Saturday 20 November 2010

Pronunciations in Hazon Garzanti 2010

On consulting my English-Italian Italian-English 2010 Hazon Garzanti Dictionary, I've realized that most of the pronunciations the authors provide for English are either old-fashioned or not the established ones at the moment.

Here are 18 words. Notice first their pronunciation(s) in Hazon Garzanti 2010 (which we can shorten to GARZ 2010 for convenience) and then the ones provided by Professor Wells in his LPD 3:

applicable: GARZ 2010 ˈæplɪkəbl (for both BrE and AmE); LPD 3 əˈplɪkəbl̩ (BrE 85%; AmE 36%), ˈæplɪkəbl̩ (BrE 15%; AmE 64%).

Asia: GARZ 2010 BrE ˈeɪʃə, AmE ˈeɪʒə; LPD 3
ˈeɪʒə (BrE 64%; AmE 91%), ˈeɪʃə (BrE 36%, AmE 9%) - BrE, those born before 1942, ˈeɪʒə 32%, ˈeɪʃə 68%.

ate: GARZ 2010 BrE et, AmE eɪt; LPD 3
et (BrE 55%; AmE considered non-standard), eɪt (BrE 45%, with almost 70% of younger people preferring this pronunciation).

bedroom: GARZ 2010 ˈbedrʊm (for both BrE and AmE); LPD 3 ˈbedruːm (BrE 63%),
ˈbedrʊm (BrE 37%).

controversy: GARZ 2010 ˈkɒntrəvɜːsɪ (for both BrE and AmE - notice the
ɪ of old-fashioned RP); LPD 3 kənˈtrɒvəsi (BrE 60%), ˈkɒntrəvɜːsi (BrE 40%) - Among RP speakers the latter form perhaps still predominates, but in BrE in general the former is now clearly more widespread.

deity: GARZ 2010 ˈdiːɪtɪ (for both BrE and AmE - notice the
ɪ again); LPD 3 ˈdeɪəti (BrE 80%), ˈdiːɪti (BrE 20%).

dissect: GARZ 2010 dɪsˈsekt (for both BrE and AmE - notice the quite improbable
-sˈs-); LPD 3 daɪˈsekt (BrE 89% - born since 1981, 95%), dɪˈsekt (BrE 11%).

exquisite: GARZ 2010 ˈekskwɪzɪt (for BrE); LPD 3 ɪkˈskwɪzɪt (BrE 69%, with more than 85% of younger people preferring this pronunciation),
ˈekskwɪzɪt (BrE 31%).

forehead: GARZ 2010 ˈfɒrɪd (for BrE); LPD 3 ˈfɔːhed (BrE 65%, with 80% of younger people preferring this pronunciation),
ˈfɒrɪd (BrE 35%).

impious: GARZ 2010 ˈɪmpɪəs (for both BrE and AmE); LPD 3 (ˌ)ɪmˈpaɪəs (BrE 53%),
ˈɪmpiəs (BrE 47%, born before 1942, 63%) - The traditional, irregular pronunciation has lost ground in favour of (ˌ)ɪmˈpaɪəs.

kilometre: GARZ 2010 ˈkɪləʊˌmiːtə (for BrE); LPD 3 kɪˈlɒmɪtə (BrE 63%),
ˈkɪləˌmiːtə (BrE 37%).

-less: GARZ 2010 lɪs; LPD 3 ləs (BrE 74%), lɪs (BrE 26%).

longitude: GARZ 2010 ˈlɒndʒɪtjuːd (for BrE); LPD 3 ˈlɒŋɡɪtjuːd (BrE 85%),
ˈlɒndʒɪtjuːd (BrE 15%).

often: GARZ 2010 ˈɒfn (the only pronunciation offered for BrE); LPD 3 ˈɒfn̩, ˈɒftn̩ (also with the now less common vowel ɔː).

poor: GARZ 2010 pʊə (the only pronunciation offered for BrE); LPD 3 pɔː (BrE 74%),
pʊə (BrE 26%, born before 1942, 41%).

schism: GARZ 2010 ˈsɪzəm (the only pronunciation offered for BrE); LPD 3 ˈskɪzəm (BrE 71%),
ˈsɪzəm (BrE 29% - maybe still common among the clergy).

year: GARZ 2010 jɜː (the only pronunciation offered for BrE); LPD 3 jɪə (BrE 80%),
jɜː (BrE 20%).

zebra: GARZ 2010 ˈziːbrə (the only pronunciation offered for BrE); LPD 3 ˈzebrə (BrE 83%),
ˈziːbrə (BrE 17%).

As is evident from the above, using the 2010 Hazon Garzanti Dictionary for checking how words are really pronounced in English today is NOT a good idea. Italian students of EFL may risk sounding fairly old-fashioned (especially the younger generation) and are therefore strongly advised to use LPD 3 or CPD or ODP for checking pronunciations, and Hazon Garzanti (or indeed any other good monolingual/bilingual dictionary) for the meanings of words.

Aside: It's interesting to note that in the introduction to their dictionary, the authors say that

[t]he 2010 edition is (...) the fruit of careful and constant monitoring of present day English and Italian (...).

Well, I've got the 1990 edition of the same dictionary and the words analysed above are all transcribed in exactly the same way!


  1. Also see this:

  2. What if I told you that the only relevant change in the transcriptions since the first edition back in 1961 is from /ou/ to /əʊ/? A. Gimson changed it in the 60s and they modified it only in the 90s. This is indicative of how this (but I can assure you also other) Italian-English bilingual dictionaries are "monitoring" present day English. ;)
    Let's just hope we won't have to wait 30 /jɜːz/ for the rest.

    Great post!

    1. Thank you, Giovanbattista! You can find much more on this topic here:

      and here: