What is the correct pronunciation of the words "clothes" and "February" in the American English? A lot of people pronounce "clothes" as /kloʊz/, dropping the 'th', as for "February", I hear that the first 'r' is often dropped. Are these variants correct?
Often, I hear this in casual speech:
- Clothes turns into "close" (especially in a word like "clothespins")
- February turns into "feb-you-ary"
My dictionary allows no option at all, for dropping the first 'r' in February. However it does give the option to drop the 'th' in clothes. It just goes to show how diverse and flexible is American English.
I personally always at least try to give both of them their full pronunciations (they're tongue-twisters!), often wincing whenever I hear the more reckless versions.
But I refrain from over-reacting or lecturing anyone about it. I just take notice and file it away for future reference; not to hold it against anyone, but as a means of understanding people better.
Webster's New 20th C. Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, 2nd Ed. c.1959
I'm an American who is arguing on quota about "clothes". Being in the dictionary doesn't mean it's correct as much as it is just really common. Saying "close" instead of clothes is just lazy and calls to mind all the brain dead followers who say "literally" for emphasis when they are speaking figuratively. Just because a lot of people say it, doesnt make it correct. Loads of people say "17 year locusts" when in fact, they are cicadas which have no relation whatsoever to locusts other than they are both insects.