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Is "flour" pronounced differently from "flower"? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 3:04:33 AM
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I was taught to pronounce "flour" and "flower" differently. That was when I was a child.

I wonder if native speakers pronounce them differently.

Thanks.
dispossessed
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 3:29:10 AM

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They are pronounced the same in England.
profpotti
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 3:52:52 AM

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In my view, one would find it difficult to detect a difference in pronunciation amongst native English speakers unless the second word were referring to a flow-er, i.e. something which flows! Dancing
tunaafi
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 4:23:12 AM

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Both the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary and the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary give the same transcription for the two words in BrE.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 4:24:14 AM

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They are not pronounced the same in some parts of England.
They are pronounced the same in Nottingham, London, Cambridge and Oxford - all towns in the southern half of Britain.

Northern English (at least most of Lancashire, Grater Manchester, Northumbria, Merseyside, Tyne & Wear and Yorkshire) has differences.

Flour - /'flaʊʳ/ (one dictionary shows /flaʊər/)

Flower - /'flaʊwəʳ/ (the same dictionary as above shows /'flaʊ ər/)

If you go to these two pages and click on the Union Jack (British flag) near the top of the page, you can hear. It's not very clear there, but many people pronounce 'flower' as two syllables, and 'flour' as one. The 'sound-bytes' in the Oxford are identical - they seem to have used the same recording for both.

Here's an example. At 3:00 he says "He went to the dentist, got set in the chair. The dentist says "How many?" - he says "The lot. Get 'em out, Flower." ("Flower" is a term used in some parts of the north-east as an address to a friend or acquaintance.)

***********
edited to add:
At least a half (likely more than a half) of people in the UK would rhyme "flower" with "power" and "flour" with "our"

Even in the Oxford, "power" is shown as two syllables with stress on the first. /'paʊwə(r)/
Whereas, "our" is shown as one syllable - /ɑː(r)/
Romany
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 6:36:10 AM
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I recorded myself and found that, as Drago says, there is a difference in the way I pronounce both words - while both my sons, who were mainly schooled in South Africa, have a very definite difference in the way they say both words.

However, had I not recorded myself I would have been convinced I pronounced them both exactly the same!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 7:17:27 AM

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Wow! - This is one of the topics on which I would have expected you to disagree.

How interesting! I think I would describe your 'accent' as "Oxbridge with some colonial influence" or "English Public School with some colonial influence" - does that sound about right?
Romany
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 7:43:28 AM
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Sigh.

Dunno, Drago. All my life I've been told I have an English (posh) accent. Here I'm told I have an 'interesting' accent.

I find myself, in private though, talking a lot of Oz, as both my sons had Aussie accents beaten into them (Literally!!), so I think the way I speak has changed a lot since I came here. "Posh" in Oz is just something to take the mickey out of, and have fun with - while here it's a Fate Worse Than Death! For the first time in my ENTIRE life I watch what I say about myself now: any mention of boarding schools, nannies, prominent people one may know or have met....all have to be carefully excised as mention of any of these brings the judgemental, unacceptable label of poshness down on one!

On the other hand, if one DOESN'T speak posh, or mention the above, at various cultural gatherings etc. one gets judged as an ignorant yobbo.

Life in the UK is very confusing!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 8:18:00 AM

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Hi Romany!

I've never been in a group where the main accent was "posh" (RP, BBC or whatever).
Even in London, the people I know are either imports (Scots, Lancastrians, Brummies - anything!) or are Londoners who speak with a London accent - a 'watered down' version of Cockney or Chav, in the same way that my own accent is a watered down version of Deep Lancashire Pennine dialect.

I obviously don't go to that kind of social gathering.

I know a couple of people who have a totally natural, ingrained, picked-up-at-birth Oxbridge/BBC accent, but it is 'a couple'.

My two "noble" friends (Duncan, Lord McNair and Steven, Baron de Koenigwarter) do not sound like that at all Whistle Anxious (though I think Duncan can do when the need arises).

