I didn't know American's pronounced it like that!

So I just downloaded the Straight Dope podcast and was really shocked (well okay, mildly surprised) to hear the reader pronounce Cecil’s name as SEE-SILL where as I would say CESS-SILL.

It was a bit like how I never connected Graham (GREY-AM) crackers I read about in books to GRAM crackers I heard about in movies. While I’m at it I think the way roof is said, like RUFF, is weird. I don’t know if this changes in different areas of the states but it sounds like a noise a dog would make. :smiley:

Very few people say roof as “ruff”. I think I’ve caught my dad a couple of times, but then he’s also likely to pronounce “route” as “rutt”.

As for names, we also say “ber-NARD” instead of “BER-nard”. There are a few others like that.

Don’t ever go to Brooklyn. You won’t understand a single word they say :smiley:

So this guy has a vaudeville act, Waldo and his talking dog. Waldo gets up on stage, and says to the dog, “Fido, how does sandpaper feel?” and the dog says “rough”. Then Waldo says “What’s on top of the house, Fido?” and the dog says “roof”. The crowd is getting pretty surly by this time, and when Waldo asks “Who’s the best ballplayer of all time?” and Fido says “ruth”, they grab them both and chuck them out of the theatre, and into the alley.

Waldo lies there, shocked and dismayed, and the dog walks over and says “Maybe I should have said Willy Mays.”

My ex-fiancée was living in Tennessee (before we were engaged). She said that if I came out to visit (from L.A.), nobody would be able to understand me.

Minnesotans can’t say pillow. They can say pallow, pullow, or pellow, but not pillow. :slight_smile:

Which pronunciation I use for “Cecil” depends on context: when referring to the Perfect Master or a sea-sick sea-serpent, I use SEE-SILL; when referring to a South African colonialist, I use CESS-SILL.

I do say GREY-AM, but then I pronounce “diamond” with three syllables, which in my experience is a tad unusual.

I don’t recall ever hearing RUFF for a building cover — and I say that as someone who lived for years in Montana, where butchery of the language is an art form (for example, my French-Canadian grandmother’s birth name was Beausoleil, which in parts of Montana is pronounced “Bushley”).


There are actually studies about stuff like this. I would check the amazing Atlas of North American English to see exactly how wide-spread this is.

Any dog that could actually say “Ruth” would have my admiration.

To the OP: I know it’s off-topic, but unnecessary apostrophes drive me absolutely insane. It should be “I didn’t know Americans pronounced it like that.” An apostrophe before the final letter “s” in a word indicates a possessive, as in, “belonging to the American” (the American’s luggage.) I can’t stand seeing signs that say stuff like “All employee’s must wash hands” or, most recently, “WE SUPPORT THE COLT’S” on my local Kroger supermarket door.

The only Cecil that Americans pronounce “Cess-ill” was Cecil B. de Mille. All others are SEE-sill. And some people.

And most people pronounce “roof” to rhyme with “proof,” though a small minority rhyme it with “hoof.”

And “graham” should have two syllables.

It is best delivered verbally.

In America, Evelyn EV-uh-lin is a woman’s name. In Britain, when you pronounce it EEV-lin, it’s a man’s name.

There’s a lot of regional dialects on this side of the pond. People outside the South talk funny…and way too fast. :smiley:

that’s prolly 'cause the british man is wearing evelyn’s dress…! :stuck_out_tongue:

Oy vey, a limey goy in Bensonhoist? Fuggeddaboutit.

But ‘roof’, ‘proof’, and ‘hoof’ all rhyme! Same vowel as ‘food’, ‘nude’ and ‘dude’… at least where I am… how do you pronounce them?

The vowel sound in “hoof” is, here at least, pronounced like the u in “push”. It doesn’t quite sound the same as “huff” but it’s closer to that than to “proof”.

I agree that “roof” and “proof” rhyme.

I can’t pronounce ‘bag’ the way Jeff Probst does on Survivor. The word seems to come up a lot in challenges and every time he says it, I try to say it like him, but it comes out sounding like ‘be-ag’ or something. I physically can’t say it. The way I say it is it rhymes with hag.

You know what’s weird? People who pronounce “leg” with an “a” sound as in “lay.” Laaaayyg. I never could figure out where that accent comes from.

There was a character on The Sopranos who held for ransom a prosthetic laaaaayyg belonging to a Russian prostitute. Sounded really out-of-place for someone who was supposed to be from New Jersey.

Except when it’s a woman, such as agony auntie Evelyn Home (going back forty years here, admittedly).