Pronunciation: forehead

gaer

Senior Member
US-English
Here is a question to all "on both sides of the pond".

How do you pronounce "forehead"?

I also have the same question about several other words, but I'd like to get a suggestion from a mod about how to ask about such words.

For instance, would it be best to post words with pronunciations that are debated in both AE and BE in separate threads, or would it be better to start a topic, one, describing "pronunciation differences"?

Gaer
 
  • Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hi gaer,

    Personally I say FORE-head (or should I say FOUR-hedd -- not quite sure how I sure transcribe it). That's to say my 'fore' is a long vowel sound that rhymes with 'core', my 'head' is a short 'e' sound (not a schwa) to rhyme with 'bed'.

    My grandmother, however, says FORRed (short vowel sound, followed by a schwa). She grew up in London and speaks with what I believe was considered 'correct' pronounciation from the beginning of the last century. I grew up in Manchester and just spoke like all my friends. I think you'd be interested in some of my grandmother's other pronunciations, which my wife, who's American, has always found quaint and unusual. I'll have a think.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Benjy said:
    i siwtch between both the forms that aupick mentioned.
    Strange. I say: "FAR ed". It's really weird, because although I have an American accent, there are some pronunciations I believe I picked up from my father's side of the family, English.

    Gaer
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I pronounce it "4 hed" with the accent on the 4. But when I come across an African-American sentry I call him a blaggerd.

    I just saw a TV "news" spot about the most successful ever coin-operated machine, namely Pac-Man. Now don't you BE speakers tell me you pronounced it Packm'n. Say it ain't so!
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    We talked about this just a short while ago, but it probably deserves a more formal airing under the proper title - I mean how on earth is anyone meant to know that a thread called "be horrid" is about the pronunciation of forehead:confused:

    Have a look here.

    ...from #5 onwards.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    panjandrum said:
    I mean how on earth is anyone meant to know that a thread called "be horrid" is about the pronunciation of forehead:confused:
    Anyone brought up on nursery rhymes?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Robot-savant said:
    Sore-dead. Poor-fred. More-bed. Law-wed. Shore-said. ... Fore-head.
    Isn't it just amazing how six vowel sound combinations with so much in common can actually sound so different.

    Please note apologetic post a short while later.
    Edited again to correct spelling errors.
     

    Amityville

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I am almost 100% sure that Prince Charles, the well-known icon of non-cool affectation, says "forrid", and that, combined with the fact that the first time I heard 'forrid' was from the lips of an out-and-out poser, means I cannot get to grips with it, for me it is affected (with the exception of Aupick's grandma). Tim, you sadden me but I will try to come to terms.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Amityville said:
    I am almost 100% sure that Prince Charles, the well-known icon of non-cool affectation, says "forrid", and that, combined with the fact that the first time I heard 'forrid' was from the lips of an out-and-out poser, means I cannot get to grips with it, for me it is affected (with the exception of Aupick's grandma). Tim, you sadden me but I will try to come to terms.

    Bugger off!:D
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Sorry to leave that last post so long - I meant to get back to edit this in.
    That was meant to be a sort of a joke.
    But to be serious, I group those six sound-pairs into four sets
    Sore-dead, more-bed, shore-said are more or less equivalent and unlike any of the others, each of which has its own sound.
    Poor-fred.
    Law-wed.
    Fore-head.

    PS, sorry about the italics. I can't seem to shake them off.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    timpeac said:
    Bugger off!:D
    Tim: Your eloquence almost needs no further comment.
    Except to make sure that others know in this thread that some weeks ago I associated myself, in the most platonic way, of course, with Aupick's Grandma. He didn't seem to mind, then.

    More to the point, and, what's more, on topic, I am quite surprised to find this time that quite a lot of us are either totally in there with horrid/forehead or we are pretty close.

    If there are any sailors amongst you, I reckon that forehead also comes pretty close to forward in the sense of, "Shut the forward hatch my good man, there are heavy seas ahead."

    PS I found a useful spray in the kitchen - all the italics are lying on the floor with their legs in the air.
     

    Robot-savant

    New Member
    England, English
    panjandrum said:
    Isn't it just amazing how six vowel sound combinations with so much in common can actually sound so different.

    Please note apologetic post a short while later.
    Edited again to correct spelling errors.

    Lol. Grrr.
     

    VenusEnvy

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    axolotl66 said:
    My Dad used to say "forrid", I say "4-head" or "forrid", probably depending on the rest of the sentence and who I am talking to!
    Does he also pronounce Monday as Mun-dee? . . . .


