I pronounce it brit-an-ee, as is fairly common.
However, I've noticed that some public-school-educated people I know pronounce it brit-nee, which sounds chavy but I have never dared ask why that is ok.
If I said brit-nee I woul feel like I weren't talkin' proper.
I think the shorter form is more North American, where the glottal stop is more common (it's the primary pronunciation in most American pronunciation). So there's nothing incorrect about that.
My own, admittedly limited, experience of AmE speakers suggests to me that many AmE speakers are actually more 'careful' in their pronunciation of words as they are written than many BrE speakers, and that the glottal stop is less common than in BrE. I'd be interested to see what others thinks about this.
To me, this is not a glottal stop phenomenon, but our tendency to simplify and elude unstressed schwa vowels, particularly in medial position. That's why George W. Bush so often called his country "Mer-kuh"
Shouldn't a glottal stop pronunciation have three syllables? I agree with konungursvia.
In your example, dubya not only dropped the medial vowel, but, as he often did, the initial one.
I know the risks in talking of 'educated speakers' but let's try to put that aside for the moment. In your opinion:
1. How many syllables are there in 'Brittany' for an educated speaker in normal conversation in North American English?
2. For such speakers, how is the 'tt' realised?
3. Do 'uneducated' (pardon the expression) speakers pronounce the word in the same way?
3) no, they say britni (cockney/mancunian (me) etc)
But if they have 'decided' to speak properly then I believe they say brit-an-ee and hos-spit-al and therefore stand out as trying too hard.
I've also noticed that Tony Blair and Millibands all have silent t's - coincidence?
To clarify, my neighbour and a good friend are 'posh' i.e. they went to fee paying schools so I associated their pronunciation with this fact - it may be unrelated , tho I don't think so.
Perhaps my phonetics should have described their Brittany as brit-n-ee rather than brit-nee, but it’s a close call.
Even so, I feel self conscious saying brit-an-ee as this marks me out as a working class person trying too hard to speak proper.
Another example of this would be hospital: hos-spit-al (the way I was brought up to say it) rather than the hospi-l (which is what my posh friend would say and I’m sure the bbc say, i.e. with a silent t)
So do I use a silent/reduced t sound or not!!!!!!!!????????????
Thanks very much for the replies, very interesting stuff.
Last edited by pippa0; 25-May-2011 at 12:38. Reason: read the posts