Pronunciation: research

vasili1

New Member
spanish, spain
Hi all,

I need to know how is the word 'research' pronounced : is the first or the second syllable stressed ?.

Thanks
 
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Ah, complicated question. In English there are many pairs where the noun has first stress and the verb has second stress ('import ~ im'port, 'contract ~ con'tract, etc.).

    Research isn't one of them, in BE. In BE it's second-stressed re'search as both noun and verb. However, a lot of younger BE speakers give the noun first stress, 'research, as it is in AE.

    So the word is very much in a state of flux.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Yes and no :D Try entering the word in the box at the top of the page - it will let you hear the pronunciations from speakers of American English and British English.
    (Hint: The second version of the BrE pronunciation is the verb form.)
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    In my experience, AE is nearly random.

    Noun: research predominates, but you will hear research from time to time.
    Verb: usually research, but research once in a while.
     

    vasili1

    New Member
    spanish, spain
    Thank all for the quick responses.
    I didn't know the link, it rocks!.

    It seems that both forms are correct. I had a discussion with a colleague and it seems that both were correct.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree with Cuchuflete that the choice appears to be random, and with perhaps a preponderance of the stress being on the first syllable in the noun, and the second in the verb. I'm fairly sure I use both forms without any appreciable pattern.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    The word "research" comes up very often in my work. I would also say the stress is random and either form is fine (and a single speaker may well easily use both stresses freely and alternately without any problem).
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    However, a lot of younger BE speakers give the noun first stress, 'research, as it is in AE.
    I'm a younger speaker, I'm a younger speaker, Hurrah!

    Actually, like others, I use both research and research for the noun. I don't think the variation is completely random, though. For example, in the collocation "Research Establishments" I would stress the Re-; but what the establishments carry out is research.

    The verb, for me, always has the stress on the second syllable.
     

    RobScott

    New Member
    English
    This is an old thread. I'm wondering if most interest in the topic is long past.

    However, I'll respond with an interesting story about the social content of pronunciation affects us professionally. Many years ago (about 30) I was at CalTech, as an undergraduate. I was hired by a very distinguished scientist to work in his lab during the summer. One of his first tasks was to sit me down and "correct my English." He said, "Now Robert, the correct pronunciation of "research" is... and he proceeded to pronounce it with emphasis on the second syllabel, coming out "riSEARCH" as opposed to "reeesearch." Being impressionable and diligent, it stuck in my head. I continue to pronounce the word in the BE manner, and incidentally note that the "reee-" part of the word getting longer every year. I hate to admit it, but I still wince when I hear the word pronounced in the "modern" fashion and can't help but give more credence to people who favor the BE tradition.

    I point this out, only to suggest that the generational gaps in language pronunciation can have a surprising impact on the credibility of younger speakers; much as 20-somethings, now, often end a declarative sentence with an up-tick in the inflection of the verb to make it sound more like a question than a declaration.

    Rob
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Rob: Welcome to the forum:)

    Please allow me to add one thing to your post:
    [...] the generational gaps in language pronunciation can have a surprising impact on the credibility of younger speakers [...]
    ... but only (presumably) in the eyes of non-younger speakers. If all younger speakers say REsearch, then it'll be those of us who say reSEARCH who look non-credible to them.

    I know for a fact that I say both, rather randomly, but probably with a bit of bias: REsearch (n.), reSEARCH (v.).
     

    RobScott

    New Member
    English
    ewie, Of course you are correct in terms of classical linguistics. Language is a dynamic entity, and what is accepted as "received" English will eventually prevail. No doubt, in a few more decades people will all be using the now commonly spoken form of the word.

    But....., sometimes the person holding the purse-strings gets to vote, as more than one law school graduate has learned on a job interview.

    Cheers, Rob
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    This is an old thread. I'm wondering if most interest in the topic is long past.

    However, I'll respond with an interesting story about the social content of pronunciation affects us professionally. Many years ago (about 30) I was at CalTech, as an undergraduate. I was hired by a very distinguished scientist to work in his lab during the summer. One of his first tasks was to sit me down and "correct my English." He said, "Now Robert, the correct pronunciation of "research" is... and he proceeded to pronounce it with emphasis on the second syllabel, coming out "riSEARCH" as opposed to "reeesearch." Being impressionable and diligent, it stuck in my head. I continue to pronounce the word in the BE manner, and incidentally note that the "reee-" part of the word getting longer every year. I hate to admit it, but I still wince when I hear the word pronounced in the "modern" fashion and can't help but give more credence to people who favor the BE tradition.

    I point this out, only to suggest that the generational gaps in language pronunciation can have a surprising impact on the credibility of younger speakers; much as 20-somethings, now, often end a declarative sentence with an up-tick in the inflection of the verb to make it sound more like a question than a declaration.

    Rob

    I wonder if this is a case of confusing personal history with societal history, honestly. Both pronunciations are listed in American English dictionaries. The oldest print dictionary I have goes back only to 1970 (Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged), but both pronunciations are in it as well.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    It's a small technicality, but I find it hard to think of an English word where the long /ɜː/ sound is unstressed. In my observation, when this sound is left unstressed, it gets reduced to a simple schwa.

    So maybe we have a case here where there are two pronunciation variants - the classical one with the stress on the second syllable and a "modern" one embraced by youths and youth "wannabe's" :) where both syllables are stressed, not just the first one.

    All this does not change the point of this argument, of course.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    This is what the OED gives for the pronunciation of this word (for anyone who's still awake):

    NOUN: UK: reSEARCH, REsearch; US: REsearch, rəSEARCH*, reSEARCH
    VERB: UK: reSEARCH; US: rəSEARCH*, reSEARCH, REsearch
    in exactly that order. (I presume the order is significant).

    *Late arrivals at the ball.
     

    RobScott

    New Member
    English
    ewie, I too looked at my OED and found it just as you write.

    boozer: my story is self-admittedly personal history, without attempting to suggest any larger societal trend. I think it was U.S. National Public Radio that carried the story about the problems some young American graduates (I'm quite sure it was U.S. Law school grads) were having when interviewed by senior partners of firms. The recent changes in linguistic features, of modern American English, are different enough, and "off-putting" enough, to chronically senior people in a position to determine the fate of an employment application, that it was impacting their success in being hired to a firm. I'm not sure if I have such strong feelings about anyone, in my trade, preferring one form over another of 'research.' I'm going to have to watch to see if acknowledged leaders of the scientific community (Nobel Laureates, and the like) have a preference for one or the other form of the word.

    But, as already discussed "reSEARCH" is probably becoming an anachronistic form of pronunciation.

    Best,

    Rob
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    But, as already discussed "reSEARCH" is probably becoming an anachronistic form of pronunciation.

    That's how I pronounce it. I am proud to be an anachronism.

    GF..

    I wouldn't want to be anything else. ;)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    But, as already discussed "reSEARCH" is probably becoming an anachronistic form of pronunciation.

    Best,

    Rob

    This is the part I am disagreeing with. :) I don't think it's becoming anything. I think both pronunciations have been around for at least fity years, that there is a preference for one over the other in different English variants and that both are accepted.

    I don't think there's a case to be made for a trend here other than personal experience.

    James
     
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