    One more vote for "four - head".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Aupick said:
    My grandma says Mun-dee! She also pronounces tissue as 'tiss-you' rather than 'tish-you'. Is there a pattern here?
    Your grandma and I have had arguments about Monday, but would often agree on tiss-you:)

    I have had a good hunt through the OED after robot-savant's post about:
    Sore-dead. Poor-fred. More-bed. Law-wed. Shore-said. ... Fore-head.

    Here is the result of my comparison of OED's phonetics for each of the constituent words.

    fore, more (AE), poor (one variant), shore, sore; = one variant of fore-in-forehead
    law, more (BE)
    poor (the other variant).

    bed, dead, fred, head, said, wed; = one variant of head-in-forehead.

    The other variant of forehead, as quoted before, is exactly like horrid.

    The head of this variant is like rid.​

    I can’t find any word, apart from horrid, with the same IPA phonetics for the "fore" or "horr" vowel.​
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    panjandrum said:
    I can’t find any word, apart from horrid, with the same IPA phonetics for the "fore" or "horr" vowel.
    Not torrid? Or florid?

    Not that we couln't generate a whole dialect-survey thread trying to find consistency here. If we ever evolve anything remotely like consistence in pronunciation, English spelling will lend itself to standardization, and I suspect it will happen like wildfire.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    foxfirebrand said:
    Not torrid? Or florid?
    Good suggestions.
    I was looking for single-syllable words with the same vowel sound as horr of horrid, and I confess that I didn't really try very hard:eek:
    I've been for another look.
    OED agrees with you (it will be delighted) about torrid and florid, and porridge also has the same "orr" vowel.
    I have not been able to find a single-syllable word with the same vowel sound.
    In IPA, it looks like an upside-down, back-to-front, a
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    panjandrum said:
    Good suggestions.
    I was looking for single-syllable words with the same vowel sound as horr of horrid, and I confess that I didn't really try very hard:eek:
    I've been for another look.
    OED agrees with you (it will be delighted) about torrid and florid, and porridge also has the same "orr" vowel.
    I have not been able to find a single-syllable word with the same vowel sound.
    In IPA, it looks like an upside-down, back-to-front, a

    Be careful of the use of the IPA in dictionaries. There is a whole convention of what symbols are used for certain words (regardless of the fact that pronunciation may have moved on since that convention was started) - the fact that different symbols are used does not always mean that the pronunciation is different.

    For me there is no difference between my pronunciation of the "o" in "hot" and "horrid" however they may be traditionally represented in IPA.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    timpeac said:
    For me there is no difference between my pronunciation of the "o" in "hot" and "horrid" however they may be traditionally represented in IPA.
    Yep - that's the one.
    OED has the same IPA thingy for hot and horrid, florid, torrid and one of the foreheads.
    Well found, Tim, and thanks.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Amityville said:
    I am almost 100% sure that Prince Charles, the well-known icon of non-cool affectation, says "forrid", and that, combined with the fact that the first time I heard 'forrid' was from the lips of an out-and-out poser, means I cannot get to grips with it, for me it is affected (with the exception of Aupick's grandma). Tim, you sadden me but I will try to come to terms.
    It MAY have something to do with New England in the US. I just don't know.

    I say horrid, "forrid" (forehead), but I say "warshing machine"

    I've been called many things in my life, including, crude, lude and rude—but so far never affected. :)

    Gaer
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    gaer said:
    I've been called many things in my life, including, crude, lude and rude—but so far never affected. :)

    Gaer

    What poetic detractors you have!:) I wonder if they booed you at the same time...;) If they did I expect you would have sued...ok I'll stop now:D
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    lsp said:
    In some sentences I seem to say something like farhead. Some 4head.
    I don't say the "h". That's the important thing. But I don't think it's a matter of being affected, posh or anything like that. I think it's regional on both sides of the pond.

    I don't have the knowledge or tools to investigate how words have changed (or are changing), but here is another word that I've mentioned before that seems to be 100% different in BE and AE:

    shone

    Here, I've always heard it rhyme with lone, bone, phone.

    All BE readers I've heard (book recordings) make it sound roughly like this:

    shone=sean, but more clipped. Or perhaps "shun".

    shun (shone), bun, run, fun.

    Or midway between those two. I can say it that way, because I've now heard it so many times.

    The sun shone brightly.

    So I incorrectly assumed it might be the same with forehead, a sharp divide across the pond, but apparently not. ;)

    Gaer
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    gaer said:
    I don't say the "h". That's the important thing. But I don't think it's a matter of being affected, posh or anything like that. I think it's regional on both sides of the pond.

    I don't have the knowledge or tools to investigate how words have changed (or are changing), but here is another word that I've mentioned before that seems to be 100% different in BE and AE:

    shone

    Here, I've always heard it rhyme with lone, bone, phone.

