pronunciation: cadre

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natkretep

Moderato con anima (English Only)
English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
I was listening to Melinda Gates on a radio programme talk about a cadre, and I heard it pronounced KAH-dray (to rhyme with padre). I'd never heard this pronunciation before and had always heard KAH-duh before. A quick examination of the dictionary confirmed that the former was the AmE pronunciation and the latter the BrE version.

There is agreement in the dictionaries that the word came immediately from French, but it seemed as if in the US it has been pronounced as if it came from Spanish.

My question is whether this is correct (that AmE speakers consider it a Spanish borrowing of sorts).

And my secondary question is whether there is a clear divide between AmE and BrE pronunciations. Do readers here only pronounce it one way, depending on whether they are AmE or BrE speakers?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I've heard KAH-dray too, Nat, but only, I think, from AmE speakers. In BrE I believe it would always be KAH-duh (or in rhotic varieties KAH-dur).
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Once upon a time one of my colleagues insisted that we have a "cadre plan".
    No matter what that was, the pronunciation of "cadre" was fascinating to observe.

    Some put themselves into convulsions trying to sound French - something like KAD-ruh.
    Others said something rather as if they were pronouncing cadder - like madder only different.
    Nobody went for KAD-dray.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Nat,
    I'd never heard your pronunciation till I imagined it in my head while reading your post! I don't think I had heard or seen the word before I left the UK so I'm with Melinda's version, like Padre, the only one I've ever heard over here*. You are right that the first guess most US folks would have at a previously unseen foreign-looking word like this would probably be to use Spanish to guide them. For example, there is a famous high school here in sunny California called "De la salle", named after a Frenchman and yet it's pronounced "day luh sal"
    *Edit: the Spanish-influenced -ray is always there but I think I've also heard the cad version KAD-ray
     

    Adge

    Senior Member
    USA- English (Southern)
    I'm familiar with the word but I can't recall having ever heard it pronounced (or at least not enough times to remember a "standard" pronunciation). Before reading this thread my first guess would be a halfway French pronunciation like Cah-druh, with an English R and a schwa at the end. Goes to show that sometimes you have no idea.:eek:
    EDIT- but, I speak fluent Spanish and a really rusty version of what was once decent French, which probably influences my pronunciation-of-foreign-looking-words a good bit.;) That seems to be a detriment more than an asset though.
     
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    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    /Kah-dre/ or /Kah-dri/ maybe, I also want to know since when I was reading my translation material, I have to pause for a minute to try to read it.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Dearie me!! :eek: It's more complicated than what I thought. So there's variation in the first vowel as well as the second vowel.

    For example, there is a famous high school here in sunny California called "De la salle", named after a Frenchman and yet it's pronounced "day luh sal"
    JS: I know about John Baptiste de la Salle - he founded the Christian Brothers schools, and I attended one all those years ago! We always said, /də lɑ: ˈsɑ:l/. Well, at least the Californian version preserves the final silent <e>. ;)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I've never had occasion (or desire) to use the word, Nat ~ I wouldn't know what to do with it. But if you put a gun to my head I'd produce something like Adge > ['kædrə/] or ['kɑːdrə].
     

    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I had no idea that 'cadre' existed in English but would probably have fudged 'kadruh' if I had to.

    JS: I know about John Baptiste de la Salle - he founded the Christian Brothers schools, and I attended one all those years ago! We always said, /də lɑ: ˈsɑ:l/. Well, at least the Californian version preserves the final silent <e>. ;)
    It must have been a while ago, Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers, which was a distinct order from the De La Salle ;)
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I would go with the Frenchified ['kɑːdrə], but that's quite possibly because I have heard/used it in French but perhaps never in English (although not sure that vowel's quite on the nose for French). I had no idea people pronounced it without the r at all (or the Spanishy US version).
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I had no idea that 'cadre' existed in English but would probably have fudged 'kadruh' if I had to.
    You'd be approximating the French pronunciation, which is what the OED indicates /kadr/. Other British dictionaries, however, indicate /kɑ:də(r)/

    It must have been a while ago, Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers, which was a distinct order from the De La Salle ;)
    Ah, yes, Edmund Rice founded the Irish Christian Brothers, distinct from the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Some put themselves into convulsions trying to sound French - something like KAD-ruh
    That's the one I've heard and myself use (no cunvulsions or tribulation :) ) - the second part rhymes with genre - another extremely popular word :)

    I've heard KAD-dray, too, but it took me some time to figure out the meaning when I did.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    There is a great tendency by American English speakers who do not speak French to pronounce the le in French phrases used in English such as names exactly the same as they pronounce the French article les, that is, as the English word lay is pronounced: /leɪ/. So a restaurant, for example, named Le Bistro might be pronounced /leɪbi'stroʊ/. I think it comes from a difficulty in saying a schwa after /l/ and /r/, at least at the end of a word, which is why it may be relevant to the American pronunciation of cadre.

