Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

To my ear, the former should be pronounced "vurb-ij" and the latter "fohl-ee-ij" (the endings may vary among "aj", "edge" and "ij").

I occasionally hear people say "vurb-ee-ij" and often hear "fohl-ij".

Are they interchangeable? Regional?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

According to Merriam-Webster and my own experience, the three-syllable versions of both words are the "more proper" ones. While the two-syllable version of verbiage is quite common, I rarely hear foliage with only two syllables (but this could be regional; see below). M-W marks two-syllable pronunciations of foliage as "questionable". Here is an explanatory excerpt from M-W:

The disyllabic pronunciation \ˈfō-lij\ is very common. Some commentators insist that foliage requires a trisyllabic pronunciation because of its spelling, but words of a similar pattern such as carriage and marriage do not fall under their prescription. The pronunciation \ˈfȯi-lij\ is disapproved because it suggests the transposition of the l and i in the spelling. It is not as common as \ˈfō-lij\ and may be associated with the nonstandard spelling foilage.

share|improve this answer
    
George W. Bush pronounces it \ˈfō-lij\. –  tajmo Jan 4 '12 at 23:59
add comment

In England, as often as I've heard those words used, they were always ee-aj or ee-ej (like age)at the end. So Verb-ee-aj or verb-ee-ej. Fol-ee-aj or fol-ee-ej.

share|improve this answer
    
Seconded; I’d never heard the 2-syllable version of foliage before I moved to the US. –  PLL Feb 10 '11 at 20:14
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.