1

Do most Canadians pronounce "simultaneously" like Americans with a long "i" or like the British (and presumably the rest of the Commonwealth) with a short "i"?

I'm a Gen-X Canadian and I've never been sure which pronunciation is more widely used here. I mostly hear the American pronunciation because we're inundated with American media, but I rarely ever hear the word spoken among my family, friends and co-workers. I've always used the British pronunciation, but my gut feeling is that the American pronunciation is probably dominant in Canada.

1
  • The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2 ed.) gives both pronunciations. I don't know how you'd find out for sure which is more common.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 5, 2023 at 14:36

1 Answer 1

1

I found three Canadian dictionaries at OpenLibrary.org (free to sign up, awesome resource).

In the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition (2006 paperback), both the American long "i" and British short "i" pronunciations are listed, with the long "i" pronunciation listed first.

In the Nelson Canadian Dictionary (1997), it was the same as the Oxford.

In the Gage Canadian Dictionary, Revised and Expanded (1997), it was also the same as the Oxford.

I'm assuming that dictionaries list the more common pronunciation first. Whether that's true or not for any given dictionary, it's quite interesting (and highly suggestive to me) that three different dictionaries listed the long "i" pronunciation first.

Just as an aside, I find it weird that seemingly every word that begins with "sim" is pronounced with a short "i"—except for this one. Dang Americans. :)

4
  • 1
    The pronunciations aren't always listed in order by all dictionaries, and they generally aren't based on empirical research or statistical evidence.
    – alphabet
    Jul 9, 2023 at 6:06
  • I wonder if the "i" is long because of the stress pattern (primary stress on third syllable, secondary on the first). "Simultaneous" and similar are also pronounced with a long "i" in US. "Simulate" and "simile" with short "i" have primary stress on first syllable, as do other shorter commoner words like "similar" and "simple". I'm sure there are books that will discuss this sort of relationship.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 9, 2023 at 11:13
  • @StuartF Simulacrum has a short "i" in both AmE and BrE; however, the "a" differs! Not sure about Canada :)
    – DjinTonic
    Jul 9, 2023 at 12:04
  • @alphabet At the end of the day, I guess no one knows for sure how dictionaries choose to order the pronunciations if there's more than one, if it's based on which one is more common, and if so, what data it's using to determine popularity. I do find it very compelling, however, that three dictionaries chose to list the long "i" pronunciation first.
    – Classical
    Jul 9, 2023 at 16:17

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.