    On the other hand, if the British also have a tendency to use this pronunciation of le, my hypothesis is faulty.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Interesting, mplsray. So if I show AE speakers the name le Havre in France, I might hear lay hah-vray? :eek: I don't think there is any danger of a BE speaker saying this. ;)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Interesting, mplsray. So if I show AE speakers the name le Havre in France, I might hear lay hah-vray? :eek: I don't think there is any danger of a BE speaker saying this. ;)
    I haven't heard Le Havre pronounced that way, no. In that case, and in the case of the Louvre, it can be pronounced with /rə/, but also with the re left silent, which again points to some difficulty in pronouncing the schwa after r at the end of a word.

    Maybe the tendency is not as strong as I thought, but that it's a case of my noticing an odd pronunciation of a French word when I hear it, as when I hear coup de grâce pronounced without a final /s/. I'm sure that I have heard /leɪ/ for le many times, but the only example I can definitely point to is the pronunciation which Mel Blanc adopted for le in the Warner Brothers cartoons when he was voicing French characters, as in the case of a French cat who said "le purr, le meow," where /leɪ/ is used.

    Addition: I see that in this blog, the author lists the pronunciation of le as "lay" as a pet peeve.
     
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    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I've definitely heard 'lay' for 'le' amongst non-AE speakers, I think it's just ignorance of the correct pronunciation (and I say "ignorance" in a neutral sense) rather than any particular inability to pronounce the 'le' sound. Along with things like saying "sacré bleu" and "ooh là là" a lot, it also seems to be an ingrained feature of 'cod' French (doubtless influenced by Mel Blanc as you point out).
    Louvre, cadre, and Le Havre are a bit trickier pronunciation-wise of course. Coup de grâce I think results from an overgeneralisation of the "rule" that you don't pronounce the end of French words (obviously it's much more complicated than that), then it's just been repeated so many times that people just think that's the correct pronunciation whether or not they know the "rule" or not.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    This is a word I learnt strictly as an adult, and probably first in relation to the People's Liberation Army, so haven't internalized. These days I would use /kɑ:də/, but can see the appeal of /kɑ:drə/ too. In fact I have no fixed pronunciation of 'macabre' either, the other common word that presents this problem. (Le Havre can be given its French pronunciation only slightly anglicized - an English [r]; it's not an English word.)

    I always supposed the Warner Brothers hyena was saying 'les ha ha', plural.
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    In fact I have no fixed pronunciation of 'macabre' either, the other common word that presents this problem.

    I always supposed the Warner Brothers hyena was saying 'les ha ha', plural.
    'Genre' too - definitely a two-syllable word for me (as in -ruh, not -ray).

    Hyena? I think I was thinking of Pepe le Pew, the skunk (although I just watched a clip, and he seems to pronounce the le in his name more like la anyway). As an aside, I asked a French person about Pepe, and while he has a different name in French (I forget what), he's apparently still French, not a comedy smelly Englishman or whatever, I love it!
     
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    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I've definitely heard 'lay' for 'le' amongst non-AE speakers, I think it's just ignorance of the correct pronunciation (and I say "ignorance" in a neutral sense) rather than any particular inability to pronounce the 'le' sound.
    Is there any chance it comes from the Italian (fem. pl.) article 'le', pronounced 'lay'?
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Is there any chance it comes from the Italian (fem. pl.) article 'le', pronounced 'lay'?
    Yes, or Spanish, where it is an indirect object - and the Americans tend to know Spanish as a first foreign language while the British tend to know French first. In both Italian and Spanish, "le" is pronounced with a definite "e" sound. This would explain the difference.

    As for the first "a" of "cadre", I've also heard it pronounced "kay-duh" (or kayder in British phonetics). I don't like it, so I'm glad to find that it's not universal!

