Vase

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
Shouldn't the word vase be pronounced in British English the same way as in American English? I'm only judging by the great vowel shift. Is the current British English
pronunciation reflection of the same phenomenon as in Southern English British dialect like dance which was pronounced with open e, or is it something completely different. I would
imagine that the British pronunciation of the word vase as it is pronounced would be before the time of the great vowel shift.
 
  • merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    In the case of "garage" it is the other way around, BrE has gone further and anglicized the word completely. AmE keeps a pronunciation that is closer to the original French word.

    The French inspired pronunciation of "vase" that is common in the UK is also possible in the US, although it is not the favorite. I know people who pronounce it the British/French way. I personally alternate between the two.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    “Vase” is a fairly recent borrowing (18th century) from French, so the great vowel shift has nothing to do with it. The OED writes that

    “the earlier pronunciations /veɪs/ and /veɪz/ are still current in America; the former of these is indicated by the rhymes in the following passages. Another variant /vɔːz/ has still some currency in England.”

    /vaz/ is an approximation of the French pronunciation; /veiz/ is an English-speaker’s interpretation of the French spelling.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    “Vase” is a fairly recent borrowing (18th century) from French, so the great vowel shift has nothing to do with it. The OED writes that

    “the earlier pronunciations /veɪs/ and /veɪz/ are still current in America; the former of these is indicated by the rhymes in the following passages. Another variant /vɔːz/ has still some currency in England.”

    /vaz/ is an approximation of the French pronunciation; /veiz/ is an English-speaker’s interpretation of the French spelling.
    Attestations of vase in English reach back much longer than the 18th century. The MED has one from around 1400. The modern meaning is an 18th century (re-)borrowing but not the word itself. The "earlier pronunciations" mentioned in the explanation you cited may very well pertain to the late 14th century borrowing of the word an be caused by the GVS rather than being a "an English-speaker’s interpretation of the French spelling".
     
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