" rhyme with each other (and with “or”) but not with “ah” - which rhymes with the vowel sound in “bath”, “calf”, and “carve”. (In “calf” and “carve” the consonant immediately after the “a” is unsounded, it simply modifies the way the “a” is pronounced.)
    In RP, the the consonant immediately after the “a” is unsounded, but in the local accent round here, the 'r' is and the 'l' quite often is. It's pronounced from the back of the throat, and not with the tongue.
  • Surely 'Murricans pronounce "awe" and "awe-inspiring" as R and R-inspiring? In other words, they don't rhyme with bore and roar, at least for a Brit.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited August 28
    Surely 'Murricans pronounce "awe" and "awe-inspiring" as R and R-inspiring? In other words, they don't rhyme with bore and roar, at least for a Brit.

    Awe doesn't rhyme with R (ah) either though. Or are we saying it does for Americans? I'd never noticed. But then I'd also never noticed that my pronunciation of "one" to rhyme with "on" was unusual.
  • "Awe" rhymes with "law" and "jaw".
  • mousethief, how does an orthodox bride enter the church?
  • how does an orthodox bride enter the church?

    Very late, in a monstrous dress with everything* on it/ in it, and to the sound of loud sobbing from her mother and most female relatives over 40. (No, I'm not the thieving rodent, but this was my experience when my cousin married a Greek girl in Greece.)

    * ruffles, lace, beading/ applied pearls, tulle, bows, appliqued bits of lace, embroidered flowers - you name it. Bride stood barely 5 foot tall, the dress spread to 3 feet at the hem and had a 15 foot train (so 12 feet on the floor)

  • (so 12 feet on the floor)
    You make her sound like a centipede - or, at least, a duodecapede.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited August 28
    Ah-men. Long "a", as in "bath". No "r", as in "carve" (which does have an "r", because I'm Scottish). :mrgreen:
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited August 28
    Surely 'Murricans pronounce "awe" and "awe-inspiring" as R and R-inspiring? In other words, they don't rhyme with bore and roar, at least for a Brit.

    Not on the west coast. America is a big place and we have clear distinctions between regions, even if the vast majority of the middle north of the country have very similar accents. Especially different are rhotics. In Boston you drive a cah (completely non-rhotic) whereas my mother warshes clothes in Warshington (rural PNW rhotic "a" but it doesn't extend to awe). I'm trying to think where in the US someone would pronounce "awe" as R. Maybe somewhere in NYC?
    mousethief, how does an orthodox bride enter the church?

    She walks through the door. The service starts at the back of the nave. But I've never been at a Protestant wedding where the bride enters the church in a particular way. It starts with her at the back of the nave, and she processes down the center aisle (if she's old fashioned, holding her father's arm), to the front where her fiancé and the clergyperson stand watching her.
    (so 12 feet on the floor)
    You make her sound like a centipede - or, at least, a duodecapede.

    I am going to try to use that word this week.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    Just a thought. In New Zealand, is 'Amen' pronounced 'Armin'?
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    We do not pronounce "awe" as "r" in New York!
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited August 28
    NicoleMR wrote: »
    We do not pronounce "awe" as "r" in New York!

    So, does anybody in the US? (This addressed not just to you but to all US shippies)
  • mousethief wrote: »
    AMEN!

    Do you pronounce the first syllable to rhyme with "ray" and "say" and "play", or to rhyme with "ah" and "raw" and "caw" -- or something else? (or do my triplets not even rhyme with each other in your dialect/accent?)

    OK.

    Ray, say, and play all rhyme with each other.

    I say the first syllable of amen as ah, which does not rhyme with either raw or caw, but does rhyme with bar and car, and the first syllable of father.
  • You say "bah" for bar? Totally non-rhotic? Just making sure I understand. Where you from?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    You say "bah" for bar? Totally non-rhotic? Just making sure I understand. Where you from?

    Yes, and my accent and I grew up in the south of England.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    You say "bah" for bar? Totally non-rhotic? Just making sure I understand. Where you from?

