How is pho really pronounced?

Michael Newman michael.newman at QC.CUNY.EDU
Thu Oct 18 23:19:50 UTC 2012

The closest approximation in English to the Vietnamese I think is [ɜ]. Think of the bird vowel without the rhoticity, but not the classic though sadly moribund NYCE pronunciation usually phonetically respelled as oi as in boid. 

Michael Newman
Associate Professor of Linguistics
Queens College/CUNY
michael.newman at

On Oct 18, 2012, at 4:24 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Subject:      How is pho really pronounced?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Both Wiktionary and the OED give f + schwa for the pronunciation of "pho" (Wiktionary actually gives a turned "v"). That matches what I have learned from a Vietnamese acquaintance and from a Vietnamese restaurant menu in Reno.
> Because of what I've been taught, that's how I pronounce it, but that's not what I hear from Americans, which is "foh."
> Which pronunciation is actually used?
> Benjamin Barrett
> Seattle, WA
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