Further pronunciation discoveries

The recently discovered research on pronunciation continues to impact my life. Not only can I now settle ‘scone’ debates with actual statistics on the two forms, but I can test its findings with countless friends. I’m sure this is proving amusing, isn’t everyone interested in linguistics?

Last Saturday I was engaging in my second afternoon tea in three days, this time in Bristol and with a couple of old school friends. While eating scones we inevitably had that conversation (they had read the research too, so it was a well informed chat) and moved on to some of the other words included in the research – like garage.

The thing is, I couldn’t tell you how I say garage because usually, whenever I start thinking about it, I get confused. So I can’t say for sure if I’m a weak vowel, strong vowel, or final syllable stress [I figured that was an easier way of explaining than using phonetics, check the article – paragraph 3.1.2 – if you’re not sure]. However, later in the meal, the truth was to be revealed…

I was talking about a forthcoming wedding at which the bride’s brother is DJing – she’s apparently warned him not to play too much dubstep as not all the guests will be as into it as he is. Now, I’m by no means a massive dubstep fan and love weddings for the amount of cheese that gets played, but I do like the odd bit of dubstep, as do my tea companions. [Incidentally, if you’re looking for some interesting, accessible dubstep listen to Monday night’s Dubstep Symphony with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra.] But my comment “really, garage music does nothing for me” drew hoots of laughter.

Apparently, if one uses the ‘weak vowel’ pronunciation (garaaaaage) when referring to the music genre, one comes across as a bit of a posh twit.

So I now know what my natural pronunciation is and I also know how to avoid looking like an idiot when talking about popular music. My life is certainly richer for it.

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