mercy [pronunciation]

< Previous | Next >

stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Have you ever heard some native speakers pronounce mercy as "mwercy"? In other words, they might insert a /w/ sound between /m/ and the vowel.

Thank you very much.
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I've never heard it. The vowel itself might be different (especially for Scottish and Irish accents), but no /w/.
     

    Riyan

    Senior Member
    Pashto
    Hi,

    Have you ever heard some native speakers pronounce mercy as "mwercy"? In other words, they might insert a /w/ sound between /m/ and the vowel.
    No, I haven't. But I have heard it pronounced [mɜɹʷsi]* with a labialised r.

    So it's possible you heard it 'mwercy'.

    *Can't transcribe the exact pronunciation but it's very close to what I've heard.
     

    DEHER

    Senior Member
    You're right Riyan, it should be :

    ˈmɜː(r)si

    with th "r" sound between brackets since the consonant sound is optional.

    It is often somewhat tricky to translate sounds into written speech...

    :oops:
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Perhaps in a Brooklyn accent, where "De liddle boids is on der wing"* they might say "Moisy"??? I wouldn't say that nobody could ever utter it, but I'm certainly not recommending it to Stephenlearner.

    (* No dat's absoid, the liddle wings is on de boid.)
     

    Riyan

    Senior Member
    Pashto
    Perhaps in a Brooklyn accent, where "De liddle boids is on der wing"* they might say "Moisy"??? I wouldn't say that nobody could ever utter it, but I'm certainly not recommending it to Stephenlearner.

    (* No dat's absoid, the liddle wings is on de boid.)
    Noice input. Also possible in some New Yowk and Boston accents.
     

    Riyan

    Senior Member
    Pashto
    You're right Riyan, it should be :

    ˈmɜː(r)si

    with th "r" sound between brackets since the consonant sound is optional.

    It is often somewhat tricky to translate sounds into written speech...
    No, not /ˈmɜː(r)si/ in Standard British English. The parenthetical r is usually written at the end of words that end with r.

    Examples: Bar -> /bɑ: (r)/
    water -> /wɔ:tə(r)/ etc. And this parenthetical r means pronounce the r if the next word starts with a vowel (Linking R).

    So for example, the transcription of water is /'wɔ:tə(r)/ but that of 'water is' is /wɔ:tərɪz/ because of the following vowel.
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    No, not /ˈmɜː(r)si/ in Standard British English. The parenthetical r is usually written at the end of words that end with r.
    The r is written where the r is pronounced by people who pronounce all the r's. The r is in the middle of mercy not at the end. It's not mesyr.
     

    Riyan

    Senior Member
    Pashto
    The r is written where the r is pronounced by people who pronounce all the r's. The r is in the middle of mercy not at the end. It's not mesyr.
    I've never said it was at the end. My post#12 is about words that end with r (general info).

    The r is not written before consonants in British English.

    So in BE: mercy is written as /mɜ:si/ not /mɜrsi/ or /mɜ(r)si/.
     

    Riyan

    Senior Member
    Pashto
    There are some BE speakers who have rhotic accents and that is acknowledged in the WRF dictionary entry
    UK:*/ˈmɜːrsi/US:/ˈmɝsi/ ,(mûrsē)
    Yes. My bad, I didn't mention that I was talking about 'Southern Standard British English'.
    (We generally talk about 'Southern Standard British English' and 'General American English'. :D)
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Sorry for not being more specific in my OP. Actually, I have listened to the audio clips on several online dictionary websites. British speakers never insert a [w] sound. Some US speakers pronounce a clear / mɜːr /, but I can hear some other speakers insert a [w] sound in between. The [w] is not very obvious, but I think it's there in their accent. Please listen to the two speakers pronounce the word "mercy", if you can open the links.

    1. No /w/ in mercy: 百度安全验证* (Listen to the US version, the second one)

    2. A /w/ in mercy: Mercy - Definition for English-Language Learners from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

    (If I listen to the Merriam-Webster's version alone, I would think there is no /w/ sound. But if I compare it with the first speaker, I feel there is a /w/ in the Merriam-Webster's version.)

    * This is a Chinese website. The link turned out to be Chinese characters.
     
    Last edited:

    TheMahiMahi

    Senior Member
    English - United States

    Riyan

    Senior Member
    Pashto
    Sorry for not being more specific in my OP. Actually, I have listened to the audio clips on several online dictionary websites. British speakers never insert a [w] sound. Some US speakers pronounce a clear / mɜːr /, but I can hear some other speakers insert a [w] sound in between. The [w] is not very obvious, but I think it's there in their accent. Please listen to the two speakers pronounce the word "mercy", if you can open the links.

