Is "in-TEST-eyen" /ɪnˈtestaɪn/ a valid pronunciation for "intestine"? I looked up "intestine" in MacMillan, Oxford, Cambridge, Merriam-Webster and even the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, none of which recommends that pronunciation. However, I've heard at least two Canadians use it (Matthew Santoro and one of those guys on ASAP Science on YouTube). I have no access to any Canadian English dictionary.

So, is "in-TEST-eyen" /ɪnˈtestaɪn/ a valid (common and accepted as correct, not as a mispronunciation) pronunciation for "intestine"? Or is it just valid in Canada? Or did those Canadians simply mispronounce it?

Link to Mathew Santoro's Useless Body Parts You Have For No Reason video

  • youtube.com/watch?v=Nn7ha1kSvNA That's the Matthew Santoro video. I don't remember the ASAP Science video though, but I can assure that he said in-TEST-eyen a lot in it. Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 15:49
  • 2
    All pronunciations are valid if sincere and the spoken with confidence.
    – user31341
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 2:30
  • 1
    @jlovegren By your logic, there's no such thing as "mispronunciation", and there will be no "model" to follow. People can just start to pronounce words however the hell they want. Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 2:42
  • 1
    @Vun-HughVaw the first is the slogan, the second is the fine print.
    – user31341
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 1:58
  • 1
    @Vun-HughVaw - People can pronounce words however the hell they want regardless of what anyone says. Whether others will choose to listen depends more on whether they have something important to say than how "proper" their English is.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 4:51

3 Answers 3


This is a regional or dialectical pronunciation of the word... typical Canadian. It is no more a mispronunciation than the non-rhotic "pahh-keeng ya cahh in Bahh-sten."

One of my favorite Canadian pronunciations is for the city of Regina, Saskatchewan. It's very quaint and a bit contagious once you hear it. The vowel sounds for the i in Regina and the second i in intestine are pronounced virtually the same by many Canadians. (Long "I" like the dipthonged word "aye" or the pronoun "I")

The majority of English speakers say "reh-JEE-nah" and "in-TEST-in," both of which could be used to detect a non-Canadian accent.

  • 2
    The majority say /rəˈdʒi:nə/? Really? Or just Americans? Please do back up that claim. And arguably, if Canadians pronounce their city /rəˈdʒaɪnə/ then that's correct and the "majority" is wrong.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 8:48
  • I'm American, not Candian, but "Regina" with /aɪ/ doesn't seem quaint to me; it seems eminently reasonable. Exactly comparable to "Carolina" or "vagina" (in fact, avoiding that similarity might be part of the reason some people use /i:/ instead).
    – herisson
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:24
  • In the regions of the US where I am from (primarily the South but also the Northeast and Midwest), there are some women I know named Regina. They have all been pronounced in the second syllable with /i:/ (EE) to rhyme with blue jean. My experience with the Canadian /ai/ to rhyme with vagina caught me off guard. (I first heard it from a native Canadian in passing.) This would appear to be a surprising and unusual accent to my ears, just as the original questioner described with intestine. I should have said, "the majority of American English speakers, in my experience..."
    – uruiamme
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:47
  • If you look at the Wikipedia entry for Regina, Saskatchewan, notice the accepted pronunciation in the article's lead. This implies that this pronunciation is somewhat unusual. Being a French (originally Latin) word, the /i:/ is apparently common for French and Slavic pronunciations, like en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Regina_Spektor
    – uruiamme
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 17:03
  • In England Regina rhymes with vagina, both have the 'ahy'' sound for the second syllable. I've never heard Regina pronounced with an 'ee' sound in England.
    – Chris M
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 7:20

Canadian English has its own peculiarities and differences in pronounciation with respect to BrE and AmE are not uncommon. Intestine is one of those:

  • Somehow Canadians have found a way to make intestines sound even more gross - the last syllable rhymes with “vines” instead of “wins."

The pronunciation of Canadian English :

  • We can find the linguistic expression of the Canadian east-west connection at all linguistic levels. Vowels, for instance, love to change but when they change in Canada they have been shown to rarely – for some changes never—cross the Canada-US border. For example, the ‘Canadian shift’, first detected in the mid 1990s, affects the ‘short front vowels’.....

  • Other features include ‘Canadian raising’, the most-widely known Canadian pronunciation feature. Canadian raising affects the diphthongs in words such as wife, price, or life and house, about, or shout. Canadian pronunciations, though far from universal, are often perceived as weef instead of wife and a boot instead of about by outsiders......

Oxford Dictionaty

  • In this video it says that inTESTahyn is American, go and figure. Anfd in Forvo the Australian and the Canadian speaker both pronounce the letter i as "ahy"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 15:50
  • @Mari-LouA - I've seen that, but all dictionaries show the same pronounciation as in BrE. I have no access to Canadian dictionaries, but there is a lot of material (blogs etc.) that confirms the Canadian pronounciation.
    – user66974
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 15:51

As a native Canadian who has lived in Canada for 40 years, in California for 8 years, in Texas for 6 years and in Florida for 2 years, I can say with high confidence that intestine and Regina are usually pronounced "in-TEST-(eye)n" and "ree-J(EYE)-na" in Canada. Same pronunciation for intestine most places in USA too. Sometimes intestine is pronounced like "in-TEST-in". Intestine is almost never pronounced like "in-TEST-een" except by those with foreign dialects. Regina, for anyone who associates the name with the city, is usually pronounced "Ree-J(EYE)-na" in both USA and Canada. As a woman's name, it could be pronounced either way in Canada, but most often as "Re-JEE-na" in the US, especially by foreign English speakers and hispanics.

  • 2
    Hi Jim, I see there are actually some slight differences between this and your earlier answer... There should be an "edit" option beneath your original post (on the left side, opposite your name), so that you can make updates to the answer directly instead of posting a near-duplicate.
    – Hellion
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 19:14
  • 2
    Hi @Jim Ferguson, do you have any source(s) you can cite to back up this assertion? I know it comes from personal experience, but is there any research which concurs?
    – freeling10
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 3:42

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