pronunciation: unstressed -men [policemen, firemen, oilmen]


Senior Member
Hi everyone,

In words where 'man' acts more as a suffix and as a result bears no stress (and is consequently pronounced with a schwa in the singular), is the plural form also pronounced with a schwa or does it have a full /e/ (depending on dialect) sound?

I mean in words such as policemen, firemen, oilmen etc.

Thanks in advance.
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK

    In "one policeman, two policemen" the two red words sound exactly the same.:thumbsup:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Or else they don't.

    It probably depends on the person's local dialect or accent; I generally say railwayman /'reɪlweɪjmən/ and railwaymen /'reɪlweɪj,men/.

    But saying them the same wouldn't surprise me, or be at all ambiguous.


    American English
    Interesting. I pronounce "policeman" and "policemen" differently in my American English dialect.
    < Previous | Next >