Pronunciation of defense/defence

Abu Talha

Senior Member
Urdu
Hello,

In American football, I commonly hear the commentators pronounce "defense" as "dee-fence". For people who pronounce it this way, is this pronunciation limited to football contexts only?

That is, do people pronounce it as dee-fence when speaking about football, and pronounce it differently when speaking in other contexts?

Thanks.
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It seems to be DEE-fense for sports, and de-FENSE for everything else, around here.
    All sports, not just American football?

    As far as I am aware the stress is in the second syllable for all contexts in BrE.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I believe pob14 and I are just speaking for the Americans.
    Yes, I understood that. I am interested in knowing whether it's a first-syllable stress for all sports, and that all AmE speakers would stress the word this way in this contexts.

    EDIT: Cross posted with #6.

    Thanks Sue.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, I understood that. I am interested in knowing whether it's a first-syllable stress for all sports, and that all AmE speakers would stress the word this way in this contexts.

    EDIT: Cross posted with #6.

    Thanks Sue.
    Yes, all sports, as Sue said - even in ice hockey, where you have a position called de-FENSE-man, one of that player's primary jobs is to play excellent DEE-fense. :)
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    Yes, quite right, pob14. I was doing that very thing last night and, sadly, we lost 5-4 in overtime. I used to play forward, but this year I am playing DEE-fense.
    Which reminds me, Daee, that in addition to de-FENSE-men in hockey, there are also de-FEND-ers in some sports, but still all playing DEE-fense. If the Department of de-FENSE had a soccer team, then the Department of de-FENSE would have a DEE-fense. :p
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    A fairly consistent rule in AE, at least, is that two-syllable words spelled identically in their noun and verb formations are accented on the first syllable as nouns, on the second as verbs; e.g., /'re kərd/—the noun to mean the statement or physical evidence that records some event, and /rɪ 'kɔrd/ the verb.

    Pronunciation does not depend on whether it's spelled with a "c" or an "s."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    A fairly consistent rule in AE, at least, is that two-syllable words spelled identically in their noun and verb formations are accented on the first syllable as nouns, on the second as verbs; e.g., /'re kərd/—the noun to mean the statement or physical evidence that records some event, and /rɪ 'kɔrd/ the verb.
    I'm not sure that's what is happening here. I would be surprised to hear "Call the next witness for the DE-fense" or "He made a mistake, but in his DE-fense..." There are many contexts where the second syllable of defense is stressed in AE.

    It's the same with "offense". "She's on the OF-fense now" sounds normal to me but I would say "This is her first of-FENSE."
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    A fairly consistent rule in AE, at least, is that two-syllable words spelled identically in their noun and verb formations are accented on the first syllable as nouns
    (my emphasis)

    Cyberpedant, isn't the verb defend and the noun defence (defense AmE)? Similarly, offend and offence. They are spelt differently.

    EDIT: Ah, a whole lot of cross-posting. Thanks, JulianStuart, for defense as a verb. Completely new to me.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I do think that if you run across "defensed" in sports reporting you can assume that the person didn't do all that well in English class.
    I must admit I was somewhat surprised to find it in Dictionary.Reference.com.

    But then again, only somewhat surprised, given some of the other things I see only in the sports pages :(

    defense
    verb
    (used with object) 9. Sports. to defend against (an opponent, play, or tactic).
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    In BE the stress is on the final syllable, whether or no the context refers to sport. In "She played defence" and "He fought in defence of his country", defence is pronounced the same.
     

    Abu Talha

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    Thanks everyone.
    Yes, all sports, as Sue said - even in ice hockey, where you have a position called de-FENSE-man, one of that player's primary jobs is to play excellent DEE-fense. :)
    Very interesting. So it's only DEE-fense when referring to the entity. How would you say, "They're a good team, but defense against the running game is not their strongest suit."?
    I'm thinking it would be de-FENSE.
     

    vienna19

    New Member
    German-Austrian
    knowing our deFENSE department, they would most likely lose....:) you can't win with DEfense unless your OFfense scores at least one point/run/goal more than your DEfense allows.
     

    vienna19

    New Member
    German-Austrian
    i think I think it would be "...but DEfense against..." or deFENDING against...." that's how i heard I heard it and would use it myself. however, i have I have also heard "...but deFENSE against...." sports networks and commentators seem to have some poetic license (to put it politely :) )

    reporters Reporters and especially "pundits" in sports are sometimes coming up with new and REALLY strange words. they They actually sometimes invent a new vocabulary.... who uses usually the word "stretch touchdown" when the player reaches out and the ball just breaks the line of the end zone????
    maybe Maybe they get too excited and then something comes out of the mouth that should have stayed in the brain..:)
     
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