My question is about people who pronounce "-lived" in "short-lived" to rhyme with "dived" rather than "sieved".
I'd just like to say I've only ever heard "long-lived" pronounced in this way from North American speakers. I have only heard it pronounced this way (consciously) twice now. Three American dictionaries give both pronunciations, and strangely two of them give the "dived"-rhyming version first, even though it's definitely less common. Further, there is a usage note by the American Heritage Dictionary:
Usage Note: The pronunciation (-līvd) is etymologically correct since the compound is derived from the noun life, rather than from the verb live. But the pronunciation (-lĭvd) is by now so common that it cannot be considered an error. In our 2005 survey, 90 percent of the Usage Panel found (-lĭvd) acceptable and 75 percent found (-līvd) acceptable.
One thing I find a bit surprising is that 10% of the usage panel didn't find the more common way acceptable.
When I first heard this pronunciation I thought it was just a strange speaker. Hearing it for the second time has made me research this and realize there may be many (I don't know what proportion) who pronounce it this way.
Here are a number of videos that show this:
- I Am the Resurrection and the Life
John Singleton Copley's Declaration of Interdependence
- Freedom and Religion
- The Constitution as political theory
- Hartnett: The Great Rotation
- What Distinguishes a Pathogen from a Non-Pathogen?
- The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and Inequality
- Linguistics, Style and Writing in the 21st Century,
By Steven Pinker
- Cosmos: Episode 8 by Carl Sagan
There are two speakers I can identify from the examples above. One is Steven Pinker, who as far as I can tell grew up until about 22 years of age in Quebec. Another is Carl Sagan, who grew up in Brooklyn and then moved to Chicago at the age of 16. Also, I've heard a late teens to early 20s age range African-American say it in this way, probably the only "young" person I've heard this from.
The thing I find interesting is that I'm sure (it being a rare pronunciation) friends and colleagues have mentioned this to them or asked why they pronounce it that way, but they seem to have continued to do so. Or maybe I'm wrong that it's a rare pronunciation?
There are some possible explanations I can think of for this:
1.The pronunciation is reflective of a regional pronunciation, however small it may be (district, street, building). I'm not sure about this, as you'd find more speakers pronouncing it this way.
2.The pronunciation is reflective of a small social group of acquaintances or family. I'm still not sure of this. I still think we would expect more instances of this pronunciation to be heard.
3.These pronunciations are just an idiosyncrasy of the individual speaker. (by idiosyncrasy I don't mean quirk or abnormal, I just mean particular to the way they speak.)
I find the last explanation the most likely. Either way it's a uniquely North American phenomenon (I think).
Does anyone have any idea of what possible influences could be affecting this particular pronunciation? Are there regions where this is more common? Is it more a function of class or age? Just personal preference? Or maybe just chance?