Forteh: UK pronunciation

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 8 21:30:51 UTC 2009

For "forte" goes with "fort" ~fort as the primary pronununciation.  For secondary pronunciation, it's FOR-tay ~fortae, which has stress on the first syllable.  I've always known it as for-TAY ~forttae from my neck of the woods.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
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> Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 09:09:51 -0800
> From: laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
> Subject: Re: Forteh: UK pronunciation
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Laurence Horn
> Subject: Re: Forteh: UK pronunciation
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 11:32 AM +0000 1/8/09, Damien Hall wrote:
>>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.
> It might have been in threads discussing the "fortay" or "for-tay"
> pronunciation (vs. "fort"). I'm not sure I'd have used "forteh",
> which looks as though it should end with an open /E/ sound. It's
> really a question of bisyllabicity vs. mono-. I grew up mostly
> hearing "fortay" and at some point I consciously switched to "fort"
> once I realized it was a French loan and not an Italian, Spanish, or
> Latin one. I hear both in the U.S., but usually the bisyllabic
> version.
> LH
> P.S. I tend not to pronounce it at all unless I'm reading someone
> else's prose, because it's not quite a homonym with "fort", having
> more of a pronounced final -t, while the one in the defensive (or, in
> this season, snow) building is unreleased.
>>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 -
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