    All BE readers I've heard (book recordings) make it sound roughly like this:

    shone=sean, but more clipped. Or perhaps "shun".

    shun (shone), bun, run, fun.

    Or midway between those two. I can say it that way, because I've now heard it so many times.

    The sun shone brightly.

    So I incorrectly assumed it might be the same with forehead, a sharp divide across the pond, but apparently not. ;)

    Gaer

    Yes, it is broadly applicable and useful to split English into BE and AE but there are huge regional differences within each main family.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    timpeac said:
    Yes, it is broadly applicable and useful to split English into BE and AE but there are huge regional differences within each main family.
    Yes, and sometimes a regional difference in BE just happens to be identical to one in AE, and again, part of that may be because we have parents who come from so many places.

    I remember once, while young, writing to my aunts and saying, "Well, it would be nice if you should happen upon a piano while I'm visiting."

    That cracked up my aunts, but I wasn't trying to be affected. I grew up with English books and spend most of the first 5 years of my life hearing their speech patterns.

    I've long since lost those speech patterns, but I can switch at will, because they are in my ears. My dad, to the day he died, always hung up saying: "Right oh." And we would start off on vacation with him saying, "Here we jolly well go, gov'na." My aunt sung a song that put in my in stiches, "With his 'ed tucked underneath 'is 'arm'." Wish I could remember the rest.

    Probably it's time to start a new thread before we get busted, Tim. ;)

    Gaer
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Gaer-- I know what you mean about not being 100% conscious of the way you pronounce some "deeply-rooted" words. I've also heard that odd pronunciation of "shone" in my own family, among the elderly members-- and long, long ago at that. I'm sure I pronounce it "shown" like a good American (when I'm not saying "shined," of course)-- but when I mention a scone I sometimes get "a what?" in response. Or a laugh.

    And I'm not being affected either! It just comes out. "Eau, don't be givin this guy a biskit or nothin, he wants a scahwnn!" Well, you know how it sounds, just a little broader than scun.

    At least I don't say "rassp'brry" like the same great-aunt who says "scone" so funny. Talk about four consonants in a row! And I don't remember for sure, but I'd bet good money she also said "forrid."
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    foxfirebrand said:
    Gaer-- I know what you mean about not being 100% conscious of the way you pronounce some "deeply-rooted" words. I've also heard that odd pronunciation of "shone" in my own family, among the elderly members-- and long, long ago at that. I'm sure I pronounce it "shown" like a good American (when I'm not saying "shined," of course)-- but when I mention a scone I sometimes get "a what?" in response. Or a laugh.
    Exactly. We pick up various regional pronunciations from different people who are important to us, and the result can be rather odd.

    I hold my fork like an American (not upside down), but I use it with my left hand at all times. I only use my knife with my right. With my father on my right side at the table, from England, and my mother born here, I merged the two styles.

    So now people assume I'm left-handed. ;)

    Btw, unfortunately renaming the title in an individual post does not help people searching—at least I don't think so—so it might be interesting to start a thread about subtle differences in AE and BE pronunciation that are not often mentioned. I don't know what title we would use though, or where we would put it.

    Mods, suggestions?

    Gaer

    Gaer
     

    Cecilio

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    Good morning!

    I assume that the pronunciation of the word "forehead" is ['forid] (Sorry about the phonetic symbols, I don't know how to use them here). Last year however I read in an ELT textbook that this word was pronounced approx. ['fo:hed]. Is it possible? Is it another case of the influence of spelling on pronunciation, like in "nephew"? How do you pronounce this word?
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Good morning!

    I assume that the pronunciation of the word "forehead" is ['forid] (Sorry about the phonetic symbols, I don't know how to use them here). Last year however I read in an ELT textbook that this word was pronounced approx. ['fo:hed]. Is it possible? Is it another case of the influence of spelling on pronunciation, like in "nephew"? How do you pronounce this word?

    It's pronounced exactly as it's spelled: "fore-head".

    "Nephew" is "nef-you".
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Using the forum search link at the top of the page, you can check to see if your question has already been the subject of a thread-- like this one.

    These old threads can be added to if you have additional questions-- this will bump them to the top of the current index page. Starting duplicate threads interferes with the efficient use of these forums as a part of the WR dictionaries.
    .
    .
     

