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  1. #11
    Curt Jugg is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Jugg View Post
    I suspect this is mainly an American/British thing. Oxford Dictionaries Online give only /ɛt/

    definition of ate from Oxford Dictionaries Online
    Actually, what I said is not strictly correct; you can click on "US English" and get the alternative pronunciation (though not in IPA for some reason).

  2. #12
    Prus is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    Even when the Americans do pronounce ate short, they typically use a different monophthong than the British. The British typically use epsilon; the Americans e, in which the tongue is a bit closer to the hard palate and more tense, creating greater vocal tract constriction. As John Algeo states in British or American English? A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns:

    eat/ate/eaten : The British preterit is typically /εt/, the American /et/. In American, /εt/ is nonstandard.

  3. #13
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    The LPD says that/et/ ( the dress vowel) is preferred by 55% of native speakers, /eɪt/ (the face vowel) by 45%. The trend is definitely towards the latter vowel. Only some 28% of older speakers use it, but some 65 % of younger ones do. LPD notes, "In AmE [...] /et/ is considered substandard".

    The EPD simply lists /et/ before /eɪt/, indicating that the former is more widely used, for BrE. It gives only /et/ for AmE.

  4. #14
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    I only ever pronounce "ate" as "eight" and, as far as I am concerned, that is the correct pronunciation. However, pronouncing it as "ett" is very common in the UK.

    "I ate it yesterday" can sound like "I ett it yesterday".

    Some people also mistakenly use it instead of "eaten". Instead of saying "How many have you eaten?" or "How many did you eat?", you might hear "How many have you ett?"

    Without wishing to sound like a snob, I associate this pronunciation with lower-class or less-educated people. That only goes for my own region of the UK. I have no idea if it's an acceptable pronunciation somewhere else in the UK.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #15
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    Quote Originally Posted by Prus View Post
    Even when the Americans do pronounce ate short, they typically use a different monophthong than the British. The British typically use epsilon; the Americans e, in which the tongue is a bit closer to the hard palate and more tense, creating greater vocal tract constriction. As John Algeo states in British or American English? A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns:
    eat/ate/eaten : The British preterit is typically /εt/, the American /et/. In American, /εt/ is nonstandard.
    We don't use the IPA in that way in English, though I recognize what you're saying from Continental books. Here, /e/ is used for both 'head' and 'tÍte'.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Without wishing to sound like a snob, I associate this pronunciation with lower-class or less-educated people. That only goes for my own region of the UK. I have no idea if it's an acceptable pronunciation somewhere else in the UK.
    It's actually the standard pronunciation given by the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries.

    I didn't know that 'ett' even existed.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    I recall that when I was a very young schoolboy my teacher denounced "et" as incorrect, just as he did "ain't". And in the 60 or so years since then, I have never once heard anybody say "et." That's how rare it is in AmE.

  8. #18
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad View Post
    It's actually the standard pronunciation given by the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries.

    I didn't know that 'ett' even existed.
    I'm confused by your post. What is the standard pronunciation given by the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries? My post which you quoted referred to "ett" so it sounds like that is the pronunciation you are referring to.

    For clarification, "ett" is the pronunciation I associate with lower-class/less educated/common people.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  9. #19
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  10. #20
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    Default Re: How do you pronounce 'ate'

    Well, two of the leading pronunciation dictionaries, LPD and EPD, give the pet/bet pronunciation as the more common in BrE. In the LPD, Wells says that 55% of speakers of BrE use this pronunciation, while 45% prefer eight. It's interesting to note that his graphs shows only about 28% of older users preferring eight, but 68% of younger users. He says that in AmE, the pet version is considered to be substandard.
    Last edited by 5jj; 05-May-2013 at 23:13. Reason: typo

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