Iran - Iraq (Pronunciation)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Rallino, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Rallino Moderatoúrkos


    I have searched the forums, but I couldn't find information about the pronunciation of the names of the two countries Iran and Iraq.

    Should I pronunce them EYE-ran and EYE-rack or EE-ran and EE-rack?

    I think I have heard them both ways, but I am not sure.

    Thank you!
  2. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    The first is common to American expression. I can't help adding that I find it a little objectionable. The second is common to other Englishes, and more attuned to my ear at least. I would also alter the EE-rack a little to, Y-raak.
  3. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Sadly, this is true.

    A few years ago, CNN, the American television news network, ran a spot with a well-known reporter emphasizing ih-RAHN and ih-RAHK, but it did no good.
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Those are the normal pronunciations here.
    From the OED:

    The "eye" versions mark someone as an AE-speaker (for me). I don't recall hearing the "ee" versions.
  5. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    I conclude, then, that /ɪˈrɑːn/ and /ɪˈrɑːk/ are more correct. Thank you very much Shawnee, sdGraham and Panjandrum!
  6. -mack-

    -mack- Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    American English
    I just want to clarify the stress on the more common American pronunciations... it's eye-RAN and eye-RACK. Both syllables are pretty heavily stressed, but the second one is stressed most.

    However, you do sometimes hear i-RAHN and i-RAHK. The i is pronounced as it is in the word it. I think that these pronunciations are sometimes regarded as more "educated" than the other two (I am not stating an opinion here. I honestly have no problem with either.) I personally pronounce them i-RAHN and i-RAHK. I don't think either pronunciation would be perceived as strange in the United States, but i-RAHN/i-RAHK is probably the safer option in my opinion.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  7. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    It's not just Aussies! This Yank, a native speaker of AE, finds EYE-ran and EYE-rak objectionable too.
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    In BE, you might sometimes hear eye-TAL-ian ('Italian') too, similarly considered less 'educated', but not eye-RANN or eye-RACK.

    I would hesitate to say that the AH versions are more 'correct'. English speakers have a right to decide how they will pronounce names in their language.
  9. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    By AH versions, do you mean "rAHn" over "ran"?
  10. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, ah as in father as opposed to a as in fan.

    In BE, I think it's more of a north-south thing, with some northerners saying ih-RAN and ih-RACK rather than ih-RAHN and ih-RAHK.
  11. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    I understand. I was concerned more about the pronunciation of the first syllables, actually. Since, as far as I understand, the various pronunciations of the second syllable (-rahn vs -ran) only shows if the speaker is local or not. I believe that it's rather the first syllable which determines whether the pronunciation is correct. Still, thanks for the input! :)
  12. Nawee Senior Member

    <<Nawee's question has been added to an existing discussion on the subject>>


    What is the pronunciation of Iraq? Is it /i-rak/ (as in "it") or /ie-rak/ (as in "ice")? I quite confidently said the first one. But lately I have heard the second one used over and over again, usually by Americans. (We don't get many British programmes or series in my area.) Now I'm not so sure. Is it a case of British English VS American English?

    Thank you.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2015
  13. JordyBro Senior Member

    English - Australia
    ih-rak, eye-rak and ee-rak are all acceptable. I believe eye-rak is popular with Americans.

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