    1. No /w/ in mercy: 百度安全验证* (Listen to the US version, the second one)

    2. A /w/ in mercy: Mercy - Definition for English-Language Learners from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

    (If I listen to the Merriam-Webster's version alone, I would think there is no /w/ sound. But if I compare it with the first speaker, I feel there is a /w/ in the Merriam-Webster's version.)

    * This is a Chinese website. The link turned out to be Chinese characters.
    I thought you heard the labialised r but it isn't labialised, so no /w/. It's an r-coloured vowel [ɚ].
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    Have you ever heard some native speakers pronounce mercy as "mwercy"?
    No.
    Please listen to the two speakers pronounce the word "mercy"...
    1. No /w/ in mercy: 百度安全验证* (Listen to the US version, the second one)
    2. A /w/ in mercy: Mercy - Definition for English-Language Learners from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

    (If I listen to the Merriam-Webster's version alone, I would think there is no /w/ sound. But if I compare it with the first speaker, I feel there is a /w/ in the Merriam-Webster's version.)
    I came across an English pronunciation video clip (How to Pronounce LEARN, EARN, BURN, TURN, GIRL, PEARL, CURL | RL & RN English Pronunciation Lesson) in which the instructor says at 0:37, "To make this /ɚ/ vowel, your lips are going to be slightly tense and a little bit rounded." If you observe her mouth closely through the entire video, you would notice that her mouth is slightly rounded whenever she pronounces /ɚ/. In her case, rounding, also called labialization, actually occurs, even though it may not be acoustically discernible for most people. You heard a subtle difference between the two (Baidu's /ˈmɜːrsi/ vs. Merriam-Webster's /ˈmɚsi/), and so do I. I heard [ˈmə̯ɹ̩si] vs. [ˈmɚsi] (Note: [ə̯]: non-syllabic, like a glide; [ɹ̩]: syllabic, like a vowel; [ə̯] and [ɹ̩] are homorganic except that the former is non-rhotic while the latter is rhotic). To hear a more exaggerated difference, you may compare the /ər/ in this pronunciation of "administer" with the /ɚ/ in this pronunciation of "minister".
     

    Riyan

    Senior Member
    Pashto
    No.

    I came across an English pronunciation video clip (How to Pronounce LEARN, EARN, BURN, TURN, GIRL, PEARL, CURL | RL & RN English Pronunciation Lesson) in which the instructor says at 0:37, "To make this /ɚ/ vowel, your lips are going to be slightly tense and a little bit rounded." If you observe her mouth closely through the entire video, you would notice that her mouth is slightly rounded whenever she pronounces /ɚ/. In her case, rounding, also called labialization, actually occurs, even though it may not be acoustically discernible for most people. You heard a subtle difference between the two (Baidu's /ˈmɜːrsi/ vs. Merriam-Webster's /ˈmɚsi/), and so do I. I heard [ˈmə̯ɹ̩si] vs. [ˈmɚsi] (Note: [ə̯]: non-syllabic, like a glide; [ɹ̩]: syllabic, like a vowel; [ə̯] and [ɹ̩] are homorganic except that the former is non-rhotic while the latter is rhotic). To hear a more exaggerated difference, you may compare the /ər/ in this pronunciation of "administer" with the /ɚ/ in this pronunciation of "minister".
    I don't understand how you have a non-syllabic schwa and then a syllabic r. Aren't there two syllables in 'mercy'? If it's disyllabic, isn't the nucleus of the second syllable the vowel ? Why is the syllabic r necessary?
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    Aren't there two syllables in 'mercy'?
    Yes. mer + cy.
    If it's disyllabic, isn't the nucleus of the second syllable the vowel ?
    Yes. it is /-i/ (in /-si/).
    I don't understand how you have a non-syllabic schwa and then a syllabic r.
    The non-syllabic schwa behaves somewhat like a medial (glide, approximant, e.g., /-j-/ in /ˈbjuːti/ (beauty). The syllabic r serves as the nucleus of the first syllable (like /uː/ in /ˈbjuːti/). Basically, I am saying I heard a fleeting non-rhotic transition from the initial (/m-/) to the rhotic nucleus (/ɹ̩/).

    /ɹ̩/ is the same as /ɚ/ (e.g., 'bird' [bɹ̩d] = [bɚd], 'fur' [fɹ̩] = [fɚ], 'herd' [hɹ̩d] = [hɚd])(Note: I use /ɚ/ instead of /ɝ/ in this discussion because I think /ɚ/ reflects more accurately about its vowel height. Of course, if our discussion is about stressed syllable vs. unstressed syllable, then a distinction between /ɝ/ and /ɚ/ may be needed.)
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top