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Both /gɛt/ and /gɪt/ show up in the Wiktionary. The etymology strongly suggests that the pronunciation /gɛt/ is older. What is the source of the pronunciation /gɪt/? Is it confined to certain regions?

It does not seem to be coming from a regular sound change, as nobody says /pɪt/ for /pet/. On the other hand, it does affect "forget" (at least for me).

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Pet is not an auxiliary verb, and is not regularly reduced in speech. By far the most common pronunciation of get is [ɡɨt], with a high central lax vowel [ɨ], as in [ɡɨ'ɾaɾɨhɪr/ 'Get out of here'. With less centralization, high front lax /ɪ/ is common for a reduced mid front lax /ɛ/. –  John Lawler Dec 18 '13 at 18:30
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Assuming OP isn't from Australia, South Africa, or some other place where /ɛ/ is routinely enunciated as /ɪ/, I think he's atypical if he does this with forget. For most native speakers, "Git!" (as in "Get going!, Giddyup!" is really just an idiomatic affectation. It doesn't affect pronunciation of the vowel in other contexts. –  FumbleFingers Dec 18 '13 at 19:03
    
Certainly a lot of speakers pronounce "git" for "get" in all contexts -- it's listed in several dictionaries, for instance. I was quite surprised to learn that there were speakers who didn't. (I am from the US and would describe my accent as Standard American.) I have not found the "forget" pronunciation in a dictionary, though. –  hunter Dec 18 '13 at 19:07
    
@hunter - I've seen folks come on here and use that same "Standard American" phrase, then throw out some crazy phrase or pronunciation unique to one small area. If you are going to discuss USA accents, it may be best to do some research to figure out exactly what regional accent you have (eg: Mine is Southern Midlands, which sounds like "no accent" to a lot of Americans, but does have some quirks) –  T.E.D. Dec 18 '13 at 19:23
    
@hunter: I don't "git" that. Are you saying it was a surprise to you to learn that most native speakers don't consistently say either git or get? That you've never heard/seen written anything like “They was just to get yer attention.” ... “Yer kind don' belong here no more. “Now, git goin', ya hear me?” I think that's not uncommon. –  FumbleFingers Dec 18 '13 at 19:23

1 Answer 1

The pronunciation of "get" is indeed a very regional thing. I believe the "prestige" pronunciation in the USA is "/gɛt/". However Southern American English shifts a lot of vowels up, including shifting "get" to /gɪt/. The related African-American Vernacular English has the same feature. That means the predominant accents in both the Southeast quarter of USA and in most of its larger urban areas uses /gɪt/.

It's even a bit more complicated than that though. My own accent (I believe a mixture of Midlands and Southern Midlands) pronounces the word slightly differently depending on where it appears in the phrase. If it's in the middle, it is more likely to be closer to "/gɛt/", while at the end, it's more like "/gɪt/".

For instance, when my kids were in daycare, a popular mantra from the daycare workers was:

"You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit."

The way this is pronounced, the two phrases rhyme. However, the two "get"s don't quite rhyme with each other.

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My daughters learned the mantra: "you get what you get, and you don't get upset." –  Peter Shor Mar 19 at 17:28
    
@PeterShor - Interesting. Perhaps here it was changed to rhyme better with our accent (or visa-versa, depending on where it was coined). –  T.E.D. Mar 19 at 17:33
    
Well ... enough of the country says 'git' that I wouldn't venture to guess which mantra came first. –  Peter Shor Mar 19 at 17:35
    
Actually, my money would be on somewhere that uses "/gɪt/", as "throw a fit" seems like it would be a much more familiar concept to a pre-schooler than "get upset". –  T.E.D. Mar 19 at 17:54

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