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View Poll Results: How do you say "milk"?
"Milk", rhymes with "silk" or "ilk" 322 85.41%
"Melk", rhymes with "elk" 49 13.00%
Other 6 1.59%
Voters: 377. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-04-2014, 02:17 PM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I can't even figure out for the life of me how they would sound any different! To me they all sound like "MAIR-ree." How does anyone else say them?
No one I know does any differently, regardless of their origin.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:15 PM
 
12,660 posts, read 10,505,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Honestly, I've lived literally all over the world, and traveled as a corporate trainer teaching seminars all over the US, and never heard "Mary, merry, and marry" pronounced significantly differently by Americans. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, because I'm sure I haven't heard every American accent out there, but I'm just saying I've never heard it (other than with the name "Mary" - see below). And I'm pretty well traveled.

To me, those examples you posted sound like "Mair-ee, May ree and Meh reh" - totally weird. And though I have heard the name "Mary" pronounced like "May-ree" before, I usually associate that with a pretty backwoods accent.
If you come to NJ you would!

There was a recent article in one of our papers around Christmas explaining how our accents are some of the only ones in the country that pronounce the three differently. Many others around the US say either "Mary" or "Marry" Christmas, not "Merry". Merry is like meh-ree.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,758 posts, read 36,172,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
If you come to NJ you would!

There was a recent article in one of our papers around Christmas explaining how our accents are some of the only ones in the country that pronounce the three differently. Many others around the US say either "Mary" or "Marry" Christmas, not "Merry". Merry is like meh-ree.
Well, I have been to New Jersey, but I guess I just didn't notice the difference. I think it must be VERY slight. (By the way, I like New Jersey and loved listening to the different accents!) Oh, and speaking of VERY - I say it like this - "VAIR-ree." How do you say it?

Do you REALLY say the name "Mary" like it was in that video? It sounded like "MAY-ree." I've always heard it pronounced "Mair-ee." Which also sounds like "Will you MAIR-ee me?" and "MAIR-ee Christmas!"

Even when I say "MEH -ree Christmas" vs "MAIR-ee Christmas" the difference is so subtle it's hardly noticeable. And on the video, that girl definitely said, "MEH-reh" - she did not end the word with an "ee" sound - which struck me as very odd.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:38 PM
 
12,660 posts, read 10,505,128 times
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\
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Well, I have been to New Jersey, but I guess I just didn't notice the difference. I think it must be VERY slight. (By the way, I like New Jersey and loved listening to the different accents!) Oh, and speaking of VERY - I say it like this - "VAIR-ree." How do you say it?

Do you REALLY say the name "Mary" like it was in that video? It sounded like "MAY-ree." I've always heard it pronounced "Mair-ee." Which also sounds like "Will you MAIR-ee me?" and "MAIR-ee Christmas!"

Even when I say "MEH -ree Christmas" vs "MAIR-ee Christmas" the difference is so subtle it's hardly noticeable. And on the video, that girl definitely said, "MEH-reh" - she did not end the word with an "ee" sound - which struck me as very odd.
Actually, it is quite noticeable. You just may not hear it if you're visiting here, because really, who says all 3 conversationally on a daily basis so you'd actually think to notice it? I know one person named Mary and I don't say merry unless it's in regards to Christmas. Mary is like mare-ee, marry is like mah-ree, and merry is like meh-ree. Some people might say it a bit differently but overall we pronounce the three differently. I didn't watch the video, but I say Mary like mare(like the female horse)-ee. But say it fast, not slow and broken up, so the r blends.

So you have "mare", "mah", and "meh". All three very different sounds.
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,758 posts, read 36,172,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
\

Actually, it is quite noticeable. You just may not hear it if you're visiting here, because really, who says all 3 conversationally on a daily basis so you'd actually think to notice it? I know one person named Mary and I don't say merry unless it's in regards to Christmas. Mary is like mare-ee, marry is like mah-ree, and merry is like meh-ree. Some people might say it a bit differently but overall we pronounce the three differently. I didn't watch the video, but I say Mary like mare(like the female horse)-ee. But say it fast, not slow and broken up, so the r blends.

So you have "mare", "mah", and "meh". All three very different sounds.
No, what I'm saying is that I've never noticed anyone from NJ (or anyone else for that matter inside the US) saying those words any differently than I do. Any of them. Ever. Not saying they don't, but usually I do notice differences in accents so it must not be widespread.

The video must not have been a good example - go listen to it and tell me if you think it's accurate. Honestly, that girl said, "MARE - ee" for "marry," MAY- ree" for "Mary," and "MEH-reh" for "merry." The other one was similar. I'd be curious to know if you think they sound like people talk in your neck of the woods.
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:06 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,988 posts, read 41,967,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Honestly, I've lived literally all over the world, and traveled as a corporate trainer teaching seminars all over the US, and never heard "Mary, merry, and marry" pronounced significantly differently by Americans. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, because I'm sure I haven't heard every American accent out there, but I'm just saying I've never heard it (other than with the name "Mary" - see below). And I'm pretty well traveled.

To me, those examples you posted sound like "Mair-ee, May ree and Meh reh" - totally weird. And though I have heard the name "Mary" pronounced like "May-ree" before, I usually associate that with a pretty backwoods accent.
I pronounced (sometimes?) marry a bit differently from the other two, but they all sound close, I couldn't pick up if someone switched them. The video's pronunciation of Mary sounds normal to me, how else would you pronounce "Mary".

I think only a NYC accent* distinguishes between all three in the US, most British accents do as well. The video sounds like the usual NYC pronunciation, although again I have trouble noticing the difference between his mary/merry pronounciation. Someone with an accent that merges all three sounds will have even more difficulty in hearing the difference.

*Eastern New England and Philly might, too.

Would you pronounce hairy and Harry the same?

Last edited by nei; 01-04-2014 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,419 posts, read 11,926,143 times
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The Mary/Merry/Marry merger is common in most U.S. dialects. The exceptions are the areas around Boston, Providence, New York, and Philadelphia. In all four Mary and Merry are pronounced differently in the same way, but in Philly, as I noted, merry rhymes with worry instead.

In various other parts of the country people pronounce two of the three different.
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,758 posts, read 36,172,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I pronounced (sometimes?) marry a bit differently from the other two, but they all sound close, I couldn't pick up if someone switched them. The video's pronunciation of Mary sounds normal to me, how else would you pronounce "Mary".

I think only a NYC accent* distinguishes between all three in the US, most British accents do as well. The video sounds like the usual NYC pronunciation, although again I have trouble noticing the difference between his mary/merry pronounciation. Someone with an accent that merges all three sounds will have even more difficulty in hearing the difference.

*Eastern New England and Philly might, too.

Would you pronounce hairy and Harry the same?
Yep, they sound the same to me.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,064 posts, read 54,565,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Yep, they sound the same to me.
Never thought of that one. I think I would giggle like an immature schoolgirl if I heard someone call a person named Harry "Hairy".
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:47 PM
 
Location: The analog world
17,086 posts, read 9,867,125 times
Reputation: 22744
Milk, like silk.

Colorado Front Range
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