    Yes, and my accent and I grew up in the south of England.
    Likewise - both for pronunciation and for geography.
  • Maybe pronunciation is so variable within a country that comparing across the pond is pointless.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    You’re probably right. It’s also worth noting that communities often have unique phonological characteristics, as do families often,
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited August 28
    I've lived in the US for the past 15 or so years, and it's probably those non-rhotic trailing 'r's that have most often caused people to ask me to repeat myself.

    And that's quite enough of my trailing arse for now.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Enoch wrote: »
    Ahmen here (England, UK). "Ray", "say" and "play" rhyme. "Raw" and "caw" rhyme. 'Ah' doesn't rhyme with either of those groups. "Ah" is a simple long 'a', as in the RP version of 'bath'. "Raw" and "caw" rhyme with 'roar' and 'bore' as pronounced with a non-rhotic accent, or the first syllable in 'awful' or 'awe-inspiring'.
    I have never understood how anyone came up with "ay-men." Given that it's "omein" in Hebrew and "amen" in Latin, turning the initial a into a long vowel must have required a peculiarly determined brand of illiteracy. And nowadays even Roman Catholics use the long a. What is WRONG with these people? (she asked rhetorically)

  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited August 29
    I think it might have to do with the single consonant/e combo that follows the initial a. If you are wholly ignorant of the language the word comes from and apply default English spelling rules, the vowel before such a combo is normally long, nb: "long" here is used in the sense I was taught in elementary school, which makes a long a an "ay" sound.
  • arrhythmic. aorta. able. acre. alien. Gee, I can't imagine why someone would pronounce the first syllable in Amen with a long A.
  • Arab Christians say "Ar-meen".
  • Similar in Russian I think.

    Meanwhile, being too idle to scroll all the way back, has Sir Palomides's question about 'eye' and 'symmetry' rhyming in Blake's 'Tyger' been answered?

    If not then go to the Black Country - and specifically Dudley - a town to the west of Birmingham (UK) and you'll find them rhyming. They'd also sound something like 'oiye' and 'symme-troye'.

    Dud-loiy.

    Or rather 'Doodloiye.'

    I've heard it suggested that 'eye' and 'symmetry' would have sounded closer when Blake was writing but I'm not convinced they would have been an exact rhyme even then.
  • How do they pronounce "eye" north of Hadrian's Wall?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Maybe pronunciation is so variable within a country that comparing across the pond is pointless.

    Far from it. I'm interested to hear about regional variations across the US and comparisons between US and UK pronunciations inevitably raises the issue of regional variations within speech in each country.

    Yes, the US is a huge country one would expect variations for that reason. Yet it still strikes me how - other than broad differences such as between the seaboards and north and south - the variations are less pronounced than might be found over relatively short distances here in the UK.

    US friends have been staggered at the variations they've found over what are to them miniscule distances here.

    I'm told that variations in accents and dialects are even more pronounced in central and eastern and southern Europe. Some Greek islanders are almost incomprehensible to fellow islanders who live just 5 miles away on the other side of their rocky outcrop. They rarely see or interact with them because their town or village is almost inaccessible by land. So they will see more of people 20 miles away on another island than people who share the same chunk of rock.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I think part of the trouble with Amen, is we're also discussing sounds that are different in different dialects. In 'English' English, there is a short 'a' as in 'cat'. There's then the long 'a' as in the non-rhotic pronunciations of words like 'car' and 'bar. It's a single sound, and is the usual way here of pronouncing the 'A' in 'Amen'. However, it's not actually a long version of the short'a' in 'cat'. That sound doesn't exist in RP but is found in some English dialects. In rhotic dialects of 'English' English the vowel is usually the same as in the non-rhotic vowel in 'car' etc. but is sometimes the longer short 'a' I've mentioned. Then there's what @Lamb Chopped has called a 'long a' which is the sound in 'ray', 'say', and 'play'. It's a diphthong, as represented by the 'ay' in those words. It's the version of 'a' though that's usually found in words that are spelt 'a . e', where the '.' represents a consonant, e.g. 'plate', 'bane', 'place' etc.. That's the sound we hear in the US pronunciation 'Aymen'.

