Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

There was an interesting piece on the local public radio station a few months back about the pronunciation (in the US) of "pecan". One of the things they talked about is that in English, words with 2 syllables generally have an emphasis on the first, while French is the other way. When we borrow a French word into English, it starts with the emphasis on the second syllable and over time it migrates to the first. For some reason, this process tends to happen faster in UK than in US, and this explains pronunciation differences in words like "garage".

In French you don't really stress individual syllables at all. According to Wikipedia [1], "only the last word in a phonological phrase retains its full grammatical stress (on its last syllable unless this is a schwa)."

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_phonology

Funny you mention pecans - Americans make a fuss when they hear my British pronunciation of 'cashew'

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact