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Wiktionary lists two different UK pronunciations of data:

  • /deɪtə/ (UK, US)

  • /dɑːtə/ (Australia, UK formal)

Under what kind of circumstances would the /ɑː/ sound be used?

Which pronunciation is considered RP?

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    possible duplicate of Data pronunciation: "dayta" or "dahta"? Check out the answers. Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 11:10
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    @Mehper: I don't think the answers address either of my questions: how "data" is pronounced in RP and in which situations it's proper to say /dɑːtə/ in UK English.
    – user4727
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 11:21
  • you're forgetting /dætə/
    – nohat
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 19:52
  • @nohat: I'm talking about UK pronunciations. (Please see the deleted comments.)
    – user4727
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 19:55

3 Answers 3

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Even in formal environments, I hardly ever hear /dɑːtə/ any more. 15 years ago it was, while not common, still in usage in computer halls (back when they were computer halls) but it seemed to vanish along with the move away from mainframes to PC based servers.

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The OED gives only /deɪtə/. I've not heard anyone say /dɑːtə/ and if I did I would think it pretentious.

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I have heard /dɑːtə/ used occasionally when referring to a collection of numbers or facts in general, and /deɪtə/ almost exclusively when used with computers or data processing. /dɑːtə/ is more common in the U.K., and /deɪtə/ seems to be much more popular in recent years both in the U.S. and U.K.

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