Sawyer pronunciation

There’s a show on TV now mentioning people who saw – sawyers. The narrator pronounces it SOY-er. I’d always thought it was pronounced SAW-yer, rhyming with ‘lawyer’.

So I looked it up on Merriam-Webster and listened to the pronunciation. M-W has the SOY-er pronunciation. For ‘lawyer’ they have both LAW-yer and LOY-er, respectively. has a pronunciation (on their audio link) that sounds like something in between SAW-yer and SOY-er.

Is SAW-yer an acceptable pronunciation? If not, why not?

Actually, lists two pronunciations for sawyer:
\ˈsȯ-yər, ˈsȯi-ər\

Cutting and pasting those characters didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped, but the first syllable is the same as “saw” and “soy” respectively.

You’re right. :smack: I was going by the audios.

I’m a transplant up here in New York (albeit not one of recent vintage).

I get teased a lot for my southern-inflected pronunciation of “lawyer”. Up here they say loy-er, so I guess that rhymes with soy-er.

I did say that they made fun of me, right? In their attempts to mock my pronunciation, they say “low yurr”. That’s not how my own pronunciation sounds to me, the “aw” diphthong being more of a moving target than the syllable “low” suggests.

I’ve been involved in logging and lumberjack competitions for years here in the northeast and it’s always been pronounced SOY-ers.

SOY-er/LOY-er here. Never heard anything else.


The antipodes Dogs have it.

Well, since he’s a Southern character, it’s SAW-yer.

What about Huckleberry Finn?
I’ve heard “Huhckelbehrry Phinn”
And “Huwlkerbearie Feen”

Southern? Kid’s from Missouri! Border State!

(Geddy Lee also says “SOY-yer”)

He also says “Bytor And The Snowdog”.

Never mind.

Same here.

I’ve heard SOY-er/LOY-er, but only from northern transplants. That pronunciation makes no sense to me.

Of course, this is English we’re talking about, so all pronunciation bets are off.

On a side note, I remember a thread a couple of years ago where people discussed the pronunciation of “caught.” It turns out that some people pronounce it identically with “cot.” This blew my mind.


I’ve always said law-yer and saw-yer (even though evil Dad despised lawyers.) A similar occupational surname, Bowyer, (guy who makes bows, I guess) is always Boy-er.

LAW-yer, SAW-yer.

My best friend growing up had parents from Chicago. She said LOY-yer, SOY-yer.

Drove me nuts. As I always asked her - do LOYyers practice LOY? No, they do not. QED, I’m right.


The branch of my family named Sawyer prefers Saw-yer. I spoke to one of my relatives from that branch this weekend.

Apparently it is not uncommon for people to say Soyer, and I even heard a story about Soyer’s soybeans and childhood teasing.

But according to them, it is Saw-yer.