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This may sound silly, but I keep hearing people saying "thuh" instead of "thee" for "the" in front of adjectives or nouns starting with a vowel or a diphthong. Like, "thuh' old people, "thuh" other side. I speak the Queen's English (but am not a native speaker). I first noticed this watching the well-known English journalist and historian Andrew Marr on the BBC talking like this. He did this so frequently, almost consistently, that it started bothering me. I don't mind if people start talking like this, I just want to know if this is a new trend. I wrote to the Beeb about this, and they recited basic grammar rules about the pronunciation of "the" in reply, as if I was retarded. Whether you're British English or American, can you help me out? Do you yourself sometimes - or frequently - say "thuh" other side, "thuh" old stuff? (Please don't send me grammar rules. I am a retired English teacher.)

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    Uh other related phenomenon is when those same people say uh apple or uh hour or uh article or uh eye or uh elocution lesson or uh educative failure. :) – tchrist Nov 17 '19 at 23:47
  • @tchrist: uh ... the word is nother. As in uh nother, uh whole nother, and uh single nother. – Peter Shor Nov 18 '19 at 8:40
  • Andrew Marr is actually Scottish, not English. This habit (which I find odd too) seems to be more common among Scots. – Kate Bunting Nov 18 '19 at 9:36
  • As a Scot, like Marr, I would only use a 'thee' pronunciation for emphasis; 'EL&U is the place for (serious) English language enthusiasts'. The pronunciation in front of 'old people' would be more like 'theh' than 'thuh', its halfway to 'thee' but not all the way there, OR the 'e' would disappear completely and I'd be talking about 'th'old people'. I was never taught in Scottish schools that 'the' had a different pronunciations before vowels and consonants, though I have no idea if that was a universal. I'll pay more attention to my colleagues when I'm in a meeting later and report back. – Spagirl Nov 18 '19 at 15:03