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I speak Australian English, but I seem to pronounce the words many and anything differently from how the vast majority of people here do so.

I pronounce it using an a sound rather than an e sound like they do. Nobody has been able to tell me an existent rule that deems my pronunciation incorrect.

Why would I be pronouncing this differently and thinking meny and enything sounds wrong? Please help!

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I think what you are actually asking here is the situation of your fellow Australians pronouncing any as [ɪnɪ] instead of as [ɛnɪ] or [ɛni] like the rest of us do. You seem to be using a normal [ɛ], unlike your countrymen. –  tchrist May 1 '13 at 14:40

1 Answer 1

This shows the typical pronunciation of any to be /ˈɛni/. The /ɛ/ is the same sound as at the beginning of end, not the sound at the beginning of anvil (/æ/).

Spelling and pronunciation are not strictly related. If you want to pronounce any as /ˈæni/ you're welcome to, it doesn't sound so different that you'll be misunderstood, it's just not the typical pronunciation.

As to why you pronounce it like that. Either you do it deliberately, or it's how you were raised.

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In American English, anvil is pronounced with initial /æ/. And I would say that English spelling is related only distantly to English pronunciation, and can't be relied on. So the question presupposes that printed letters are pronounced, and if the author can dispense with that, there will be no need for questions like this. –  John Lawler May 1 '13 at 13:42
    
I've updated to use IPA, not whatever the site I've lunk to uses. –  Matt Эллен May 1 '13 at 14:03
    
@JohnLawler I wonder if some sort of bag–beg merger might be at work here. Certainly in some parts of Anglophonia those two words are confusable, so perhaps it happens in other phonetic situations as well. Maybe for the speaker Danny’s and Denny’s are homophones — which would be a bit like pin–pen but going the other way, like some sort of pin–pen–pan continuum. –  tchrist May 1 '13 at 14:06
    
It's sporadic; before nasals it's particularly hard to distinguish /æ/ from /ɛ/, but the distinction's been mutated. For instance, in my speech the affirmative modal can is /kɛn/ when stressed, but the negative modal can't is /kænt/, and the final /t/ is usually lost, so the vowel distinguishes for me. –  John Lawler May 1 '13 at 14:19
    
I have heard a few people pronouce "any" with the same initial sound as "anvil", but it seems forced. We have that group of sounds in our vocabulary, but it is a lady's name, "Annie". I hear a lot of people pronounce "any" and "end" with the same initial sounds as "inside". I like "the question presupposes that printed letters are pronounced" Obviously, too often, they are not. –  TecBrat May 1 '13 at 15:23

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