    However, it's possible all those sounds are linguistically different in different parts of the Anglophone world.

    The only people who say 'Aymen' here are people who really admire US megachurch preachers and want you to think they're like one. It sometimes comes coupled with 'Aymen brother' or 'Aymen sister'.

    Now, an extra question. Do people sing 'Aymen', either in hymns or when it occurs in choral works? Or do they revert to a single sound?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    How do they pronounce "eye" north of Hadrian's Wall?

    A Scot will correct me but generally the same as most of us south of the border. There will be regional variations of course, as there are elsewhere in the UK.

    Some Scots may pronounce it 'ee'.

    What you have, of course, are broad regional variations with further variations within that.

    So, in Wales for instance, you'll have a generally discernible South Wales accent which subdivides into around 6 variations that largely follow an east/west (or west/east gradation) with some north/south gradations from the towns and cities - Newport, Cardiff, Swansea - and the Valleys that run down towards them.

    In Scotland there're Border accents - divided on an east / west gradation and different accents in and between Glasgow and Edinburgh and the Central Belt. Then there are Highland and Lowland differences and between the Western Isles and the mainland and between North West Scotland and the North East and between Orkney and Shetland and ...

    In England you've broadly got South East, South West, West Midlands, East Midlands, North West, North East subdivisions with gradations within each.
  • And social class is a strong factor within each ...
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited August 29
    Enoch wrote: »
    Do people sing 'Aymen', either in hymns or when it occurs in choral works? Or do they revert to a single sound?
    Depends on the choirmaster/mistress, the important thing is that all do it the same!

  • Enoch wrote: »

    Now, an extra question. Do people sing 'Aymen', either in hymns or when it occurs in choral works? Or do they revert to a single sound?

    I would think that in Choral works, or when sung at the end of a hymn, it would be Ahhh-men,
    in "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty the King of Creation" there is a line
    "let the Amen sound from his people again" and I would sing Ahh-men,
    but in more modern worship songs, where we're used to hearing people with Transatlantic accents singing them (even if they come from UK or Australia) it would be "Ay-men"
    eg "All your promises are Yes and A-men"... (like the A-Team)

    And from my experience, most of us Scots would pronounce eye and Aye the same. I guess if people were talking in Scots or other dialect, the bodily organ for seeing would be an ee, the plural of which is een
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    I lead an Open the Book team for a rural Primary School in Somerset. At the end of each assembly there is a short prayer and the children are told they can make it their own, if they want to, by repeating amen (us adults all pronounce it ah-men). There is always a resounding ARR-men, which always makes us smile, but is a bit puzzling as the children are from varied geographical regions, both in the UK and abroad, and though, historically, the ‘arr’ sound is very Somerset, their everyday accents are hugely varied.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    Ahmen here (England, UK). "Ray", "say" and "play" rhyme. "Raw" and "caw" rhyme. 'Ah' doesn't rhyme with either of those groups. "Ah" is a simple long 'a', as in the RP version of 'bath'. "Raw" and "caw" rhyme with 'roar' and 'bore' as pronounced with a non-rhotic accent, or the first syllable in 'awful' or 'awe-inspiring'.
    I have never understood how anyone came up with "ay-men." Given that it's "omein" in Hebrew and "amen" in Latin, turning the initial a into a long vowel must have required a peculiarly determined brand of illiteracy. And nowadays even Roman Catholics use the long a. What is WRONG with these people? (she asked rhetorically)

    Inderd; the "ay" sound is technically a diphthong rather than a simple long vowel. It's probably the Great Vowel Shift which turned a long 'a' (the ah sound) into the diphthong in modern English make, mate etc. It's actually slightly anomalous that it didn't always affect Amen.
  • I was told it developed among new readers (if you see what I mean) who, having learned the alphabet saw a capital A and pronounced it as for the commencement of the alphabet, adding the "men" after.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Arab Christians say "Ar-meen".

    Wait just a rhotic minute. Do they really say "Ar-meen" or is that what you expect to hear?

    I have heard the pronunciation of Amen in Hebrew, and in Orthodox liturgy, as "Ah-meen." I suppose (possibly incorrectly) that it would be pronounced similarly by Arab Christians.

