[Ads-l] "Niger" or "Niger"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Oct 19 14:42:15 UTC 2017

> On Oct 19, 2017, at 10:06 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> In my day, people said "NYE-jer." Nowadays, except for a courageous
> journalist in the Rose Garden recently, they're all saying "Nee-ZHAIR."
> Sounds so much  more sophisticated, _non_?
> When was the big switch? The Random House College Dictionary of 1982 gives
> only "NYE-jer."  I first heard Nee-ZHAIR" in the early '80s.
> JL

Over the years, I’ve mostly heard Nee-ZHAIR (with varying attempts to reproduce a uvular [r]) in the not all that frequent mentions of the country I can remember.  I assumed preserving the French stress pattern and the always popular /Z/ were partly used to distinguish it from its much larger and more frequently cited neighbor Nigeria.  I see AHD5 gives Jon’s pronunciation and mine in that order.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list