    Finally I wish we English-speakers could get away from pronouncing a final "e" in foreign words as a diphthong; it's the first thing that betrays us when we try to speak Italian or Spanish. The "le" is obtained by removing the "t" from "let", not from "late".
     

    Elle Paris

    Senior Member
    American English
    Dearie me!! :eek: It's more complicated than what I thought. So there's variation in the first vowel as well as the second vowel.



    JS: I know about John Baptiste de la Salle - he founded the Christian Brothers schools, and I attended one all those years ago! We always said, /də lɑ: ˈsɑ:l/. Well, at least the Californian version preserves the final silent <e>. ;)
    The thing with us here in California, is that we have so many Spanish speakers and so few French ones. We have a whole neighborhood with French street names and everyone, from the people who live and work there to the TV news anchors all pronounce the street names partly with the Spanish pronunciation rules. For example the "de" is always pronounced "day" and when I attempt to say the street name in French the way it is written, my pronunciation is invariably corrected. :-D
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I think yes, for AE the influence of Spanish or Italian accounts for it, but I have definitely come across NZE speakers who say "lay" for "le" and there's no particular influence of Spanish or Italian in New Zealand as far as I know. In fact, there was a French colony in New Zealand, but I don't think that made any difference other than to one tiny town!
     

    Jed-1

    New Member
    English
    I was educated in a prestigious English speaking school in the Caribbean where I was taught the "Queens's English"...lol... and I have have always known "cadre" to be pronounced 'KAY-DUH'. It is only within fairly recent times that I have been hearing the pronunciation 'CAD-DREY' as in PADRE among our local media personnel who choose the American version. But we all know that the Americans have bastardized the English language to make it simpler; they spell words to match their pronunciation, as 'nite' instead of 'night', and conversely, they pronounce words to match their spelling, as 'lewtenant instead of 'leftenant' for the word 'lieutenant'.
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    My dictionary show three different pronunciations; but in the Army, where the word is used with great frequency, as well as in normal American speech, I have never heard it pronounced other then KAD-ray (the "a" as in "man"). Mrs. Gates may have been being a bit pretentious or trying to say it as if in French, in which case she should have said KAH-druh.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I was educated in a prestigious English speaking school in the Caribbean where I was taught the "Queens's English"...lol... and I have have always known "cadre" to be pronounced 'KAY-DUH'. It is only within fairly recent times that I have been hearing the pronunciation 'CAD-DREY' as in PADRE among our local media personnel who choose the American version. But we all know that the Americans have bastardized the English language to make it simpler; they spell words to match their pronunciation, as 'nite' instead of 'night', and conversely, they pronounce words to match their spelling, as 'lewtenant instead of 'leftenant' for the word 'lieutenant'.
    Welcome to the forum jed-1.

    If you stay awhile, you will be enlightened somewhat as you find that there are many cases where the American form is what used to be used in England (and links therein) and it was the British English pronunciation or spelling that was changed (bastardized if you must) and the American is "unbastardized"!
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Possibly affected by the military usage mentioned by MuttQuad above, I have never heard anything but CAD-ray. Or perhaps I have, but I didn't know what the person was saying!
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I entirely subscribe to what JulianStuart says. Actually I thought "cadre" was Spanish but from a quick WR search it turns out to be French, so it wouldn't have the same pronunciation as "padre", which is Spanish/Italian. Of course it's not a crime to anglicise the pronunciation of words we adopt from other languages, but it's even less of a crime to attempt to recover the original pronunciation (albeit imperfectly). It takes a real stretch of the imagination to call such attempts "bastardization of the English language".

    As for Jed-1's two examples:

    Nite: Thi is certainly not official American spelling (if it is, there are some serious omissions in the WordReference dictionary!). It's just one of those mis-spellings for commercial reasons that occur on both sides of the Atlantic. But would it really be a crime to alter it? I've certainly adopted "jail" in the place of the ridiculous British spelling "gaol".
    Lieutenant: The insertion of the "f" in this word (again borrowed from French, where it contains not the slightest hint of an "f") is one of the weirdest pronunciations I've come across. I don't know whether it arose before or after American independence but I certainly wouldn't criticise the more logical pronunciation.

    PS From a quick search I see that this "f" might actually come from old French. Still, I stand by what I said.
     
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