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Is "pronunciate" a word? At first it doesn't seem to be, but why not? "Pronunciation" and "pronunciative" seem to be words, so it would seem natural that "pronunciate" would be.

After Googling, I found the following here:

"Pronunciate" is a word that isn't listed in most dictionaries; Dictionary.com does mention it, but it noted that "pronunciate" is used rarely. If you use it, most people will think that you meant to use "pronounce" but screwed up. Our tip is that you use "pronounce" instead of "pronunciate," unless you want to look like a person who uses "irregardless."

"Pronunciate" can also be found on dictionary.com:

Definition: to declare or pronounce

Furthermore, I have heard the use of this word fairly often in speech. I have always assumed it was a word.

Despite all of this evidence, "pronunciate" seems to have very little usage (see dictionary.com link), and is not listed in most major dictionaries, including the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I have tried typing "pronunciate" on computers, and all spellcheck programs I have tried has flagged it as a typo.

Is "pronunciate" a word? Is it ok to use it in a sentence? This will probably come down to whether common usage has created this word. In you answer, please back yourself up with applicable evidence/proof.

Thanks!

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Some words are just mistakes that became words. It's annoying. But that's what pretty much all words are right now. Your teacher should mark you down for using pronunciate though. –  Mitch May 8 at 13:59
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It is non-standard usage. If you want a (prescriptive) guide to standard American usage (in other words, a dictionary that will tell you what most people think is the "right" word to use in formal writing), the American Heritage Dictionary is a good resource. If you are looking for a descriptive dictionary that will tell you what most people actually use, the Merriam-Webster family of dictionaries are good for non-scholarly uses, and the Oxford English Dictionary is best for serious research of usage. All three likely would not include "pronunciate." –  outis nihil May 8 at 14:03
    
Could you supply a sample definition for pronunciate? I'm curious. –  TRiG May 8 at 14:54
    
@TRiG edited. To pronounce is to make the sound of a word in the correct or a particular way. –  totallyuneekname May 8 at 15:27
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Why not? Because pronunciation is formed from the verb pronounce, and it reduces the /aw/ vowel to /ə/ because the -ation suffix shifts the stress to the next syllable. *Pronunciate is a back-formation from pronunciation, but there appears to be no demand for another way to pronounce pronounce, so it's simply not used. OK? –  John Lawler May 8 at 15:35

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As there is the verb to pronounce from French prononcer and Latin pronuntiare, there is no need to coin a second verb from pronunciation.

To pronounce has been in use for over 500 years, so a second and longer verb is unnecessary.

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Based on your research, it looks like many common dictionaries don’t contain that word.

You’re better off using pronounce instead of pronunciate.

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I didn't say that it's not a word; I said that many common dictionaries don't consider it a word. –  Jason Geffner May 8 at 18:27
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Ah but yes you did. The OED considers many things words that it does not itself mention. Therefore you cannot say that because a dictionary does not contain a word that it does not consider it a word. –  tchrist May 8 at 18:28
    
"Ah but yes you did." - Eh, I don't agree with your view on what I said but there's really no point in us getting into an argument about it. "The OED considers many things words that it does not itself mention." - Fair enough; I've updated my answer above. –  Jason Geffner May 8 at 18:33

Pronunciate is a word that has come into limited use due to a failure to properly hear or understand the word enunciate.

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I have used it. And for those that argue against it, annunciate is in the Oxford dictionary when announce can be used.

...and so is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

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There is a general tendency I lament towards what I call "word inflation", which can be characterized as applying a principal I've just formulated (but which others may have formulated before me), "Why use a two syllable word when you can use a word with three syllables?" So, "pronounce" becomes "pronunciate", and the report which uses pronunciate instead of pronounce a thousand times, becomes a couple of pages longer, with no more effort than typing a couple thousand keystrokes. The latest manifestation of this I've notised is "Absolutely" for "yes". –  brasshat Jul 12 at 0:12
    
@brasshat He muttered to himself, pronuncificationalistically. –  tchrist Aug 5 at 4:51

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