Either and Neither pronunciation

TMR

New Member
Thai - Bangkok
Hello there,

I have got questions, specifically British English. I had a silly row with my friends after I heard my American teacher pronounced 'I-ther' and I asked my friend that why did the teacher pronounce 'I-ther' instead of 'EE-ther'. My friend told me that even the British pronounce 'I-ther' in case 'either one of sth', just only that, the rest they pronounce 'EE-ther', but I don't believe him.

So, I'd split the question into many parts and please help me to get through these tough questions.
- How do the British pronounce 'either' and 'neither'? (RP)
- How do the American pronounce 'either' and 'neither'? (GA)
- Is my friend right about the British pronounce either as 'I-ther' only in case 'either one of ...'? Or they just pronounce 'I-ther' for every sentence.

By the way, I have already read the <<WR>> thread 'Pronunciation: either, neither', but it doesn't answer my question so that I start a new thread here.

Thank you in advance.
 
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  • JordyBro

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    what you describe as the "I" and "ee" sounds are valid for both either and neither's first syllable. I hear the "I" sound used a lot in both these words by British youtubers I watch. There is no specific idiom or expression in which when one is used over another.
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your friend is wrong. There are two pronunciations in BE. Most of us use one or the other, but not both. I say /ˈaɪðə(r)/ (eyether). I don't think I've ever said /ˈiːðə(r)/ (eether).
     

    phydgyck

    New Member
    English - Canada
    In Canada (though it interests none but Canadians) either pronunciation is fine and many people use both. For example the 'either pronunciation' in the previous sentence I would say "Ee-ther" but I usually say "I-ther" for "... on either side."
     

    MateuszMoś

    Senior Member
    Hello,

    I had been through the same dilemma. Recently, I have been to the UK (Worcestershire) and I resolved to have this dilemma solved. I approached a group of Englishmen, wrote the word: "either" in my phone and asked them nicely to pronounce the word. Each of them (there were 4 persons) pronounced it this way: /ˈiːðə(r)/. I am convinced that the pronunciation of this word is largely dependent on both a person and a place. Personally, I am used to pronouncing it like this: /ˈiːðə(r)/ .
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I think the pronunciation varies not only from person to person but also at least at times on context. I, for example, tend to pronounce the long-I version of either and neither when I use one of those words at the very beginning of a sentence, but elsewhere in the sentence, I sometimes use the long-I version and sometimes the long-E version. There is no pattern to it as far as I can tell.
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    [....]

    By the way, I have already read the <<WR>> thread 'Pronunciation: either, neither', but it doesn't answer my question so that I start a new thread here.

    Thank you in advance.
    Will you please explain what part of your question the thread doesn't answer? Speakers of both varieties of English describe their pronunciation in that thread.

    Or are do you want people to comment on your friend's 'rule'?
    If that is your question, I think the question is answered both in that thread and this: There is no general rule.
     

    Şafak

    Senior Member
    I'm sorry for reviving a long dead thread (in fact, there're many similar ones. It might be reasonable to merge them all into one).

    I've been always saying "/ˈiðɚ/" and " /niðɚ/". Is it possible to say that this way of pronouncing the two puts me in a certain crowd (for example, only people in - let's say - Liverpool pronounce "either" and "neither" like this or only those who live in Midwest in the US do that)? Or it doesn't really vary that much from region to region, country to country and it's just a matter of personal choice?

    Thank you.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It wouldn't put you in any specific group in the U.S. I use both pronunciations for both words at times, but I tend to favor ee-ther, I think.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ...saying "/ˈiðɚ/" and " /niðɚ/". Is it possible to say that this way of pronouncing the two puts me in a certain crowd...?
    It will probably exclude you from the "I was born in Wolverhampton and still have the accent" crowd. Or not. I haven't been back there recently to check!

    But rest assured, if it doesn't divide between Britain and the USA (like the Gerschwin song* seemed to claim) then it is unlikely to have any other more local connotation.

    ____________________________________
    *let's call the whole thing off lyrics - Google Search
     
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