ABC presenter's pronunciation for his Prime Minister -> Abbott ; original programme

The presenter, as do other Aussies in the programme, pronounces Abbott as /ˈɛb ət/, while dictionary.com has /ˈæb ət/. Is the dictionary wrong?

When they in Australia call their Prime Minister /ˈɛb ət/, others do /ˈæb ət/?

Or /æ/, dragged by /b/, has approached to /ɛ/?

(When people say /ɛ/ instead of /æ/ it's called broad accent in wikipedia.org, I don't believe they are using it.)

  • 3
    It's just that Aussies often pronounce /æ/ (as in "cat") as /ɛ/ (as in "bed"). So do South Africans, and probably many other "dialectal" speakers. These are not significant differences to most Anglophones - we quickly get used to people with different accents consistently applying such vowel changes. Dec 17, 2013 at 5:06
  • 1
    Everything gets shorter: bed is close to /bɪd/. Some IPA helper charts don't cover AuE at all.
    – Andrew Leach
    Dec 17, 2013 at 7:04
  • 1
    And names vary with region and family history. Hence while the composer Dvořák is /ˈdvɔr̝ɑːk/ his relative who designed the keyboard is /ˈdvɔræk/.
    – Jon Hanna
    Dec 17, 2013 at 11:16
  • The proper pronunciation is "HEEEEEYYYYY ABBBOTTTTTT!"
    – mmyers
    Dec 18, 2013 at 2:15

1 Answer 1


Pronunciation differs between dialects. Dictionary.com's pronunciation is most likely a General American dialect where "Abbott" would indeed be pronounced as in their example.

With regards to names, pronunciation is dictated by parents for given names and culture/tradition for surnames. If Australians typically pronounce Abbott as /ˈɛb ət/ then it would follow that their Prime Minister's name should be pronounced /ˈɛb ət/. In the end, the final authority would be Abbott himself.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

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