Renaissance: pronunciation

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Renaissance man

Senior Member
Alright, I'm familiar with all the variants of the pronunciation of "renaissance" listed in most dictionaries. I also have no problems articulating these phonetic transcriptions, so consider this thread merely a survey - how would you personally pronounce it?

There seem to be three major variants, each stressing a different syllable, and then some minor differences regarding voiced or voiceless /z/, /s/ etc. The variant stressing the penultimate syllable seems prevalent in UK; apart from that I've no idea as to region or sociolect, etc. So please share your ideas here :)
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Well, here's my answer, Renaissance man:).

    I pronounce the first word of your name as follows:
    ~ stress on the second syllable
    ~ first vowel pronounced schwa
    ~ second vowel pronounced with the 'e' sound of "bed" (occasionally with the "ay" sound of "say")
    ~ final syllable nasalised, with an approximation of a French accent.

    EDIT: Ooops - I forget to say I pronounce the "ss" as /s/. I don't think I've ever heard it pronounced /z/....

    EDIT2: I also forgot to say that I've only heard AmE speakers (not BrE speakers) stress the first syllable.
     
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    MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    I consider the correct pronunciation to be:

    RENA - sans

    RENA: the first "A" is pronounced as the 'u' in 'up'

    sans: the first 's' is either 's' or 'z' - (I prefer 's')
    the "a" in this syllable is pronounced as 'o' in 'on'
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    EDIT2: I also forgot to say that I've only heard AmE speakers (not BrE speakers) stress the first syllable.
    Sadly, I have heard BE speakers put the stress there - and on BBC Radio 4, what's more!

    I don't understand phonetic transcriptions, so

    ru NAY sonce where
    the "u" is short and like "u" in up, but with the lips protruding
    the NAY is clipped, not prolonged - like the French né
    and the "o" in sonce is short, as in sconce

    Pretty much like the standard French pronunciation.
     
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    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I think I quite often pronounce it like MilkyBarKid (stress on the first syllable) if it's an adjective, and like Loob and Andygc (stress on the second syllable) if it's 'the Renaissance', which probably doesn't make any sense at all. I do the same thing with 'Caribbean'. Probably it's just a tic, but it just sounds better that way for me.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think mine is similar to Loob's, but more anglicised:

    - stress always on the 2nd syllable
    - first vowel is schwa (as in the normal pronunciation of the)
    - the second vowel as in English may (therefore unlike Andy's)
    - final vowel as in English don, which might or might not be nasalised
    - with /s/ sound, not /z/.

    Of course, remember there is the more anglicised version of the word: renascence. In which case, I might go for full English-style pronunciation, with the stress on the first syllable: RENN-uh-suhns. Or I might still stress the second syllable: ruh-NAY-suhns.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Of course, remember there is the more anglicised version of the word: renascence. In which case, I might go for full English-style pronunciation, with the stress on the first syllable: RENN-uh-suhns. Or I might still stress the second syllable: ruh-NAY-suhns.
    Ahh, that's quite different

    re-nas-sense

    Where re is as in realign, renew
     
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    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I pronounce it like Loob (but always with the 'nay' sound) in English and with a throaty 'r', short 'ne' (like 'net' without the 't') and the stress on the final syllable in French.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Same as Andy [#4] except that the 'ai' is prolonged:
    /rə'neɪsɒns/

    If I ever had occasion to say renascence (the need hasn't come up in the past 46 years), it would be:
    /ri'neɪsəns/
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    I say, in IPA transcription, /ɹɪnə'sɑns/. Of course those first two vowels may be variable in their quality, as unstressed vowels usually are. They may also be /ə/ or /ɛ/. Or the first syllable is stressed instead of the last.
     
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    .ani.

    New Member
    German, English
    I pronounce it ren-ay-sonce. That may be down to my odd accent though.

    Edit: The first vowel is always an E. I notice some other people prounounce it as run or ran.
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I was going to edit my earlier post, but find that editing is not possible.

    Of course, remember there is the more anglicised version of the word: renascence. In which case, I might go for full English-style pronunciation, with the stress on the first syllable: RENN-uh-suhns. Or I might still stress the second syllable: ruh-NAY-suhns.
    I've thought about renascence, and decided that since I say nascent /ˈnæsnt/, I would probably say /rɪˈnæsns/ rather than /rɪˈneɪsns/.
     

    Lamperouge

    Senior Member
    French
    What is the British English pronunciation of the word renaissance? My dictionary indicates /rɪˈneɪsəns/, yet I sometimes hear people with a British accent say /'renəsɑ:ns/, which seems to be the American pronunciation.

    <<Moderator note: the thread started by Lamperouge has been merged with an earlier thread with the same question. Nat>>
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I think this is an alternative that may be becoming more popular. I hear it a bit on the radio. Not quite the AmE with [ɑ:], but a BrE version of it, ['renəsɒns] or with French nasalization ['renəsɒ~s].
     
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