“Negotiation” report

A couple of weeks ago, I posted two polls to try to determine whether pronouncing “negotiate” as “ne-go-see-ate” is, as I suspected, a Britishism. A commenter astutely noted that I had rather muddied the waters by remarking that I can’t stand that pronunciation. At that point it was too late to change the question, so I have to live with a somewhat poll that probably underreported the “see” pronunciation.

In any case, the results indicated that it is indeed more common in the U.K., with 11 percent of the respondents reporting favoring it, than in the U.S., with 3 percent.

A number of the comments shed some light on the subject. A couple of people remarked that “ne-go-see-ate” is the common BBC pronunciation. One Englishwoman said she used it herself, as a result of having gone to drama school. An Englishman said he used both pronunciations, favoring “ne-go-see-ate” “to press a point.”

An Irish woman who blogs as “Mollymooly” very helpfully provided a census of her own behavior on a variety of such words:

Definitely -s-
annunciation
emaciate
enunciation

Probably -s-
associate
excruciating
glaciate

Either -s- or -sh-
appreciate
negotiate

Probably -sh-
officiate
substantiate
licentiate
depreciate
differentiate

Definitely -sh-
ingratiate
cruciate
initiate
novitiate
transubstantiate

Now -sh- once -t-
expatiate
propitiate
satiate
vitiate

Finally, I e-mailed John Wells, editor of The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. He replied that he had no statistics on the matter but, on the question of whether “ne-go-see-ate” is more common in the U.K. than the U.S., he had a one-word answer: “Certainly.”

I’ll take that as a yes.

 

4 responses to ““Negotiation” report

  1. I’ve lived all my 37 years in the UK and have never heard anyone say ‘ne-go-see-ate’! It sounds very American to me. These results are baffling. I obviously haven’t been watching the BBC enough.

  2. I’ve given this a little thought since responding to the poll and realised that I pronounce association and negotiation with an “s”, but the related verbs with an “sh”. Anyone else feel similarly?

  3. and what about issue, and question? Keep hearing 2 different versions all the time, one sounds overly classy:)

    classy as in “procedure” in dinner for one😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s