figure (pronunciation)

Phoebe1200

Senior Member
Russian-Russia
Hello.

I would like to know how Americans pronounce the word "figure".

Do you always pronounce it with the sound [j] as in /ˈfɪɡjər/?
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    There is no one, single way that Americans pronounce anything. Which Americans do you have in mind? Where are they from, and how much education do they have? Do they have rhotic or non-rhotic accents?
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    I think the [j] sound gets 'thrown in' naturally because of the R. With a non-rothic accent, it's easier to say "figga", but with a rhotic accent, the word becomes "fig-yer" naturally because of the movements of the mouth. I would be curious to know how a Scottish speaker would pronounce it. Would it be "fig-yer" or "figger"?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    To hear pronunciations on line, go to our dictionary page for the word:

    figure - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    At the top, next to the word, is a group of audio clips in English from different countries. Play the US one: it is standard AE and it matches my own pronunciation.

    It is clearly '"fig-yure", not "fig-yer" or "fig-er". Both the 'y' and the long 'u' sound are present.

    The same set of clips show UK and others pronouncing it "fig-er".
     

    PeterPT

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Portugal
    So, the question is:
    Where did you hear it with that "j" sound?
     
    Last edited:

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    To hear pronunciations on line, go to our dictionary page for the word:

    figure - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    At the top, next to the word, is a group of audio clips in English from different countries. Play the US one: it is standard AE and it matches my own pronunciation.

    It is clearly '"fig-yure", not "fig-yer" or "fig-er". Both the 'y' and the long 'u' sound are present.

    The same set of clips show UK and others pronouncing it "fig-er".
    I can't get the audio clip to play, but as I said above, I pronounce it /ˈfɪɡjər/ - not even the slightest hint of a u.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I hear it around me all the time. I'm not quite sure I understand the question. Do you mean "which parts of the US typically pronounce it with that 'j'?"

    I pronounce it like "figyer", not "figyure". It would take a great deal of work for me to make that "yu" sound there because it's an unstressed syllable.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    If you ever need to know the pronunciation of any word in any language you can always look it up on Forvo, I really recommend it. Apparently all Americans say figure with a /j/.
    I don't, and never have. It's "figger" for me. I have that 'j' in very few words -- "tune" is toon for me, not tyoon; "duke" is dook, not dyook.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I think I hear the /j/ there too. There is certainly variation in Scottish accents.
     

    Highland Thing

    Senior Member
    English, Welsh
    I don't, and never have. It's "figger" for me. I have that 'j' in very few words -- "tune" is toon for me, not tyoon; "duke" is dook, not dyook.
    When Huckleberry Finn narrates Mark Twain's 1870s stories about his friend Tom Sawyer, he talks about 'figgers', an unambiguous indication of the Missouri pronunciation of the time.
     
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