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neither - pronunciation Options
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 2:53:30 AM

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Good morning!

According to TFD, (nai'ther) is British while (ni'ther) is American.

For some reason, however, I tend to mix them, namely, say (ni'ther) when it's a standalone word, like in "Neither of my friends knows anything about architecture", and (nai'ther) when it is used in the construction "neither...nor..."

Is this just my personal quirk, or does this correlate with how native users tend to pronounce it?
Romany
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 4:51:48 AM
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I don't think it's a BE/AE thing anymore. It's just that some people say it one way, others say it the other way. It makes no difference at all how one says it.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 4:55:06 AM

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I see, thanks, Romany!
Romany
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 4:59:20 AM
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And, of course, the same applies to the pronunciation of "either".
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 5:37:23 AM

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Looking through various etymologies, "British English" - even before the USA existed and before BE and AE diverged - had both pronunciations.
Lancashire and Yorkshire dialect (which retain some of the older pronunciations) use "ayther". EDITED to add: The same pronunciation as "hay" or "say".

All the etymologies I looked at agreed that the words developed from Old English ǣgther, which I guess was more like "ayther".

The related words in other languages also varied - Old Frisian was the longer "ay-i" sound in ēider, but Old High German was "ay-o" or "ay-ə" ēogihweder.

Take your choice!

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 5:40:46 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Romany wrote:

And, of course, the same applies to the pronunciation of "either".


Right... Here again I tend to say "either (ai'ther) ... or...", but "either (i'ther) way" when it's a standalone word...

Back in middle school we were taught (ai'ther) / (nai'ther), then I heard (i'ther) / (ni'ther) in 90s after the "iron curtain" fell. Thanks!
Niranjan L. Bhale
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 7:10:15 AM

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Romany wrote:

And, of course, the same applies to the pronunciation of "either".


Yes, I completely agree with you.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 7:19:42 AM

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Thanks, everybody!
RuthP
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2019 12:31:22 PM

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Dialectical differences. You hear both ways in AE. Reference, the Gershwin (George & Ira) song "Let's call the Whole Thing Off"--AKA "You like tomato /təˈmeɪtə/ / And I like tomahto /təˈmɑːtə/"

You Tube: Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers: "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"
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