3.28.2008

pronunciation observation

My Canadian journey continues.

Through the Harper Government's attacks on Ontario, I have learned that I've been mispronouncing the word premier, the head of provincial governments, analogous to a governor in the US. I've been saying pruh-MEER, like the opening of a movie. Now I realize it's PREE-mere.

It's tough to say PREE-mere. I feel like Cletus. Does the PREE-mere put a decal on VEE-hickle?

18 comments:

redsock said...

While doing some errands yesterday, we passed a furniture store -- La-Z Boy -- and Laura wondered:

"Do Canadians pronounce that "Lay Zed Boy"?

Do they?

Ferdzy said...

Well for me, at least, it's la (comme la plume de ma tante, bien sur) zed boy. Of course, that's just deliberate crankiness on my part, and since I don't believe it's a topic that's ever come up, I don't know how other people pronounce it.

James said...

It's not even "PREE-mere", for that matter -- it's "PREE-myer". Not to be confused with a movie's "prum-YEHR". :)

You'll notice that there aren't many "EZ-Thing" type stores up here...

I tend to say "zee" or "zed" interchangeably, because I watched US Sesame Street before the advent of Canadian Sesame Street (which replaced the Spanish segments -- of which I remember cerrado and not much else -- with Canadian segments).

L-girl said...

It's not even "PREE-mere", for that matter -- it's "PREE-myer".

PREE-myer? Like my-er? Or the m and y are joined in a myuh sound?

Not to be confused with a movie's "prum-YEHR". :)

Geez, now I'm totally confused. English-speaking Canadians pronounce "movie premiere" how?

L-girl said...

Of course, that's just deliberate crankiness on my part

Because it's an American company?

David Toronto said...

I have always said PREE myer for the politician

I say PREM yair for the movie debut.

It's a long e in PREE and a short e in PREM.

Hope that helps.

L-girl said...

I have always said PREE myer for the politician

I say PREM yair for the movie debut.


Ah! I get it. Yes, it does help, thank you.

Jen said...

I was going to make the long vowel/short vowel observation that DavidToronto did, then I realized that it's the opposite of the long/short obs that I made in the original decal post...

I'm chalking this up to the difference in spelling between premier/ premiere. That pesky 'e' on the end changes everything and makes this one an exception to the noun = short, verb = long (loose) rule.

Notice that Quebeckers skip the whole problem by calling the premier the prime minister.

David Toronto said...

That's because premier in French is an adjective that only occasionally becomes a noun. The Gallic sensibility would be to ask "premier of what?".

Because he is the first minister of the cabinet, it makes sense that he is first minister--premier ministre.

Jen said...

Ah right. Thanks david.

James said...

PREE-myer? Like my-er? Or the m and y are joined in a myuh sound?

"Myuh" sound. The 'i' in the word gets pronounced, just a little.

I say PREM yair for the movie debut.

I use "prem YAIR", probably thanks to five years of French immersion.

David Toronto said...

James
"the m and y are joined in a myuh sound"?
------------

Actually it's closer to myuhr and it's all one syllable like the word film is only one syllable.

Separately, the phonics are the "m" sound with the closed mouth, the "y" sound from the word you, and the "ur" sound that
is found in the word fur.

Hope that clears things up.

FatLady said...

Good grief! I think I'll just say "McGuinty."

We recently made a purchase at La-Z Boy. I don't think they care how it's pronounced as long as it's spelled correctly on the check, er cheque.

L-girl said...

Hope that clears things up.

Nope! But we're not here to make things clear, just to have fun and discuss.

I don't think they care how it's pronounced as long as it's spelled correctly on the check, er cheque.

Well, yes. But my question stands. How do Canadians pronounce the name of the company?

M@ said...

I pronounce it Lazy Boy, as it's meant (by the company) to be pronounced.

However, inside, I think "Lay Zed Boy". And I think it in a mean kind of way.

L-girl said...

I think M@ has the final word on this controversy.

impudent strumpet said...

The second syllable of premier as in the leader of a province is the word "year", but de-stress it and then use only 75% of the stress you think is necessary. PREEM as in preemie, year as in year. PREEM-year.

I don't know why. I never thought about this before, but it makes no logical sense. The French is "premier ministre" (yes, just like the French for prime minister, and yes, that's an annoyance to translators everywhere) so you can't even get away with pronouncing it in French.

Wine-fuelled theory: the words premiere as in a movie and premier as in leader of a province evolved completely separately, as there was no movie industry in early Canada and early Hollywood didn't care that much about Canadian governance, plus there was only print media. I'll look it up in the OED on Monday.

L-girl said...

Hey, a good excuse to use our OED on CD-ROM, which I stupidly bought for Allan a few years back.

I like the theory.