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 know that Australians pronounce Aussie like Oz-ee. However, how should Americans pronounce it?

I have, in the past, politely corrected Americans when I hear the typical "aw-see" (\ä-sē\). It seems to be pretty widely unknown that Australians say Oz-ee.

Then, I came across a website that specifically listed Oz-ee in the wrong pronunciation column (not even in the "alternate" column). I emailed the author saying that I did not understand why this pronunciation was explicitly in the "wrong" column, and not at the very least in the alternate column.

This set the author off into a rant about how tiny dialects should not be indulged with setting the correct pronunciation for the rest of the English-speaking world. However, amid all the ranting, the only objection I really received was that the ss shouldn't become a z.

So what's the answer? Should English-speakers, no matter their dialect, use the pronunciation that the subject of the word itself uses? Or was this author correct, that the generally-accepted North American usage of aw-see is categorically "correct" for general usage, and Oz-ee should be relegated to "tiny, insignificant, meaningless dialects"*?

In other words, which is the correct pronunciation for North American speakers? I guess this question has three possible answers:

  1. The Australian pronunciation is correct.
  2. Both are OK.
  3. Americans should regard the Australian pronunciation as wrong for the North American accent/dialect.

* His words, not mine :) I repeat it here to give a sense of the tone of the rant, not because I (even remotely) concur.

share|improve this question
3  
"tiny, insignificant, meaningless dialects" - like Aussie ? –  mgb Jun 21 '11 at 22:45
    
@Renesis Interesting. I'd like to know how often you hear other Americans say Aussie? In retrospect, I feel that we simply use Australian in almost all contexts unless we're trying to be amusing... –  HaL Jun 22 '11 at 1:11
3  
One can answer the question of what North American speakers do in general, though you already linked the dictionary entry which clearly shows both variations and where they are used. Beyond that, you're just asking for people's opinions about how they think people should pronounce this word. So the facts that answer the objective part of your question are already laid out, leaving this question as subjective and argumentative. –  Kosmonaut Jun 22 '11 at 1:39
    
@Kosmonaut, actually I am just asking what is correct, I haven't concluded that is subjective at all. The link is one source for common/accepted usages across the spoken English language. I really would like more than just opinion. That one can find arguments against answers to the question doesn't make the question itself argumentative (just look at Stack Overflow). –  NickC Jun 22 '11 at 1:53
2  
@Renesis: There is no governing body for the English language that says one pronunciation is right and others are wrong. So, aside from sources for common/accepted usages, what would one base an objective answer on? In other words, how can someone answer what North American and other English speakers "should" do, without just giving an opinion? Indeed, the top-voted answer is an opinion. –  Kosmonaut Jun 22 '11 at 2:15
show 4 more comments

closed as not constructive by Jasper Loy, Rhodri, Robusto, Marthaª, kiamlaluno Jun 22 '11 at 15:12

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

6 Answers

"Aussie" first of all, is pronounced "Oz-ee" as you pointed out. That's how it's pronounced here in Australia.

It doesn't matter if it doesn't follow the rest of the pronunciation of the world. It's like our name, and our name is pronounced the way we pronounce it.

This is like when you ask someone his name, he will tell you how to pronounce it, even if it doesn't seem to follow English pronunciaton names. i.e. Boissevain is pronounced "Boh-se vah" (That's my friend's name).

share|improve this answer
7  
It's also pronounced 'Ozzie' in England. –  Marcin Jun 22 '11 at 0:43
7  
When you say "United States of America", I hope you pronounce the vowels the way we do here, or else you're doing it "wrong". More to the point, this answer is almost completely your opinion — not backed up by the dictionary, and not backed up by facts (since when does every country pronounce every other country's name/nicknames the same?). –  Kosmonaut Jun 22 '11 at 1:38
2  
Lighten up. Have you ever used the name Calcutta, or Paris? Neither is correctly pronounced by the majority of the world. I agree the Australian accent shouldn't be considered insignificant with regard to our own words, but neither should it be considered the be all and end all. Pronouncing Paris correctly is jarring in English, and it makes sense to use our own pronunciation. Regardless, it's not a major issue. –  wyatt Jun 22 '11 at 4:37
    
Well, I used to think that Paris was pronounced Pari-s, but since I knew how to pronounce it, I've changed it to "Pari", and so should anyone who have learned that "Aussie" is pronounced "Ozzie" –  Thursagen Jun 22 '11 at 4:48
1  
@Renesis: Okay, so how about my point about "United States of America"? That's a name for an English-speaking country. –  Kosmonaut Jun 22 '11 at 12:28
show 10 more comments

A few things in Australia get shortened and pronounced with a "z" sound, with or without "z" spelling, mosquito = mossie, costume = cozzy, position = pozzzy. And it happens a lot to people's names, Barry = Bazza, Darrel = Dazza, Gary = Gazza, Karen = Kaz, etc, etc. Just seems to be a sound liked in Oz by Aussies.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In the USA, we pronounce it with a soft s sound like snake rather than a z sound.

So pronounced just like it looks. I guess we are just a little softer than our brothers down under.

share|improve this answer
1  
And rounder. ;-) –  Peter K. Jun 22 '11 at 11:44
1  
Heh I go to the University of Arizona. Definitely curvy, not so many round ones around here. :) –  Smokey Jun 29 '11 at 6:44
add comment

Looks like it's both. People should use whatever they use. Look at words like adult, amen, missile, Pakistani...

share|improve this answer
add comment

As a Pom living in Australia for the last 42 years, I can only echo what @Ham and Bacon said: the pronunciation is 'Oz-ee' here.

It seems to be responsible for a back-formation: Aussies come from Oz, of course. We're not in Kansas, any more...

share|improve this answer
    
+1 We're not in Kansas, any more... –  Thursagen Jun 22 '11 at 3:19
add comment

I've lived in California all my life, and I've been pronouncing it "Ozzie" since the late 80s or so. Prior to that, I - and, I suspect, most Americans - had never heard an Australian pronounce the word; I don't recall that I said "Aussie" very often (if at all), but if I did, it certainly wouldn't have crossed my mind to turn "ss" into "z".

But a funny thing happened in the 80s: the Aussies invaded America. Crocodile Dundee, Olivia Newton-John, Foster's Lager, Men At Work, Midnight Oil... and a line of haircare products in purple bottles - called "Aussie" - that were advertised relentlessly on radio and television. I may be a slow learner, but I only had to hear that @%^& kangaroo pronounce it twenty times or so before I got the message: it's pronounced with a zed.

share|improve this answer
add comment

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