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Leaverage
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2014/06/24
2:59am
Ron Draney
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Would some kind soul with access to the dialect chart clue me in on how the pronunciations of the word lever are distributed in US English? I was under the impression that “leaver” was a strictly British pronunciation, and that the only context in which Americans don’t say “levver” is in the name of the company that makes Lifebuoy soap.

2014/06/24
4:23am
tromboniator
Alaska
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Something in excess of half a century ago I recall being appalled by people (US) saying LEE-ver. I don’t think I had traveled farther than a couple of hundred miles in any direction from my point of origin in the Finger Lakes region of New York. That’s as close to a map as I can provide.

2014/06/24
5:37am
Glenn
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It was LEE-ver in Philadelphia, where I grew up. But LEH-veridj (never LEE-veridj). I would be interested in a distribution map of both words lever and leverage.

2014/06/24
6:18am
Dick
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I hear it both ways and I probably use it both ways depending on where I am.  I have a sense that around here LEE-ver is more of a country way to say it.  But, like Glenn, I never hear LEE-veridj.

2014/06/24
10:41am
New River, AZ, USA
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In Wisconsin where I grew up it was always “LEHver” and “LEHverage.” The first time I heard “LEEver” was watching  a BBS show on the local PBS channel. Same place I first heard “MEEthane.” So I always figured it was just a British English thing. Never heard “LEEverage” anywhere.

2014/06/24
6:02pm
Glenn
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The LEE- versions of both are used in British English.

2014/06/24
7:51pm
KiheBard
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LEEvrij was an occasional affectation heard growing up in Oklahoma, most often from older relatives in the context of physical application of a LEEver.

LEHvrij / LEHver was far more common among my own age-peers, and LEHvrij was nearly always the pronunciation for political clout, or social LEHvrij.

2014/06/24
9:24pm
deaconB
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KiheBard said
LEEvrij was an occasional affectation heard growing up in Oklahoma, most often from older relatives in the context of physical application of a LEEver.

LEHvrij / LEHver was far more common among my own age-peers, and LEHvrij was nearly always the pronunciation for political clout, or social LEHvrij.

Growing up in Ohio farm country, I initially heard LEEver only in context of Lever Brothers advertising (and now hearing Unilever, I always think that must have been a rancorious breakup, that on kicking his brother out of the firm, he didn’t rename it Lever, Inc., but made a big point of telling everyone his brother had been disowned by making it UNIlever.)  However, when I was about nine or so, I learned of “steeples”, which were u-shaped staples of rough;y 1/8″ steel rod, used for fastening wire fence to wooden fence posts, and of the “leever”, a wood and wrought iron prybar about 7 feet long. 

We used a lever to lift up a wagon so we could change a flat tire (which was fairly often because tubes were $3, and you could patch a half dozen tubes with an 45c kit.  I can still smell the rubber cement and the vulcanization!). We also used the lever to jockey weight onto and off of “harries” (harrows).  Not only was this a two-handed tool, but often a two-man tool.  A wagon load of grain is HEAVY!

If you were using a staple gun, or an office staler, though, it was STAYple, and if you were using a smaller lever, such as a crowbar, or a lever that was attached to an axle (such as the hand clutch on a tractor), it was a LEVver.

I imagine if you went into a tractor store or a rural hardware store  and asked about “steeples” or a “leever”, they wouldn’t blink an eye at the pronunciation, but would know exactly what was meant.  Which is saying something, I suppose.  I called the animal shelter once, reporting that I’d found a stray dog, very friendly, an older, overweight collie bitch.  The lady on the phone chided me for my language and asked me what gender the dog was.

2014/06/25
10:42am
New River, AZ, USA
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deaconB said:  I called the animal shelter once, reporting that I’d found a stray dog, very friendly, an older, overweight collie bitch.  The lady on the phone chided me for my language and asked me what gender the dog was.

Kinda hard to believe that someone who works in a shelter didn’t know that term. Cheap help no doubt. Good thing you didn’t inflect a comma after “collie.”

2014/06/25
6:33pm
faresomeness
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Ron Draney mentions a “dialect chart”- would that be this?  http://spark.rstudio.com/jkatz/SurveyMaps/ 

Pretty cool stuff, but no mention of leverage. My folks were Brits and I find both LEEvrij and LEHvrij feel comfortable in my mouth. My 1930 Websters (Springfield Mass.) actually prefers LEE ver ij, but that was a while ago, and from a source that may have favored a mid Atlantic accent, I dunno. But wouldn’t it be cool to see a dialect map that showed changes over time. Or does this exist?

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