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.

I'm a native English speaker (Texas counts, I suppose), and I pronounce "your" to rhyme with "core", and "you're" to rhyme with "cure". Is it just me or did I pick this up somewhere?

share|improve this question
2  
Yeah, we ain't fixin' to discriminate aginst y'all ;) –  mplungjan Apr 3 '11 at 9:06
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The American English pronunciation for you're is /jʊ(ə)r/, /jər/; the pronunciation for your is /jʊ(ə)r/, /jər/.
In British English, the pronunciation are respectively /jɔː/, /jə/, /jʊə/; and /jɔː/, /jʊə/.

share|improve this answer
1  
There is nothing at all wrong with /jɔːr/. –  tchrist Apr 3 '11 at 17:49
    
@kiamlaluno: This is correct, but many/most British English speakers frequently use say /jɔː/ for both you're and your. –  psmears Apr 3 '11 at 18:38
    
@psmears: There is also who pronounces you're as /jə/. I don't know how much people use that pronunciation, but it still one of the possible pronunciations in British English. –  kiamlaluno Apr 3 '11 at 21:47
    
This is probably a helpful answer to people who know what "/jʊ(ə)r/" means, but from the context of the question, it should be clear that I'm not one of them. –  Carl Brannen Apr 3 '11 at 22:19
    
It means the pronunciation could be /jʊr/ or /jʊər/. /ər/ is the pronunciation for r. –  kiamlaluno Apr 3 '11 at 22:29
show 6 more comments

I looked up the dictionary, since I'm not a native speaker and the IPA gives the same pronunciation, even though there are two possible pronunciations.

your |yôr; yoŏr| - possessive adjective
1. belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressing : what is your name?

and

you're |yoŏr; yôr| - contraction of you are : you're an angel, Deb!

So I suppose that what you referred to was about the accent? Considering you said you are from Texas and not, for example, from England or another English speaking country.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In the U.K. we are taught that they all sound the same (at least I was). Its this that gives the words their difficulty for native speakers. When you learn to write you realize that one spoken word is written in different ways that depends upon the context.

It could be that in some schools they give slightly different pronunciations to the words, so that when children learn to speak they realize that they are different words from an earlier age - ready for when they learn to write.

A German speaking friend remarked once that he found the mistake very funny. But he learnt to write English at the same time as he learnt to speak, so they were always different words. There was never the confusion.

Its similar to their, there and they're - for me they are all said the same.

share|improve this answer
add comment

UPDATE: The American Heritage Dictionary agrees with you. They list /yôr/ as an acceptable variant pronunciation for your but not for you're. However, since they don't say what dialects this pronunciation is found in, I don't know whether the speculation in my original post below is correct.

ORIGINAL POST: In the U.S., there are a number of accents which don't have the phoneme /ʊɹ/ in moor. (My mother, from rural Illinois, had one of these accents, and I used this accent's pronunciation for many of these words when I was young.) In these accents, the phoneme is replaced by either /ɝ/ as in purr or /ɔɹ/ as in pore; the rule is that generally, words that are pronounced with /jʊɹ/ (pure, cure) the phoneme is replaced by /jɝ/, and words that are pronounced with no /j/ (poor, moor, sure), the phoneme is replaced by /ɔɹ/.1 It may be that in some of these accents, you're and your get disambiguated by having you're rhyme with purr, and your rhyme with pore. I do know that pronouncing you're with /ɔɹ/ sounds wrong to me, whereas pronouncing your either way sounds fine.

I'm just guessing, but it's possible that one of these accents influenced your pronunciation of your and you're.

1 This rule only works for the final syllable of words. Otherwise, the sound generally changes to /ɝ/.

share|improve this answer
    
/jɔɹ/ ≠ /jʊɹ/ ≠ /jɚ/ –  tchrist Apr 3 '11 at 17:57
    
@tchrist: I agree; I pronounce more, moor, and myrrh all differently, but not all Americans do. What are you trying to say? –  Peter Shor Apr 3 '11 at 18:35
add comment

This is intriguing.

In theory, they should sound the same; though one person might pronounce the words differently from another person, they should only have one pronunciation for both words.

That said, I am a from England and there are indeed many pronunciation variations without even travelling to the other Eng speaking countries (America, Canada, Australia - even India and Singapore).

What makes this even more difficult to comment on is that I don't know how you pronounce the words 'core' and 'cure' as there are places in England where these words would 'rhyme' with each other - of course 'cure' has a diphthong (the inclusion of the 'y' sound at the beginning of the vowel sound) but they could both end with the same sound (like the word 'or').

c - or

c - y - or

So...

Your - you're

There is no real reason that one person should pronounce these two words differently; they are homophones, which means they sound identical.

However, dialectical variations are innumerable and so we can't really tell you you are wrong.

share|improve this answer
    
Hi, @tchrist. Unless I'm missing something, the words 'your' and 'you're' are not available on that page. Perhaps a direct link to those examples? But, to clarify, I accept that in different dialects there would be differences. My point is that in standard pronunciation, those words (your and you're) are homonyms. Other homonyms include (there - their - they're) (lye - lie). Of course, as you travel between areas with different dialects, you may well find the words within these groups to have distinct pronunciations but there is no denying that it is a dialectic effect, I'm sure you'll agree. –  Karl Apr 3 '11 at 18:21
    
@Karl: In what "theory" should these two words sound the same? –  mgkrebbs Apr 3 '11 at 19:18
    
Based on RP as the accepted standard for English pronunciation. As stated, I accept that different dialects would have their own variations, but as an answer to the question posed, these two words are homonyms in standard English pronunciation. I'm surprised that that fact is being questioned. –  Karl Apr 3 '11 at 19:23
    
Also, OED online gives the following as the same IPA for both 'your' and 'you're': /jɔː/, /jʊə/ with 'you're' having the added possibility of /jə/, such as a some Northern English dialects might have in an utterance like "you're kidding, aren't you?" –  Karl Apr 3 '11 at 19:27
    
Funny, I don't pronounce they're, their, and there the same either. –  Carl Brannen Apr 3 '11 at 22:18
show 3 more comments

Your: [ye-or].

You’re: [you-r].

You’re is a contraction of you and are. We remove/clip the ‘ay’ sound leaving ‘re’ ([r] for ‘Rudolph’, not [ar] for ‘arse’), and then we run the two words together forming [you-r].

To pronounce your and you’re the same creates confusion, and personally I think it is incorrect: they are not homophones.

share|improve this answer
    
It’s not a matter of “correctness”. It is simply what people do. –  tchrist Mar 4 '13 at 2:40
    
@tchrist, I wish my professors would follow that mantra when grading my papers. They continuously mistake “simply what I do” for some sort of errors. –  theUg Mar 4 '13 at 2:42
    
@theUg Clearly you must be referring to oral papers, since we are treating with pronunciation of homophones here. –  tchrist Mar 4 '13 at 2:44
2  
I just checked five online dictionaries, and they all disagreed with this answer (that is, they all listed identical pronunciations for both words). NOTE: They also listed more than one pronunciation for each word, so it's quite possible for someone to pronounce each of these two words uniquely. That said, the assertion that "they are not homophones" is fallacious. –  J.R. Mar 4 '13 at 2:48
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.