November 27th, 2005

Illustmaker me


Okay, so I was reading TWoP Buffy summaries last night, and the recapper took an opportunity in the "Some Assembly Required" one to complain about a character pronouncing the word "experiment" as "ex-PEER-uh-ment." Now, at first I thought that was the only way I'd ever said it (though of course, with WNY slurring, it would be "ex-spearmint," with the accent on the "r," kind of like green gum that's lost all of its flavor), but I realized I have both said and heard "ex-PAYR-uh-ment" as well. Curious, I decided to check the dictionary, and to my surprise, neither pronunciation is listed there. I double-checked how each of the other sounds is represented symbolically, and the "PEER" pronunciation is depicted as "pîr" (the sound in "experience," which is the same root as "experiment"), while the "PAYR" pronunciation (I looked up "pair" for reference) is depicted as "pâr." The pronunciation given for "experiment" is a short "e," the same sound as in "net" or "ten." (And for which there is apparently no alt-code, so I'll just spell it as "eh.")

I've discovered the first sound I can't seem to get around my accent. Try as I might, putting that "r" in there in anything like my normal accent always turns it into "pîr" or "pâr." I can get either of those two depending on how hard I'm thinking about it, though "pîr" comes out more often because of the "experience" connection, but I absolutely can't get "pehr" without pulling most of the "r" off, kind of "expeh-hruh-ment," which is more or less "doing an accent" for me. I feel like I'm studying some foreign language and trying to wrap my mouth around a non-native consonant! That Great Lakes "r" just pulls the "e" into a longer sound, one way or another, and I seem to either have the hard Great Lakes "r" or no "r" at all... slipping into down-east "gotta kwahtah?" r-less-ness.