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  1. #1
    Tomasz Klimkiewicz is offline Senior Member
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    Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    Dear Experts,

    An on-line dictionary I frequently use gives the pronunciation of the word 'carbine' as [ka:bain], in both BrE and AmE versions. However in a number of war movies I could clearly hear the word being pronounced as [ka:bin] or [ka:bi:n].

    Which pronunciation is correct then?

    Thank you very much in advance,
    Tomasz

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    I'd use the dictionary pronunciation. (BrE speaker)

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    Both. I expect the long vowel is more common today, but speakers of extreme RP use the shorter one. In films about 19th century wars, I'd exzpect the shorter one (I bet they said /'ka:bɪn/ in Zulu.)

    b

  4. #4
    Tomasz Klimkiewicz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    Your replies, gentlemen, are truly appreciated. I thought that using the on-line Dictionary & Encyclopaedia pronunciation I couldn't go wrong, but it's good to know that both versions have their place in practical English usage.

  5. #5
    raindoctor is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    MW listsboth /ɪi/ and/aɪ/. The latter pronunciation reflects how the Middle English long vowel /i:/ shifted to /aɪ/, thanks to the great vowel shift. That's why you see two pronunciations for many words: for example, route.

    Then note the history of carbine, which came from French. Many French words like machine, police, etc, don't have two pronunciations. If you are in Army, where they use this word, just pick up that pronunciation. Otherwise, just predict the pronunciation and use any of these two.

  6. #6
    Tomasz Klimkiewicz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    Thank you, raindoctor, for a valuable, informative reply.

  7. #7
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    I think the final vowel should be /aj/.

  8. #8
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    Then note the history of carbine, which came from French. Many French words like "machine", "police", etc, don't have two pronunciations. If you are in the Army, where they use this word, just pick up that pronunciation. Otherwise, just predict the pronunciation and use any either of these two.
    If you choose one of two pronunciations given in the dictionary, then you are hardly 'predicting' anything.

  9. #9
    raindoctor is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If you choose one of two pronunciations given in the dictionary, then you are hardly 'predicting' anything.

    I am not coming with a deterministic algorithm, but a set of heuristics. You can believe in your hypothesis: insert a smart card dictionary in that brain OR open a dictionary (check with a native speaker, tutor)!

    There is a thriving field called Loanword phonology, which refutes naive hypotheses out there. I am not here to convince you, anyway. You can believe whatever you want. What I have done is providing epistemtic warrants to those who are obsessed with acquiring any accent. That's all.

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Pronunciation of 'carbine'

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    I am not coming with a deterministic algorithm, but a set of heuristics. You can believe in your hypothesis: insert a smart card dictionary in that brain OR open a dictionary
    I haven't suggested any hypothesis. I was merely commenting on your use of the word 'predict'.
    (check with a native speaker, tutor)!
    I frequently do check with other native speakers of BrE and AmE.
    What I have done is providinge epistemtic warrants to those who are obsessed with acquiring any accent.
    Well, I may be a native speaker, but I do not really understand what you mean by that.
    Last edited by 5jj; 26-Apr-2012 at 18:30.

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