    Is it the case that someone with a variably rhotic accent would expect there to be an "r" in the pronunciation, and therefore hear one? Or was it said by British-English Arab Christians?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Inderd; the "ay" sound is technically a diphthong rather than a simple long vowel. It's probably the Great Vowel Shift which turned a long 'a' (the ah sound) into the diphthong in modern English make, mate etc. It's actually slightly anomalous that it didn't always affect Amen.

    Surely for most of the time the great vowel shift was happening, amen would have been used mostly in a Latin context and not an English one?
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    ELCA Hymnals do not have "Amen" at the end of hymns.

    The most pronounced variation in American Dialects I have come across is in rural Mississippi. The first time I was down there I could not understand the locals. Took me three years to fully understand them.

  • awe-men, with stress on the first syllable.
    ray, say, play, away, day, may all rhyme, amen does not. Eh? also rhymes.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    awe-men, with stress on the first syllable.
    ray, say, play, away, day, may all rhyme, amen does not. Eh? also rhymes.

    Awemen? Not Ahmen? They're not the same.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Leaf wrote: »
    Arab Christians say "Ar-meen".

    Wait just a rhotic minute. Do they really say "Ar-meen" or is that what you expect to hear?

    I have heard the pronunciation of Amen in Hebrew, and in Orthodox liturgy, as "Ah-meen." I suppose (possibly incorrectly) that it would be pronounced similarly by Arab Christians.

    Is it the case that someone with a variably rhotic accent would expect there to be an "r" in the pronunciation, and therefore hear one? Or was it said by British-English Arab Christians?

    To many Brits, ar- and ah are pronounced the same. The r changes the.pronunciation of the a but is itself silent.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    edited August 29
    Similar in Russian I think....

    It's "amin" (pronounced "ah-meen") in Russian. (It comes up from time to time in the operas of Mussorgsky.)

    Someone else mentioned Hebrew. When I sang in a synagogue choir, it was always "omein" - "o-mayn."




  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Enoch wrote: »
    Do people sing 'Aymen', either in hymns or when it occurs in choral works? Or do they revert to a single sound?
    Depends on the choirmaster/mistress, the important thing is that all do it the same!

    I have never heard nor sung "aymen" in a choral work. I've never been in a church that does it for hymns, but mileages are likely to vary there.


  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Similar in Russian I think....

    It's "amin" (pronounced "ah-meen") in Russian. (It comes up from time to time in the operas of Mussorgsky.)

    In our Greek church, we sing "ahmen" to conclude a prayer/hymn in English, and "ahmeen" to conclude a prayer/hymn in Greek.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    Similar in Russian I think....

    It's "amin" (pronounced "ah-meen") in Russian. (It comes up from time to time in the operas of Mussorgsky.)

    In our Greek church, we sing "ahmen" to conclude a prayer/hymn in English, and "ahmeen" to conclude a prayer/hymn in Greek.

    Presumably it's an eta in the Greek? That'd be rendered as an e in Latin but merged with iota (and for that matter upsilon) during the mediaeval period. I understand that liturgical Greek is pronounced with modern letter values (qv ecclesiastical Latin and Italian letter values)
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Yes. It’s an eta in Greek.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    Yes. It’s an eta in Greek.

    So would have been a long e in Latin. So Ahmen and Aymen are both wrong and Ahmehn would be better ;)
  • Yes the Greeks pronounce the liturgical Greek as if it were modern Greek, so all the mu's and eta's become the "ee" sound (seen, green, spleen). One might guess that this pronunciation already existed when the services were translated into Slavonic, as the vowel in Slavonic is the "ee" vowel (looks like a backward N) and not the "eh" vowel (tricker since there are two depending on whether or not it's meant to be preceded by a consonantal "y"). (Alternately the value of the "ee" vowel might have changed since then just the way it changed in Greek.)
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    awe-men, with stress on the first syllable.
    ray, say, play, away, day, may all rhyme, amen does not. Eh? also rhymes.

    Awemen? Not Ahmen? They're not the same.

    They're not?
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