According to Wiktionary, pleurisy is pronounced one of two ways:

a) /ˈplʊəɹɪsi/

b) /ˈpljʊəɹɪsi/

I don't hear the /j/ sound when I say the word (in General American) - I hear it like this:


Two questions:

  1. In General American, do you hear pleurisy with or without the /j/?
  2. If you do hear it as option a (/ˈplʊəɹɪsi/), does that mean the /ʊəɹ/ in pleurisy sounds the same as the /ʊɚ/ in the words "boor, spoor, moor, Moor, poor; boorish"?
  • 2
    Most American dialects don't use [j] after a consonant cluster before [u]. – John Lawler May 2 at 21:21
  • Some Americans will pronounce the "eu" with a Y (i.e., IPA /j/) sound at the beginning. They're the same Americans who instead of pronouncing "news" as "nooz," pronounce it as "nyooz," those Americans predominantly being in the North East (including a wide swath that extends as far west as Minnesota), much of the East Coast, Southwestern Florida, and parts of the West Coast. – Benjamin Harman May 2 at 22:47

As pertains to the second question The Longman Pronunciation dictionary has this.

pleurisy 'plʊər əs i||'plʊr əs i

This means that in BrE jod is not normally used and that in Gen Am not only jod but as well the diphthong disappears. Therefore, what would be a (the) mainstream pronunciation in Gen Am is not as "boor, spoor,…".

  • 1
    Kudos for consulting a reliable source, but you're mistaking phonemes for phones. GenAm doesn't have /ʊə/, period. LPD transcribes boor, spoor, etc. with "ʊᵊr" because the realization may be diphthongal when /ɪr/, /er/ or /ʊr/ is not followed by a vowel, but the phonological contrast between e.g. nearer and mirror doesn't exist in most rhotic North American accents. So it's the same sound as the first vowel in e.g. spooring in that accent. (See Wells's Accents of English vol. 3, p. 481.) – Nardog May 3 at 8:59

I'll answer the first question. Most--if not all--American accents have lost the /j/ after certain coronal consonants so words like new, lewd, sue, stupid are pronounced without the /j/. As @herisson explained in this answer: ‘Words that historically contained /juː/ are typically spelled with u, ew or eu’. Pleurisy is spelt with eu and has /juː/ in some British accents; however, it's pronounced without the /j/ in most American accents.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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