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pronunciation: Ian

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Akasaka, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hello,
    How do you pronouce "Ian"? E-an or I -an? Hope you know what I mean.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    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.
     
  3. Waylink Senior Member

    English (British)
    Panjandrum said:
    >>> 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:

    Australian
    Lesbian
    Italian
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    More like the end of paean, Chaldean, plebeian.
     
  5. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Have you tried some pronunciation sites, such as inogolo?
     
  6. ><FISH'> Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    British English
    In BE it's almost always "E-un".
     
  7. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused: (I'm only allowed 8 emoticons ~ otherwise I would've put 48.)
     
  8. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I share your perplexity.
    I'd say IAN has the same vowel sounds as in "see them", with the stress on the first vowel.
     
  9. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    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
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  10. Waylink Senior Member

    English (British)

    Ewie, I was quoting Panjandrum.


    And then offering an alternative.
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  12. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    My two-pennyworth
    For me the vowels rhyme with he-man EDIT - Sorry, this was wrong, see note later.

    English spelling simply can't cope with phonetics. :(
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  13. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    My apologies, WL ~ I hadn't realized. It makes perfect sense now:):thumbsup:
     
  14. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    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 :D )
     
  15. 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."
     
  16. abenr

    abenr Senior Member

    Scottsdale, AZ, USA
    English, USA
    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.
     
  17. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    You should all see what this dictionary says :) :
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ian

    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/ :confused:
     
  18. Thomas Veil Senior Member

    English - USA
    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.
     
  19. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    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.

    P.S.
    My idea about "he man" was wrong
     
  20. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks everyone. I wonder how the author of 007, Ian Fleming pronounced his name.
     
  21. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    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 .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian
     
  22. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    Hungary
    British English
    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.
     

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