There's a long and dry story to this, so I'll just get to the point and ask the question:

Does everyone in the U.S. (and beyond?) pronounce the beginnng of the word "Buick" with the "Spanish" combination B/V sound, or is this a regional thing?

That is, when I hear people mention this make of car, it sounds as if they begin the word with a sound that is a cross between the letters B and V, so that you could just as easily think the person were saying either "View-ick" or "Byoo- ick" but you're not sure which one they intend.

This is the only "English" (?) word I've ever noticed with its "B" being pronounced in the Spanish ("B = V = B", or "B = BV") fashion.

Is this a common anomaly (IOW, is it pronounced that way throughout the US or even the world)? If not, what is the usual way of pronouncing it? If what I've heard is a regionalism, how wide is that region (perhaps limited to northern California)?

  • 7
    I'm from the US Midwest and I've never heard anything but Byoo-ick. – Kristina Lopez Feb 24 '16 at 20:00
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    I live in Upstate New York and have consistently heard the /b/ pronunciation. – GrimGrom Feb 24 '16 at 20:01
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    Never heard of it being anything but Buick with a B. But then it is not a word much used in Britain because General Motors have never sold under that marque in Europe; preferring Opel in Germany and Vauxhall in Britain. – WS2 Feb 24 '16 at 20:06
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    Maybe I should have turned the question around and asked if anyone but me had ever heard it that way... – B. Clay Shannon Feb 24 '16 at 20:09
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    I've always assumed buckaroo to be the "Anglicized" version of vaquero, which is written that way because Spanish speakers find initial /b/ difficult to articulate. – FumbleFingers Feb 24 '16 at 20:34

I've always heard it pronounced "Byoo-ick." Without exception. This also seems to agree: http://www.pronouncenames.com/pronounce/buick

  • Maybe my dad and uncles are the only ones in the world, then...but then again, they have some other "interesting" way of saying things (from a very remote part of northern California). – B. Clay Shannon Feb 24 '16 at 21:02
  • I'll add that "Buick" is an incredibly "American" word, one that virtually everyone in the US grew up knowing and hearing, advertised on radio and TV. Even in regions with strong regional accents for other words, it would rarely be pronounced differently. Except that, about 50 years ago, there was a family living on the block behind us that pronounced it "Booick". – Hot Licks Feb 24 '16 at 21:07
  • Yes, I think the dialect I heard was English.American.Western.Californian.NorthernCalifornian.Rural.KettenpomValleyan.Shannonian – B. Clay Shannon Feb 24 '16 at 23:36

I am a Buick ... we are Scottish, originally so .. pronounced bue..ick, originating from Dundee, my relatives were obviously the car manufactures... but not that immediate family:) My parents are from Perthshire....I was born in the highlands and my history is from Viking to Jacobsen to present ... I have known a few Bewicks after the queen''s swans ... Everyone pronounces my name wrong.... I secretly appreciate having an unusual name . Imogen Buick

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