pronunciation: Will Merry marry Mary?

perpend

Banned
American English
"marry" in American English doesn't have the same "a" sound as in "apple".

All four sound the same to me: marry ... merry ... Mary ... very
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    "marry" in American English doesn't have the same "a" sound as in "apple".

    All four sound the same to me: marry ... merry ... Mary ... very

    It does for some Americans, perpend. :) I have a friend from New York and "marry" has the same "a" as "apple" for her.

    Personally, they're all the same for me, but as I understand it the merger of the sounds increases as you move west in the U.S.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo.

    Isn't it something like this?

    BE (RP):

    marry mæri
    merry meri
    Mary meəri

    GA:

    marry meri, mæri
    merry meri
    Mary meri

    GS :)
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    A few questions for those who don't pronounce merry, Mary, and marry the same:

    Do you differentiate between berry, Barry, and bury?
    How about ferry and fairy?
    Harry and hairy?
    Do IrE speakers have different pronunciations for Derry and dairy?
    Or for Kerry and Carey?

    (I have the full marry/merry/Mary merger - I use the "Mary" vowel in all of those words.)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    A few questions for those who don't pronounce merry, Mary, and marry the same:

    Do you differentiate between berry, Barry, and bury?
    How about ferry and fairy?
    Harry and hairy?
    Do IrE speakers have different pronunciations for Derry and dairy?
    Or for Kerry and Carey?

    (I have the full marry/merry/Mary merger - I use the "Mary" vowel in all of those words.)
    For me:
    ferry = berry = bury (like bed) but not like Barry. Barry=Harry (like cat).
    Hairy = fairy = Mary (~like air)
    (Is Mary like air for you?)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Most accents will have identical pronunciations for berry and bury.

    Fairy, hairy and dairy have long vowels unlike the others.
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    A few questions for those who don't pronounce merry, Mary, and marry the same:
    I am among those Americans (specifically, from New York City) who pronounces all three differently, so I will give my answer.

    Do you differentiate between berry, Barry, and bury?
    As others have said, bury and berry are the same, and rhyme with merry. Barry is different, and has the vowel of Harry -- or of cat. Perhaps I am in error here, but if I say the name of Bury St. Edmunds in England, I don't prononce it as "berry", but instead rhyme it with hurry. Perhaps a British member could confirm (or correct) that?

    How about ferry and fairy?
    Different. Ferry has the vowel of "get", fairy that of "air".

    Harry and hairy?
    Again, they are different; Harry has the vowel of "cat", and hairy that of "air"

    Do IrE speakers have different pronunciations for Derry and dairy?
    I distinguish between them both.

    Or for Kerry and Carey?
    Again, they are different. Kerry rhymes with merry, although I have heard two different pronunciations for Carey, with some people rhyming it with Mary, and others with -- marry!:cool:
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    ...
    Do you differentiate between berry, Barry, and bury?
    Berry and bury are the same, and distinct from Barry.
    How about ferry and fairy?
    Ferry has a shorter vowel than fairy. Ferry is like merry, fairy like Mary.
    and hairy?
    Harry is like marry, hairy like Mary.
    Do IrE speakers have different pronunciations for Derry and dairy?
    Yes. Derry is like merry, dairy like Mary.
    Or for Kerry and Carey?
    Kerry like merry, Carey like Mary.

    The comments above are based on my particular variant of BE/IrE pronunciation.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Perhaps I am in error here, but if I say the name of Bury St. Edmunds in England, I don't prononce it as "berry", but instead rhyme it with hurry. Perhaps a British member could confirm (or correct) that?
    I've always called it "Berry St Edmunds" and Collins dictionary and wikipedia feel the same way. Howjsay also uses the berry version. There is, however, a town called Bury near Manchester and some say that one Burry like furry, or often just B'ry, like the -bury at the end of many other names. (Saulsbri= Salisbury:D)
     

    ewhite

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    Kerry like merry, Carey like Mary.

    My maiden name was Carey, and it always irks me to hear it mispronounced as Carry. I would repeat Carey, and the rogue mispronouncer would repeat, Yes, Carry. I notice that the only two famous Careys I can think of (Hugh, ex-governor of NY, and Mariah) both pronounce it correctly.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    My maiden name was Carey, and it always irks me to hear it mispronounced as Carry. I would repeat Carey, and the rogue mispronouncer would repeat, Yes, Carry. I notice that the only two famous Careys I can think of (Hugh, ex-governor of NY, and Mariah) both pronounce it correctly.
    I can't recall ever hearing either Hugh's or Mariah's name pronounced as anything other than "Carry;" how do you pronounce it?
     

    ewhite

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    Well, Hugh and Mariah and I all pronounce it to rhyme with hairy or fairy or nary.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Yes. Derry is like merry, dairy like Mary.
    Kerry like merry, Carey like Mary.

    The comments above are based on my particular variant of BE/IrE pronunciation.

    True for me too. I've have never heard of anyone who pronounces Derry like dairy. Perhaps a strong Ballymena accent might be in the same ballpark.

    Berry and bury are the same, and distinct from Barry.

    I'm a little confused here though, do you pronounce berry and bury in the same manner?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Bury as in internment or Bury St Edmunds pronounced by me as berry. Bury as in Lancashire I say with a 'u', not an 'e' sound, similar to hurry.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    "Will Merry marry Mary?"
    I was once told that in US English these three M words are indistinguishable in pronunciation
    In the UK, we can say that the vowel sounds in the last three words of each line correspond:

    Gloomy Harry (very scary)
    Wants to marry merry Mary.
     
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