[Vote to reopen if you think the spoken language is worth exploring, and I think ELU includes the word 'usage']

Should you pronounce a word according to the region in which you are, as best you can?

For example, if someone is from Nevada, where everyone would pronounce 'advertisement' similar to adver tise ment, would it be considered pretentious if they pronounced it ad vert isement?

The french pastry has a an obvious longstanding pronunciation in American English as 'kruh-sahnt' (croissant). If an American then says 'krwah-sahn', particularly to another American, it seems out of place and disruptive to the conversation.

Another example is when a non-spanish speaker (I'm looking at you NPR), pronounces latin surnames and countries with a (sometimes heavy) spanish enunciation. Rodriguez can have a heavy spanish pronunciation, but then they pronounce Mexico in the American pronunciation, i.e. not 'Me-he-co'. It's inconsistent and annoying.

Is pronunciation relevant?

Should pronunciation, and even spelling (color vs. colour) be more conscientious of the speaker/listener relationship, and is not doing so, considered rude or pretentious?

When you learn a word, do you not ask "how does it sound?"

closed as primarily opinion-based by Chenmunka, AndyT, NVZ, Phil Sweet, FumbleFingers Aug 30 '16 at 15:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You're asking a sociological and psychological question here, not one regarding the correct usage of the English language. You're going to get different answers from different people, if you get any at all. This question is both out of place and is not constructive as a result. – R Mac Aug 30 '16 at 15:02
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    While matters of Dialect differences and Pronunciation (phonetics and phonology, dialectology) are within scope of the ELU, this question seems to be about the etiquette of using pronunciations and as such would seem to be out of scope for the site. I always hesitate to tell someone they are in the wrong place though, as I'm still quite new here myself, and would value other opinions. – Spagirl Aug 30 '16 at 15:03
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    I fail to see how pronunciation of a single word one way or the other can be "disruptive to a conversation". Too much noise or screaming kids might be, though. – Lambie Aug 30 '16 at 15:09
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    I understand that this might be a fringe question and I considered that before posting. I think though, it has plenty of precedence on this site, particularly in the form of 'Usage'. For example, you'd probably caution someone on the use of 'femme fatale'. What's acceptable in one setting might not be in another. Pronunciation seems like a logical extension of how we use words and the risk they carry when we use them. – John Aug 30 '16 at 15:34
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    @John: Who are you to say that noo-cue-lar is incorrect, when there is a whole swath of the country that pronounces it that way? Also, I am not going to start pronouncing car-mell as care-a-mell no matter where I am, and I don't see why anybody else should either. – Peter Shor Aug 30 '16 at 18:34

In general, I think it would be deemed odd to pronounce something in a manner different to the vernacular, especially if you are mostly speaking in the vernacular. Whether it is deemed pretentious or not will depend on the pronunciation and the person.

For instance if you spoke in RP (Queen's English) any English speaking nations other than England, and probably even in parts of England, it would likely sound pretentious.

On the other hand, if you say foreign words with their foreign pronunciation (think croissant, or Macedonia, etc) people will think you are saying the word oddly and it may even hinder their understanding a little ("what is Makedonia?"), but they may or may not think it's rude or pretentious. If they feel you are insinuating they are pronouncing words incorrectly, they may be offended.

  • "[...] I think [...]," is a feature every answer to this question must necessarily have in common. Viewers of this question should be careful not to take these answers as fact, as they represent only the opinion of the person giving the answer. – R Mac Aug 30 '16 at 16:12
  • @RMac, a vast amount of the English language was created based on consensus. You'd want someone to tell you not to extend your left hand in Saudi Arabia even though you think it's fine. Tipping is great, unless you're in Japan. And you'd probably want someone to tell you your 'okay' sign is not very nice in Brazil. Language is no different and regional distinctions are not guided by opinion. – John Aug 30 '16 at 17:15

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