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War pronounced like car
pronunciation
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2012/11/27
1:06pm
K the G
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My husband insists on pronouncing war like car, even though he sees in the dictionary that there is only one pronunciation and that all TV broadcasters pronounce it the same.     Has anybody ever heard of this?

2012/11/27
1:27pm
RobertB
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I will know it if I ever hear car in Iraq or Afghanistan because there will not be any ‘u’ sound in there howsoever, plus the almost muted ‘k’ sound will be in there, otherwise the 2 words are mighty close.

2012/11/28
2:48am
Raffee
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:) Interesting. Till a while ago I used to pronounce the word as your husband does, based on a false extension of what I had read years ago- that Americans mostly prefer /É‘:/ to /É”/. It was just after doing a bit of deliberation on the fact that all the occasions that I’d heard the word pronounced by native speakers, I’d heard it as ‘wore’, then I decided to choose what I thought to be the common variation! Now that you say it, and I check my pronunciation dictionary (which doesn’t show the car-like pronunciation as a variation), I’m pretty sure that you, Americans, don’t have such a preference in cases where the word is one-syllable and it ends, phonetically, with ‘r’. As in for, fore, gore, door.

I know that my rule isn’t comprehensive since there are words such as ‘before’, ‘temblor’.

2012/11/28
4:31am
San Diego, California
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K the G, that pronunciation of “war” is a common dialect pronunciation. Don’t put too much faith in the pronunciations in dictionaries. They’re not exhaustive. They list only the most common. If they leave a pronunciation out, it doesn’t mean that pronunciation is a bad one. I say this as a dictionary editor myself! For example, dictionaries often do not take into account even the widespread Southern American dialects, which are spoken by many millions of people.

2012/11/28
4:56am
Glenn
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I have heard this pronunciation of war, but rarely. However, I hear it more often in the compound words, like
Warfare
Warring
Warhead
Warrior
Unfortunately, I have no good explanation for this. It is simply an informal observation.

2012/11/28
8:42am
RobertB
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To where and whom do you go to hear war pronounced like car? Or a movie or a show?

2012/11/28
8:50am
Glenn
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Hm. Perhaps you are misunderstanding the observation. It’s not that war is being pronounced exactly like car. It is that the vowel sound is like car, so that it rhymes with car. I will look for an example online.

2012/11/28
11:42am
K the G
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Yeah, Grant, I get that, but he has lived all his life (almost 80 years) in Cincinnati, Ohio, and none of his family or friends pronounce it that way.   It’s just odd.   I think he is “hooked on phonics.”

2012/11/28
7:50pm
Dick
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This is an incredible revelation to me. I have considered myself pretty knowledgeable about words but I have never considered that the preferred pronunciation does not sound the “r”. I must not have been listening to hundreds of people who say it that way. It’s not that I haven’t heard it but I always considered that to be the dialect rather than the way I say it.

This link has audio for both pronunciations

<http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/war&gt;

After listening to every audio pronunciation that Google could find, it looks like it is almost evenly divided but I am convinced now that I speak the dialect and I never even suspected it.

2012/11/29
4:48am
RobertB
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That site will give 2 pronunciations (no r, with r) whether you key in car or war.

To me the no r sounds like British, the with r American.

K the G, the car you are talking about, is it about the r or anything else? What is your normal sound of car exactly?

2012/11/29
5:02am
Glenn
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It must be really odd to hear hubby refer to the movie series Star Wars with both vowels having the same value!

2012/11/29
9:02am
K the G
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It’s not about the r.   It’s what Glenn said, Star Wars.   And things are warm down at the ward.   Anything with an “ar” is subject to this odd pronunciation–except quart.   Go figure!   Thanks for your input.   It’s fun to see others’ take on this.

2012/11/29
10:08am
Ron Draney
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Before this thread, it would never have occurred to me that a native speaker of English would pronounce war to rhyme with car. That must be why the line in Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” (I’d throw away the cars and the bars and the wars) sounded a little off to me, like Hoyt Axton didn’t bother trying to say it out loud when he was writing it.

It’s like insisting that comb, tomb and bomb should all rhyme because of the similar spelling.

2012/11/29
11:10am
Glenn
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Does hubby actually confirm that the vowels are the same in these two words? Might he be making a subtle distinction that is lost to most of us?

I have often seen it happen, mostly with folks learning a second language, where one speaker is making a sound distinction, but the differences are unfamiliar to the hearer, and go unnoticed. (aspiration, consonant voicing, palatalization, for examples). I have, on occasion, seen the same phenomenon occur between regional versions of American English. Think Texas: oil, all, awl.

2012/11/29
11:43am
K the G
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No subtle distinction.   It is quite jarring, yuk, yuk.   I just think he wants English to be phonetic, which it ain’t primarily.  

2012/12/04
10:55pm
RobertB
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I get it, it’s like a baby yelling WOAA isn’t it? French moi, toi ?

2012/12/05
9:05am
K the G
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Talk about Baader Meinhof!   I watched episode #3 of Oliver Stone’s Untold History on Showtime, and there was Harry Truman pronouncing “war” just like a pirate saying “aargh.”   Then, they showed a clip of Gary Sinise starring as Truman in a miniseries some time ago.   Sinise captured the “aargh” sound exactly, so it must have been a Missouri thing also.   I remember Truman, but I was too young to really remember what he sounded like.  

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