#1  
Old 07-06-2011, 11:14 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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English pronunciation of 'avoirdupois'

I've never heard this word pronounced in conversation, only read it. On those rare occasions when I did have the opportunity to say it, I would pronounce it more or less as the French would (a-VWAR-doo-PWAH). In the past year, I finally looked it up, and was somewhat surprised that, at least according to M-W, it's normally pronounced more in line with English conventions (A-vurr-du-POIZ).
  #2  
Old 07-06-2011, 11:32 AM
Purd Werfect Purd Werfect is offline
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I pronounce it a-vwar-de-pwah on the rare occasions I have reason to say it. Edited to say I better change the way I say it then. (plus I'm a crappy speller)

Last edited by Purd Werfect; 07-06-2011 at 11:34 AM.
  #3  
Old 07-06-2011, 11:33 AM
Ogre Ogre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
I've never heard this word pronounced in conversation, only read it. On those rare occasions when I did have the opportunity to say it, I would pronounce it more or less as the French would (a-VWAR-doo-PWAH). In the past year, I finally looked it up, and was somewhat surprised that, at least according to M-W, it's normally pronounced more in line with English conventions (A-vurr-du-POIZ).
Huh. Come to think of is, I have never actually heard it pronounced out loud. I have imagined it pronounced as sort of a hybrid of the two you posted (A-vurr-du-PWAH). I shall continue to think of it that way, because (A-vurr-du-POIZ) sounds fucking dumb, but I'm not enough of a language pedant to insist that it be pronounced 100% true to the French.

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Old 07-06-2011, 03:23 PM
Merneith Merneith is offline
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I've heard it spoken aloud using the French(-ish) pronunciation and have always pronounced that way in my head. I've never heard of an English pronunciation for it. Maybe Mr. Merriman & Mr. Webster need to get out more.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:25 PM
saje saje is offline
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I pronounce it a-VWAR-du-PWA, with just a hint of emphasis on the 2nd & 4th syllables.

Not that I have a chance to use it all tht often
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:36 PM
singular1 singular1 is offline
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This doesn't pass the stink test. I had three years of French and I don't remember ever hearing that pronunciation. The closest I've ever gotten is hearing Des Moines pronounced De Moynes here in the Seattle area, & most regions have some weird local pronunciations.

Last edited by singular1; 07-06-2011 at 03:36 PM.
  #7  
Old 07-06-2011, 04:24 PM
FatBaldGuy FatBaldGuy is offline
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I've never pronounced it out loud either, but for some strange reason, in my head it always comes out like "aver-DUE-per-us". I know that's not even close, but I think that's the way I interpreted it as a kid, and it still seems to stick.
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:48 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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i pronounce it the 'U.S. customary weight system'
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Old 07-06-2011, 05:17 PM
Barrett Bonden Barrett Bonden is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saje View Post
I pronounce it a-VWAR-du-PWA, with just a hint of emphasis on the 2nd & 4th syllables.

Not that I have a chance to use it all tht often
I pronounce it the same, as it must rhyme with "tra la la la la" in the next line of the song (which is my only excuse to use it).
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:56 PM
kath94 kath94 is offline
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Holy cow! The American Heritage dic*tion*ar*y shows that og-awful pronunciation, too! I'm with Earl Snake-Hips Tucker on how I thought it was pronounced, and I'm just as shocked at the dictionary's explanation.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:20 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singular1 View Post
This doesn't pass the stink test. I had three years of French and I don't remember ever hearing that pronunciation. The closest I've ever gotten is hearing Des Moines pronounced De Moynes here in the Seattle area, & most regions have some weird local pronunciations.
But it's not a French word. It's an English word that came from French. So there's no reason to assume it's prounounced as it would be in French. I mean, the word "table" is exactly the same word in English and French, with the same meaning, but pronounced differently in the two languages.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:33 PM
Purd Werfect Purd Werfect is offline
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Fine. It's just averdoopus from now on.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:37 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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I always suspected it was probably pronounced avver-duh-poiz, but have never actually heard it said aloud, nor ever needed to speak it out aloud.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:54 PM
singular1 singular1 is offline
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Ah - stink test passed with fragrant flying colors, then.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:27 PM
amarone amarone is offline
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Both pronunciations seem to be out there. "French style", both.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:56 PM
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BigT BigT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
But it's not a French word. It's an English word that came from French. So there's no reason to assume it's prounounced as it would be in French. I mean, the word "table" is exactly the same word in English and French, with the same meaning, but pronounced differently in the two languages.
So? When a word comes in from another language, and is not in common use, we generally try to pronounce it as close to the original pronunciation as we can manage in our phonemes.

And, anyways, with all the mixed up rules of English, how do you know we don't also pronounce -ois as wah? What other words can you think of that end that way?
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:28 PM
gregorio gregorio is offline
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IDK, lbs, pounds, Farve, 454 g?
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:32 AM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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Yeah. The French is taking over a bit, but the traditional pronunciation is av-er-duh-poiz.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:05 AM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
So? When a word comes in from another language, and is not in common use, we generally try to pronounce it as close to the original pronunciation as we can manage in our phonemes.

And, anyways, with all the mixed up rules of English, how do you know we don't also pronounce -ois as wah? What other words can you think of that end that way?
That's what we do NOW when a word comes in from another language. But "avoirdupois" has been an English word since about 1300, and in that time the pronunciation of the word has deviated quite a bit from that of French. Like just about all words from French that came into English around then. There seems to be a misconception that this is a new borrowing from French. It isn't.

Last edited by suranyi; 07-07-2011 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:25 AM
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panache45 panache45 is offline
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Any pronunciation other than French just sounds stupid to me.
  #21  
Old 07-07-2011, 02:07 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
Any pronunciation other than French just sounds stupid to me.
I just don't understand this. Do you pronounce "Detroit" as the original French explorers did?

Last edited by suranyi; 07-07-2011 at 02:08 PM.
  #22  
Old 07-07-2011, 02:30 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Well, we do sometimes make an effort. I've never eaten horse dovers, for example.

Another example of a word of French origin that I pronounce more closely to it's original is "couchant," which occurs in the term "lion couchant." According to M-W, it should be pronounced pretty much the way it looks in English, with the first syllable being a synonym for "sofa."

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 07-07-2011 at 02:31 PM.
  #23  
Old 07-09-2011, 10:03 PM
Cub Mistress Cub Mistress is offline
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Well, I'll be damned. I've been pronouncing it wrong in my head all this time! I bet if I do use it out loud, someone will correct me. (*hypercorrect, really but whatever.*)
  #24  
Old 07-09-2011, 10:20 PM
Taomist Taomist is offline
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Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
Huh. Come to think of is, I have never actually heard it pronounced out loud. I have imagined it pronounced as sort of a hybrid of the two you posted (A-vurr-du-PWAH). I shall continue to think of it that way, because (A-vurr-du-POIZ) sounds fucking dumb, but I'm not enough of a language pedant to insist that it be pronounced 100% true to the French.

Exactly this.
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