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In India, this word is quite frequently pronounced as e-JU-cate (with a J-sound). In the dictionaries I have referred to, the pronunciation is the predictable e-dyu-cate. Is the Indian pronunciation common worldwide? Is there any reason for the shift from the dictionaries? Did some look up the phonetic representation, find ɛdjʊˌkeɪt, but mistook this 'j' for 'Y'?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

British English is the same: most native speakers do not distinguish clearly between "dyu" and "ju".

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Ditto in America. – Patrick87 Feb 11 '12 at 14:18
It depends on who is hearing. In voice circles, everyone notices that difference. – RainDoctor Feb 21 '12 at 3:09

In America, it's /'ɛdʒəket/, with secondary stress on the last syllable, and primary stress on the first syllable. The second syllable is always reduced to shwa /ə/. Some people, sometimes, when they're trying to appear (what they consider) formal and/or prim, might say /'ɛdjʊket/, with secondary stress on both of the last two syllables, but the main stress is always on the first syllable. Americans in general wouldn't notice the difference between /dj/ and /dʒ/ anyway; but the stress difference they would notice immediately.

What you give as the Indian pronunciation, if I read you correctly, might be something like /ɛ'dʒʊket/, with primary stress on the second syllable. Many Americans would not understand this pronunciation, or might take a second to recognize it in speech. Of course in writing there is no problem, isn't it?

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I only disagree with one detail: AmE speakers would immediately notice how out of the ordinary /dj/ was. AmE speakers for the most part only use and expect the affricate. To them it's roughly the difference between 'edge uh kate' and 'ed you kate', very noticeable. – Mitch Feb 11 '12 at 15:42
Quite noticeable. But not always noticed because it's not picked up by many native speakers' broadly-tuned bandpass filters. People vary a lot in terms of what they expect to experience, and how much they notice when reality doesn't meet their expectations. – John Lawler Feb 11 '12 at 16:43

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