Discussion in 'English Only' started by Akasaka, Dec 3, 2010.
How do you pronouce "Ian"? E-an or I -an? Hope you know what I mean.
Thanks in advance.
It's usually E-an, if I know what you mean
Rather like the end of gain, main, pain, rain, despite having the vowels the other way round.
>>> Rather like the end of gain, main, pain, rain, despite having the vowels the other way round. <<<
My view is:
Accents vary in different parts of the English-speaking world.
In standard British English [ Ian ] as in the author's name would be pronounced like [ee-n] - the first part is a "long" e and the second part a "short" n - and they are elided.
The pronunciation is similar to the last part of:
More like the end of paean, Chaldean, plebeian.
Have you tried some pronunciation sites, such as inogolo?
In BE it's almost always "E-un".
(I'm only allowed 8 emoticons ~ otherwise I would've put 48.)
I share your perplexity.
I'd say IAN has the same vowel sounds as in "see them", with the stress on the first vowel.
When I say ree-uhn (uh=schwa) I think I sound like a person* from N. Ireland saying rain. Thus Ian could soundlike rain in that accent.
* My mental exemplars being Ian Paisley and David Feherty
Ewie, I was quoting Panjandrum.
And then offering an alternative.
I mentally picked too small a subset of pronunciation variants.
It's the snow, you know, makes some of us more parochial than ever.
However, it was not just my own accent I had in mind.
I'll stick with E-an, my first attempt, rather than I-an - which I assumed that Akasaka meant to be something like Eye-an.
For me the vowels rhyme with he-man EDIT - Sorry, this was wrong, see note later.
English spelling simply can't cope with phonetics.
My apologies, WL ~ I hadn't realized. It makes perfect sense now
So the a is sounded as the a in man - not as a schwa (the a in about)? I don't think I've heard that before, on either side of the Atlantic (or Irish Sea for that matter )
In my experience, in AE, Ian is always "ee-n," with the second syllable being a schwa. This is exactly as Waylink described above, and exactly like BE, allowing for different accents.
I have never heard "ee-ann," with the second syllable sounding anything like "man," nor have I heard (and hope never to hear!) "eye-an."
In my neck of the American woods, it's always been pronounced EE-en, two full syllables. That, too, is how my English friend Ian pronounces his name.
You should all see what this dictionary says :
ee-uhn (so far so good) but then
ee-ahn - this is the "pee man" version, I gather
Then, strangely for me, they equate the ee-uhn version with /'iən/. My problem is that "ee" does not sound like short /i/
Adding more examples of what it "sounds like" seems to be muddying the waters. For me, "Australian" and "Italian" end with only one vowel: a short-i preceded by a yod.
Well here is my suggestion: Ian Fleming spent an enormous amount of time in the Caribbean.
Here is Caribbean pronounced in two ways on howjsay.com http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=caribbean&submit=Submit
I say that Ian rhymes with the first way of saying Caribbean.
My idea about "he man" was wrong
Thanks everyone. I wonder how the author of 007, Ian Fleming pronounced his name.
Wikipedia has an interesting article on the name Ian. It comes from Scottish Gaelic, so it has not undergone the Middle English vowel shifts: accordingly the I is pronounced like ee in see, not like i in line.
It is a variant of the name of various New Testament characters who in English are more commonly called John .
Only an aside, while I agree with you about the pronunciation of Ian, Fleming's having lived in the Caribbean isn't a very good link since Caribbeans pronounce it the second way and get quite cross when it's pronounced the English way (the 'imperialist' way!). Trinis do, anyway, so I suppose Jamaicans do too.
Separate names with a comma.