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"A" vs. "An" question

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by expo86, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. JJH

    JJH Well-Known Member

    Squibble, we need an expert in language acquisition in young children. Few people reason out grammatical construction and how to pronounce words in their primary language. We just speak according to the rubric that our brains acquired from infancy through childhood. Put the palm of your hand about an inch in front of your mouth and say the word spill and then the word pill. You probably don't aspirate the p in spill, but you do aspirate the p in pill. Neither word in spelled with an h. When I say the word hysterical, I don't aspirate the h, but when I say the word hysterectomy, I do aspirate the h. GarrAarghHrumph is right. It would take a regional linguist to explain why.
  2. slicekw

    slicekw #ICanFixYourComputerButICan'tFixIceNetworkFreezes

    grew up in NJ and I learned (and say) the same thing. On NPR news last week, they said "a historical event" and I was weirded out.
  3. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Is this a northeastern thing? For "Joel" to be one syllable?

    Now you've got me saying this aloud. I think it is more like "Jo-uhl", but the second syllable is very very short and well connected to the first. It's like the second syllable is slurred into the first. But in Ireland, they said it more like "Joe-elle", the woman's name. Very pronounced second syllable.
  4. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

    I was going to say that I'd never heard his surname pronounced Jo-elle before but I think i would always say it more the second way you describe like Jo-uhl with the syllable-and-a-half (!) pronunciation.

    I think with names though you should always take your cue from how that person says their own name, so i find it strange when people put their own emphasis on someone else's name. How does Billy Joel say his name?