    Cecilio

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    Thank you very much for the information, foxfirebrand. I forgot to check the previous threads, as I usually do. In any case, one of the points I'm interested in is if there has been some sort of evolution in the pronunciation of this word in the last decades, as a result of 'spelling pronunciation'. In a previous thread, started by me, we came to the conclusion that the word "nephew" was traditionally pronounced with a "v" sound, but nowadays an "f" pronounciation is more common, and this phenomenon is partly due to the influence of spelling.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Thank you very much for the information, foxfirebrand. I forgot to check the previous threads, as I usually do. In any case, one of the points I'm interested in is if there has been some sort of evolution in the pronunciation of this word in the last decades, as a result of 'spelling pronunciation'. In a previous thread, started by me, we came to the conclusion that the word "nephew" was traditionally pronounced with a "v" sound, but nowadays an "f" pronounciation is more common, and this phenomenon is partly due to the influence of spelling.

    Cecilio, I've been around for over 5 decades and have never heard the word "nephew" pronounced with a "v" sound! :) Accordingly, I'm not sure what you're referring to as "nowadays" but I'm pretty sure that the "f" pronounciation is more than "common" - it's standard and heads would turn if you pronounced it "neview".
     

    chloffers

    Member
    English, USA
    the word nephew probably comes from the french word neveu. so i'm sure a long long time ago, it was pronounced with a v sound instead of an f sound.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    FORE head

    The only time I've pronounced it FORrid is in the aforementioned rhyme:

    There was a little girl
    With a little bitty curl
    Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good
    She was very, very good--
    And when she was bad, she was horrid!

    I only pronounce forehead as forrid for that poem.

    That law-wed thingy left me floored.
    Law is pronounced to rhyme with saw, Ma, and Pa--unless you're saying lawyer--in which case the law rhymes with soy upon occasion, but not always.

    The whole matter is so horrid
    It makes my forehead hurt!
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    FORE head

    The only time I've pronounced it FORrid is in the aforementioned rhyme:

    There was a little girl
    With a little bitty curl
    Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good
    She was very, very good--
    And when she was bad, she was horrid!

    I only pronounce forehead as forrid for that poem.

    That law-wed thingy left me floored.
    Law is pronounced to rhyme with saw, Ma, and Pa--unless you're saying lawyer--in which case the law rhymes with soy upon occasion, but not always.
    I have also noticed since writing last that I don't always pronounce "forehead" the same way, but without someone recording me, I can't say for certain when the chance occurs.

    The whole matter is so horrid
    It makes my forehead hurt![/quote]
     

    equivoque

    Senior Member
    Australia - English
    Here is a question to all "on both sides of the pond".

    How do you pronounce "forehead"?

    I also have the same question about several other words, but I'd like to get a suggestion from a mod about how to ask about such words.

    For instance, would it be best to post words with pronunciations that are debated in both AE and BE in separate threads, or would it be better to start a topic, one, describing "pronunciation differences"?

    Gaer

    I say both, my partner (or "other quarter") says 4-head but we don't seem to count as we are well and truly under "the pond". *gurgle* *gulp*
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    Law is pronounced to rhyme with saw, Ma, and Pa
    I only rhyme Ma and Pa with law and saw when I'm doing a silly imitation of old westerns and/or Granny Clampett. Otherwise Ma and Pa have the same sound as the first syllable of Madre and Padre.
     

    mariposita

    Senior Member
    US, English
    It MAY have something to do with New England in the US. I just don't know.

    I say horrid, "forrid" (forehead), but I say "warshing machine"

    I've been called many things in my life, including, crude, lude and rude—but so far never affected. :)

    Gaer

    My mother says warshing machine. She grew up in an Irish family in St. Louis and many people from her milieu have the same accent. (We also do the warsh, not the laundry...). Like another poster, she says 'far-head (and harse for horse; fahrk for fork, etc.). I've also heard this pronunciation in Baltimore and Chicago.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    My mother says warshing machine. She grew up in an Irish family in St. Louis and many people from her milieu have the same accent. (We also do the warsh, not the laundry...). Like another poster, she says 'far-head (and harse for horse; fahrk for fork, etc.). I've also heard this pronunciation in Baltimore and Chicago.
    I just picked up "warshing machine". But I say "wash", and I don't pronounce any of those other words that way. I think my pronunciation "flips" because of hearing so many words pronounced two ways all my life. :)

    Gaer
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Interesting question, I say "far-ed".
    This IS the first pronunciation given by MW, but MW also gives "eether" and "neether" as the first pronunciation of "either" and "neither"—which I personally use—but I think it is out of touch with usage as of this time.

    Gaer
     

    quietdandelion

    Banned
    Formosa/Chinese
    Thanks, my friends.
    Btw, I notice that there are two different ways to utter "forehead." One is "fore-head," and the other is "fore-eed." Who usually say the latter, and who the former? Thanks.
     
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