FounDit
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 11:20:04 AM

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Koh Elaine wrote:
I was taught to pronounce "flour" and "flower" differently. That was when I was a child.

I wonder if native speakers pronounce them differently.

Thanks.


Most Americans would pronounce them the same.
sitifan
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 9:16:34 PM
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The word "flour" has one syllable and the word "flower" has two. But if one listens to NES, the pronunciations are very close to being the same. And in many cases the pronunciation is identical- many speakers do use two syllables for both despite the dictionaries' advice.

There's even a joke.

A: Men are so insensitive sometimes.
B: What do you mean! No we're not!
A: Okay, fine. What's your wife's favorite flower?
B: Umm... um... unbleached all-purpose, I think.

(For the non-cooks, that's a type of flour.)
Tovarish
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016 9:34:24 PM
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I repeated and repeated both words and was surprised that I do pronounce each word a little differently.

I cant compare these to BE speakers, the flour is pronounced with an emphasis on the 'our', where flower has an emphasis on the 'wer'.

My speech is not traditionally Aussie Speak, but I do have the greatest fun with a good dash of Strine.

I did not have a Private School up bringing, but both my parents spoke well and chastised me if I pronounce my words 'in a common way' quaint now.
sitifan
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2016 1:31:36 AM
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Tovarish wrote:

I did not have a Private School up bringing, but both my parents spoke well and chastised me if I pronounce my words 'in a common way' quaint now.

What does quaint now mean?
sitifan
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2016 1:54:23 AM
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sitifan wrote:
Tovarish wrote:

I did not have a Private School up bringing, but both my parents spoke well and chastised me if I pronounce my words 'in a common way' quaint now.

The word pronounce should be in the past here, shouldn't it?
What does quaint now mean?
Tovarish
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2016 5:40:46 AM
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Yes sitifan I should have written 'pronounced' past tense, typo sorry.

Quaint because I don't think modern parents chastise their children for being common, "don't be so common" etc is an old fashioned way of speaking.

What country are you from sitifan?
sitifan
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2016 12:21:53 PM
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Tovarish wrote:

What country are you from sitifan?

I'm from Taiwan. My mother tongue is Hokkien. I can speak Mandarin Chinese as fluently as a native speaker. I teach basic English at a junior high school in Taoyuan, Taiwan.
You said:
I did not have a Private School up bringing, but both my parents spoke well and chastised me if I pronounce my words 'in a common way' quaint now.
Can I rephrase your sentence as follows?
I did not have a Private School up bringing, but both my parents spoke well and chastised me if I pronounce my words 'in a common way', which is quaint now.
Wilmar (USA) 1M
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2016 2:56:40 PM

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One last bit, if you don't mind.
You said:
I did not have a Private School up bringing, but both my parents spoke well and chastised me if I pronounce my words 'in a common way', which is quaint now.

I would make 2 changes to that, to make it clearer to the reader/listener.

I did not have a Private School up bringing, but both my parents spoke well and chastised me WHEN I pronounceD my words 'in a common way', which is quaint, now.

- when I pronounced my words...
- add a comma following quaint
Adding the comma should help with he question of its meaning, since it is not a phrase of its own.


Tovarish
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2016 8:29:45 PM
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Congratulations sitifan for being multilingual, I only speak English and a good smidgen of Strine, not an official language but well understood by Aussies.

Both your and Cheryl have made pertinent suggestions.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 10:52:51 AM

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My mother used to warn me about mixing with 'common' people, too.
I never quite knew how to recognise them (but I knew they were bad).

I haven't heard it in many years.

7. derogatory considered by the speaker to be low-class, vulgar, or coarse: a common accent.

Hello sitifan - I agree - Congratulations!
I only know a few words in many languages, and can 'get by' very slowly in very basic Italian, French and Medieval Latin.

Your English is good - the only 'Taiwanese' word I know is not even really a word, I don't think - it is the 'ma' sound which changes a statement into a question.
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