Pronunciation of my

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
How come that the enclitic my in most of the English dialects is pronounced without a diphtong. As far as I know, the only ones that pronounce it with a diphtong are Scotts. How did the pronunciation with the diphtong become standardized and how come this pronunciation entered the US/CA/AUS english varieties.
 
  • Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    How come that the enclitic my in most of the English dialects is pronounced without a diphtong. As far as I know, the only ones that pronounce it with a diphtong are Scotts. How did the pronunciation with the diphtong become standardized and how come this pronunciation entered the US/CA/AUS english varieties.
    The English speakers don't hear any diphtong here, they call it "long a".
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The English speakers don't hear any diphtong here, they call it "long a".
    It is a "long i", not a "long a". But that's not what he meant.
    How come that the enclitic my in most of the English dialects is pronounced without a diphtong. As far as I know, the only ones that pronounce it with a diphtong are Scotts. How did the pronunciation with the diphtong become standardized and how come this pronunciation entered the US/CA/AUS english varieties.
    The dialects you mentioned distinguish between a stressed and an unstressed form of the word, [mi] being the unstressed and [maɪ] being the stressed form. The diphthong of the stressed form developed regularly from ME [i:]. The standard language does not make this distinction and only has the stressed form.
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    Yet most of the time I hear in the vein of:

    This is me book and rarely This is my book. That includes almost whole of the England. Don't know how the forms of m'lady came about? Then the standard took the form from a dialect
    that distinguishes only the stressed form? Either in those dialects, the stressed form is rare. Yet, mine is always pronounced as [maɪn]. So, then America was settled by the speakers that only used the stressed form?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Personally I always say
    I don't think the distinction exists anywhere outside of England today (not sure about Australia).

    The distinction of stressed and unstressed versions of words with different lengths of the final sound was at one point obviously quite normal in Western Germanic. Sometimes these versions developed into medically distinct words, like English to-too or of-off or German man-Mann.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    From reading the other discussions, (pronunciation: me for my) it appears in Ireland and Australia as a stylistic thing. Copying the English pronunciation, rather than any dialectical thing going on. Not sure how true that suggestion was.
    The belle of Belfast city, is a good example. Popular in England long before as I'll Tell Me Ma.
    Similarly for Rolf Harris’ compositions "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport". He had been living and working in the UK for five years before writing the song.
    "Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred".
     
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