As the title states, how do I pronounce the word "Linearly"? I did some Google searching on this but I was not able to find any guidance.

  • 5
    Pronunciation varies by region. Here are some examples of linear. Just add "lee" to the end of those. – Jim Aug 15 '12 at 18:15
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    I'd go with "LIN ee er lee". – Hellion Aug 15 '12 at 21:06
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    I’d be interested to know what the problem was for you with the word. Was it the quality of the vowels, or the pattern of stress(es), or something else? – Lubin Aug 16 '12 at 4:54
  • Where I come from, /ˈlənjəlɪ/ – user16269 Aug 16 '12 at 7:12

The CMU Pronouncing Dictionary gives an American English pronunciation for linearly: http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/cgi-bin/cmudict/?in=linearly&stress=-s


In International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) this would be /ˈlɪniːɚliː/

In the American Heritage Dictionary-style pronunciation respelling it would be \lĭnēərlē\

In the Wikipedia pronunciation respelling style it would be LIN-ee-er-lee

As has been discussed in other answers, in standard non-rhotic British English, the 'er' of the third syllable is pronounced non-rhotically—that is, indistinguishable from an ordinary schwa. However, there are a number of rhotic British English dialects with a substantial number of speakers which would pronounce the 'er' rhotically.

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    Does that mean linearly and lineally merge in BrE? – Mechanical snail Dec 12 '12 at 5:22
  • Looking back on this answer, I don't even know why I marked this one. I don't understand a single thing you've said :-( I don't know how to read the things you have put there. I know that dictionaries show pronunciation with those symbols, but I never understood that. – void.pointer Jun 23 '14 at 18:13
  • @RobertDailey I gave an answer using 4 of the most common systems for marking pronunciation, in that hope that if you were familiar with any system, you'd be familiar with one of them. In case you weren't, I also included links for each system to a page which explains it. I'm not sure what kind of answer you would expect to a question asking "how to pronounce <X>" that doesn't use some system of writing pronunciation. – nohat Jun 23 '14 at 22:30
  • @nohat What I normally do is look up audio pronunciations. That's what I find helpful. However at the time I asked the question I guess I didn't find any (I don't really remember, I asked this a long time ago). – void.pointer Jun 26 '14 at 14:52

Probably /'lɪnɪəlɪ/ (depending on your dialect of English). Four phonemes (sounds), anyway: LI-nee-uh-li.

In fact, there is some pronunciation help online: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/linear?q=linearly#linear__9 and it looks like ODO agrees with me as far as British English is concerned.

Help on IPA symbols

  • It's only LI-nee-uh-li if you pahk yah cah in Hahvahd yahd. – rsegal Aug 15 '12 at 20:54
  • @rsegal Much of British English is indeed non-rhotic, but it could be written /'lɪnɪəʳlɪ/ to indicate the possibility of rhoticism (depending on your dialect of English). – Andrew Leach Aug 15 '12 at 21:42
  • @rsegal, even in non-rhotic dialects, the 'r' in car is pronounced: pahk yah car in Hahvahd Yahd. See Linking R – nohat Aug 15 '12 at 23:08
  • @nohat while that may be the convention, a lot of Bostonians I know would have pronounced it "cah" under those circumstances, without a doubt. Further, I think it's good form to not get it confused with the word lineal, which it undoubtedly would without the 'r' sound. – rsegal Aug 15 '12 at 23:28
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    @nohat, Obviously, you haven't even read the wikipedia article about linking r. It does say that "not all non-rhotic varieties feature linking R." – Alex B. Aug 16 '12 at 0:59

If you're familiar with the symbols, the Oxford English Dictionary gives it as /ˈlɪnɪəlɪ/.

  • Unfortunately I'm not :( I was hoping for someone to use common, simple words to help describe how to pronounce it (if that makes sense). – void.pointer Aug 15 '12 at 18:17
  • 7
    LIN-ee-er-lee should be a reasonably good phonetic spelling that works for most U.K. and U.S. dialects. (While 'er' is pronounced differently in the two countries, the same spelling works for both.) The OED's phonetic pronuciation seems to be LIN-near-lee, which I believe is not how I've heard it pronounced by Brits, and which disagrees with the Cambridge Learner's dictionary. – Peter Shor Aug 15 '12 at 18:26
  • @PeterShor I concocted my IPA from how I pronounce it as a Brit, and it agrees with OED. – Andrew Leach Aug 15 '12 at 18:31
  • The 'r' is not sounded in British English, other than in some regional dialects, where speakers probably wouldn't use the word anyway. – Barrie England Aug 15 '12 at 18:47
  • @Barrie: Agreed. I thought that the word 'er' in U.K. English was pronounced like 'uh' is pronounced in the U.S. – Peter Shor Aug 15 '12 at 18:54

HERE is one of those free MIT on-line lecture courses. This one is on linear algebra. It should use the word "linearly" quite a lot, I expect. In particular, try Lecture 9.


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