4

My coworker and I have been having this discussion for a day or two...

What is the most correct way to pronounce 'new' or 'news' ?

Does it rhyme with 'few' ? or 'snooze' ?

Does 'new crew' rhyme?

I know both 'noo' and 'nyoo' are correct, but what are the origins of the two different pronunciations?

Asking around the office, it seems that 'nyoo' might have a British English origin, but I would like to know if anyone is more knowledgeable on this topic.

  • depends on the country you live in and the correct pronunciation in your regional flavour of English. – teylyn May 12 '11 at 21:16
  • Here's a little background: I'm of Taiwanese-descent, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have no UK background, so I have no idea why I pronounce the UK version. Does anyone know the more common pronunciation for the "regional flavour" of San Francisco? – Greg May 12 '11 at 21:31
3

According to Cambridge English dictionary, new is pronounced njuː in UK and nuː or nju: in US . nu: is more frequent than nju:

ju: is similar to the sound in cue and u: is similar with the sound in moo.

The same goes for news;, the only difference of course is that you add a "z" at the end.

3

I believe the the difference between the two pronunciations nyooz and nooz is called yod-dropping. There is some debate here about whether this habit is American or a regional pronunciation in America; so far as I know (as a native speaker), it is always nyooz in British English.

  • 2
    Some Americans do it, some don't, and some drop some but not all of the droppable yods, depending on the initial consonant cluster. I don't know the geographical distribution of yod-dropping, though. If you're talking about whether it's present in the mythical accent called General American, Wikipedia says it is, and I can't argue with that. – Peter Shor May 12 '11 at 23:17
  • Brian, here's a British Youtuber who not only pronounces "news" as "nooz", but even pronounces "computer" as "kompooter". I don't know if it's a regional thing from his corner of the UK, or only in his own person speech: youtube.com/watch?v=XaPz725RNE0 – hippietrail Feb 24 '18 at 22:23
1

The curious answer here is: "both." For me, "news" rhymes both with "crew" and "few." Depends on the situation, type of statement, context, etc.

0

I'm British. I have not heard any British person pronounce it as 'noo'. It's always pronounced as 'nyoo'. I have heard Americans on tv and those who visit the UK, pronounce it as 'noo'.

0

I'm not a native English speaker but I learnt different accents of English. The word news is pronounced as "nooz" in America. The British pronounce it as "nyooz" and kif you see the word series of the letter in this way you'll find something like this there some words below you should observe

word     England   America

tube     (tyoob)   (toob)
consume  (cunsyoom)(cunsoom)
resume   (rizyoom) (risoom)
nude     (nyood)   (nood)
assume    (asyoom)  (asoom)
duel      (dyooel)  (dooel)
duke      (dyook)   (dook)
solution  (lyooshan) (looshan)      

The suffix in the word solution is different in both countries.

  • The pronunciation varies in America; many Americans pronounce it "nyooz". – Peter Shor Apr 16 '12 at 14:21
0

The phonetician J. C. Wells in his Accents of English (1982) gives an historical account of the phenomenon known as yod-dropping, which can be heard in the pronunciation of new as /nu/ as opposed to /nju/. I'll try to sum up his views by providing some excerpts from his book:

Pairs such as threw-through, brewed-brood used to be distinguished by the use of a diphthong in the former member of each pair as against a monophthong in the latter. The diphthong of the /ɪŭ/ type, developed into a rising /ju/ through the transfer of syllabicity from the first segment to the second; in certain environments the /j/ then disappeared, a development we may refer to as early yod dropping. The pairs mentioned are accordingly homophones in most accents.

In London the falling diphthong /ɪŭ/ had by the end of the 17th century given way to a rising /ĭu/, phonetically identical with the inherited /ju/ of youth etc. This development brought into existence a large number of new initial consonant clusters involving /j/. Several of them were intrinsically awkward to pronounce, so that we find that from the beginning of the 18th century the /ĭ/or /j/ element disappeared in certain environments, leaving a vowel identical with /u/ and creating new homophones such as threw-through.

The environments in which early yod dropping applied most generally are (i) after palatals (including palato-alevolars), as in chute, chew, juice, yew; (ii) after /r/, as in rude, crew, shrew, grew; and (iii) after consonant plus /l/, as in blue, flue, blew, glue.

The accents of East Anglia are notable for having extended yod dropping to most or all postconsonantal environments, for example in few /fu/, music /muzɪk/, cube /kub/, Hugh /hu/.

Other accents occupy intermediate positions, retaining /j/ after labials, velars and /h/, but perhaps not after some alveolars.

In RP there is variability in the environment of a preceding /θ, s, z, l/ as in enthusiasm /ɪn'θ(j)uzɪæzm/, suit /s(j)ut/, lewd /l(j)ud/; the yod is consistently retained after /n/, as in /nju/ new, and also after /t, d/, as in tune /tjun/, duke /djuk/ (where there is the further possibility in casual speech of yod coalescence to /tʃun/, /dʒuk/).

In General American, and also in part of the south and midlands of England, /j/ is lost after alveolars /t, d, n, l, s, z/ but not after labials or velars. In these environments General American predominantly has plain /u/, thus tune /tun/, duke /duk/, new /nu/ etc. Some easterners and southerners, however, have either /ju/ or the diphthong /ɪu/, and General American is not entirely uniform.

For an example of yod-dropping after labial, labio-dental and velar consonants, I re-link the video mentioned in one of the comments above where an East Anglian accent can be heard :

protected by RegDwigнt Apr 17 '12 at 22:11

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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