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  1. #1
    Anne59 is offline Member
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    Default Words with two different transcription

    Can anyone please explain to me why some words have two different transcriptions. The word I've found is "room".

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Words with two different transcription

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne59 View Post
    Can anyone please explain to me why some words have two different transcriptions. The word I've found is "room".

    Thanks
    The only explanation I can suggest is that people use two different pronunciations, depending on stress. If you asked me the word for a cubicle in a house with one or more doors, and usually - but not always - one or more windows, I'd say /ru:m/. But in a compound where it's not stressed, like /'ba:θrʊm/ you use the shorter version.

    There's a certain amount of latitude; different speakers make the choice between the two variants differently. But both variants occur, and sometimes the choice may seem random. For example, there are two novels - A Room at the Top and A Room with a View, and the vowel lengths vary (it seems to me) to match the length of the vowel in the other word (a sort of long-range form of phonetic assimilation): /ʊ/ /ɒ/ in the first, and /u:/ /u:/ in the second [that's my idiolect; some speakers would probably balance the vowel lengths: /u:/ /ɒ/ and /ʊ/ /u:/ - so that each title has one short vowel and one long!]

    But there are no hard and fast rules that I know of - sorry , not very satisfactory, but there it is...

    b

    PS Seeing your provenance, I think I could have shortened my answer. In RSP I believe the vowel is usually something like /ʊ/ (but with rather more lip-rounding than we do South of the border) in both cases. This vowel is often transcribed in literary works as 'ui' - as in 'Guid grief mon'!
    Last edited by BobK; 20-Oct-2010 at 23:30. Reason: Added PS

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Words with two different transcription

    I'd just add that when I attended a would-be public school in the 1950s, my /ru:m/ was not considered refined enough. I was corrected so much that I still tend to say /rʊm/ today.

    Note for Americans: a public school in BrE is one of the more prestigious private schools

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Words with two different transcription

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I'd just add that when I attended a would-be public school in the 1950s, my /ru:m/ was not considered refined enough. I was corrected so much that I still tend to say /rʊm/ today.

    Note for Americans: a public school in BrE is one of the more prestigious private schools
    That rings a bell. I made the transition the other way, from a posh school to one where a posh accent didn't fit in; maybe that's why my pronunciation varies (as does many other people's - not being sure what to do about class-based accent choices).

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 27-Oct-2010 at 13:31. Reason: typo

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Words with two different transcription

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne59 View Post
    Can anyone please explain to me why some words have two different transcriptions. The word I've found is "room".

    Thanks
    Dictionary.com lists two different transcriptions:
    /rum, rʊm/

    For any word, the first transcription is always the most common pronunciation, and any transcription after it is/are accepted alternative pronunciations.

    Rachel
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    Need pronunciation help?
    Visit RachelsEnglish.com

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