the act or result of producing the sounds of speech, including articulation, stress, and intonation, often with reference to some standard of correctness or acceptability: They are arguing about the pronunciation of “forte” again.His pronunciation retains charming traces of his early years in Ireland.
an accepted standard of the sound and stress patterns of a syllable, word, phrase, etc.: He said the pronunciation of “curl” is [kurl] not [koil]
the conventional patterns of treatment of the sounds of a language: the pronunciation of French.
a phonetic transcription of a given word, sound, etc.: The pronunciation of “pheasant” is [fez-uhnt]
Rare.an act or instance of declaring publicly; pronouncement: It was but the latest pronunciation of the political double-standard uttered in the course of this scandal.Synonyms: declaration, assertion, statement; announcement, affirmation; proclamation, promulgation, dissemination.
Origin: 1400–50;late Middle Englishpronunciacion < Latinprōnūntiātiōn- (stem of prōnūntiātiō) delivery (of a speech), equivalent to prōnūntiāt(us) (past participle of prōnūntiāre to pronounce; see -ate1) + -iōn--ion
Pronunciation note It may seem odd for the pronunciation of this very word to be an issue; the pronunciation of pronunciation should be evident from its spelling. The vowel in the second syllable is u, said as in the word up. It is not the diphthong ou, as in ouch. However, for some people, the impulse to retain the sound pattern of the familiar verb pronounce is too strong to resist, and we hear this word said as if it were spelled p-r-o-n-o-u-n-c-i-a-t-i-o-n all too frequently. All this is a reminder that the entire subject of “correct” pronunciation is fraught with controversy. Changes from what we heard growing up are often resisted with surprisingly passionate scorn. And yet we know that language is constantly changing, and that many pronunciations once attacked as ignorant are now accepted without question in even the most educated circles. For example, we hear /ˈskɪzəm/Show Spelled[skiz-uhm]Show IPA as well as the older /ˈsɪzəm/[siz-uhm] for schism, and /ˈfɔrteɪ/[fawr-tey] as well as the historically correct /fɔrt/[fawrt] for the sense of forte meaning “something that one excels in” (see Pronunciation note at forte1. ). And stress patterns change with new generations: increasingly, /kəmpɛərəbəl/[kuhm-pair-uh-buhl] is overtaking /ˈkɒmpərəbəl/[kom-per-uh-buhl] for comparable. Language experts seize the opportunity to note and study these changes; language innovation can be fascinating--even exciting. But some deviations from the current norm will not become part of an accepted standard, and as long as the way one speaks remains a marker of one's education, or one's ability to perform well in school or in a prospective job, it is best to avoid misguided pronunciations like /prəˌnaʊnsiˈeɪʃən/[pruh-noun-see-ey-shuhn].