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The phonetics of furniture

Posted by GPP on November 04, 2003

In Reply to: Word Spy's phonetics - and grammar posted by Smokey Stover on November 04, 2003

: If Word Spy renders furniture with a schwa instead of a short i, then I will certainly steer clear of it. Perhaps I have occasionally heard "furniture" pronounced with a schwa for the middle syllable, but I have never been aware of hearing that pronunciation. On the other hand, I am keenly aware of hearing it with a short i, and have just assumed that everyone always pronounced it that way.

Well, Smokey, all of those 'real' dictionaries certainly agree with you. Maybe it's regional, but I've been hearing a schwa in that middle syllable all over the US, at least as often as a short 'i'. I tend to say it with a slumped short 'i', about halfway to being a schwa. Maybe the lexicographers just never asked anyone from Texas; but I'm still surprised they don't even offer that as an alternative. :-)

(I also pay close attention to vowels, because I've always had a hard time distinguishing consonants spoken by many people.)