3

I've been reviewing the General American English pronunciation of the word "coir". I had previously pronounced it /kwɑɹ/ (rhyming with noir), but understand now that I was wrong.

I've found several different pronunciations of the word:

  1. /kɔɪɹ/
  2. /kɔɪɚ/
  3. /kɔɪjɚ/ - This spelling adapted from the Dictionary of the British English Spelling System by Greg Brooks, which has it as /kɔɪjə/ in British English. Screenshot attached.

From listening to YouTube videos, it sounds like Option 2 (/kɔɪɚ/) most closely matches what Americans say. (Although my previous mispronunciation of /kwɑɹ/ is also very common.) I can't hear the explicit yod in Option 3, but perhaps it's just me.

How do you pronounce the word, "coir"?

enter image description here

11
  • 1
    I think those three IPA pronunciations you give are all different represntation of the same underlying pronunciation, where coir rhymes with foyer. Jun 24, 2021 at 1:10
  • 2
    @PeterShor I think a better example would be lawyer. Foyer can also be pronounced "foi-ay" or even "fwah-yay" in imitation of French. Jun 24, 2021 at 1:16
  • 2
    @Vun-HughVaw: And lawyer can be pronounced law-yer and not loy-er. So maybe a good example is employer. Jun 24, 2021 at 1:28
  • 2
    'coir' is not a common word in English, it's orthography is not typical English (it's very typical French orthography, but not a common word there either). That said, if it is borrowed from Tamil (for coconut fiber) then it probably does rhyme with 'foyer' (either the American or British pronunciation)
    – Mitch
    Jun 24, 2021 at 2:17
  • 1
    @BoldBen I've generally heared "foy-er", and considered "foy-ay" to be use of French pronunciation for pretentiousness.
    – Barmar
    Jun 29, 2021 at 14:13

1 Answer 1

1

The difference between /kɔɪɚ/ and /kɔɪjɚ/ is purely one of notation. /ɔɪ/ already ends in a glide, though this becomes much more prominent when it precedes another vowel sound; Geoff Lindsey covers how this explains the ability of /ɔɪ/ to occur before another vowel without creating hiatus.

Dictionaries seem to disagree about whether this is pronounced as a single syllable /kɔɪɹ/ or as two syllables /kɔɪ.ɚ/; Dictionary.com provides the former but OxfordLD provides the latter. I suspect that both are found but that /kɔɪ.ɚ/ is more common, as your investigation on YouTube shows.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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