Pronunciation: 'ma'am'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Luc4, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. Luc4

    Luc4 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Could domeone explain me how to pronounce "thank-you-ma'am"?
  2. Isotta

    Isotta Senior Member

    English, Hodgepodge
    I'm assuming you are asking about the "ma'am" part.

    In the American South (where you hear it very often) it is something like "mè-yam." That is not IPA, it is a hodgepodge notation. In the UK it is something like "mahm," but I don't think you hear it that often?

    If you ask in the English forum, you might get a right discussion going.

  3. Luc4

    Luc4 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Yes, you are right. I should have posted i there. Anyway, I was undecided between the two.
  4. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Let me make the decision for you. ;)

  5. asm Senior Member

    New England, USA
    Mexico, Spanish
  6. Gordonedi

    Gordonedi Senior Member

    UK (Scotland) English
    In the UK, "Ma'am" is indeed pronounced "Mahm" or "Marm" (soft letter R) by those who only use the word occasionally. Where the word is more commonly used (such as by a servant to a mistress) pronunciation is closer to "Mum" and much shorter in sound. :)
  7. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    In AE ma'am rhymes with jam. We have an expression that indicates a quick, slapdash effort-- "wham, bam, thank-you-ma'am."

    The Southern AE pronunciation is different, as Isotta pointed out. If you can pronounce mayhem without the aitch, you've got it.
  8. Luc4

    Luc4 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Yes, I was asking that just (<- is it ok the just here? :) sorry if it's wrong. I meant precisely) for that expression. I read about it here, an old thread:
    Thank everyone of you for your answers.
  9. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I pronounce it "mam."
  10. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    In BE, ma'am can be pronounced either to rhyme with palm or with pam

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