Forteh: UK pronunciation

Damien Hall djh514 at YORK.AC.UK
Thu Jan 8 11:32:16 UTC 2009

Benjamin Barrett said:

'As has been discussed here before, the forteh pronunciation is apparently
considered standard by most Americans.'

I'm loath to rehash old discussions that are already in the archives, but I
can't remember this one, nor can I find it by searching the archives (I'm
sure it exists, but it's difficult to know what search-term to use; I used
'forteh' and only came up with the present discussion.

Anyway: this opinion about the standard pronunciation of _forte_ for
Americans would make sense given (what I consider as) the tendency of AmE
to nativise pronunciation of Romance loan-words much less than BrE does. I
have a certain amount of actual evidence that that's the tendency, too,
from an experiment I did on two-syllable words a while back.

So now it becomes clear what my point is: as a speaker of BrE (and now back
in England, too, at least for the time being), I pronounce this word
'fortay'. I can't remember hearing any other pronunciation from other BrE
speakers, either. I haven't seen 'The Duchess': does any of the
single-nationality British actors use the word and, if they do, how do they
pronounce it?


Damien Hall

University of York
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
York YO10 5DD

Tel. (office) 01904 432665
     (mobile) 0771 853 5634
Fax  01904 432673

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list