General Question

storygami's avatar

Is the vowel A sounded long in the words Pair and Pear?

Asked by storygami (10 points ) July 17th, 2012

How do we pronounce long sound of the vowel A

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13 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

The answer to your topic question is “yes”. The long A sound is heard when pronouncing either of these words, and additionally another homonym that you didn’t include in your example: “pare”.

The long A sound is the same as the name of the vowel. That is “A”, not “Ah” or any of the other variations in sound that it can have.

Note that the word “pear” is somewhat unusual (except that it’s the same as “wear” and “tear” – when the tearing is referring to the way materials such as paper or cloth can tear), because usually in such words the first vowel is sounded long, such as “tear” when it’s a tear from your eye.

Good luck with your study of our funny language.

Sunny2's avatar

It is pronounced with a long A (pay-ah) in the northeast of the US. Mostly the r tends to soften the long A to the shorter A, as in hat. It rhymes with hair, share, care, fair where, dare, etc. I think English must be a difficult language to learn.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Pear and Pair are not pronounced with a long ‘A’. An example of a long ‘A’ would be cake. If you listen to the audio pronunciations, the differences can be heard.

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t pronounce “pear” and pair” the same: pair and pare have a long a that softens into the r. Pear has a softer “a” sound, more of a schwa “a” that blends into the ‘r”.

CWOTUS's avatar

Nonsense. There is no reasonably discernible audible difference between “pair”, “pear” and “pare”. (The phonetic spelling for “pare” is exactly the same as the other two. If it weren’t for the fact that a woman pronounces one of the words, I doubt if anyone could tell which was which in a blind test.)

bkcunningham's avatar

The point is the long a sound, not whether pear, pare and pair are pronounced the same way. Long vowels say themselves. Examples of words with the long i sound are cry, tiger and eye. Words with long the long a sound are grape, blaze, lake and snake. Words with the long e sound include each, achieve and beach.

jca's avatar

Pear and Pair are pronounced the same. The “a” in those two words is not a long a. Long a, like @Pied_Pfeffer said, is like the a in “cake” or “plate.” Pronounced like “ay.”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Pair, pear, pare, and pere is an example of a homophone. They are spelled differently, have different meanings, but they are pronounced the same. They do not contain a long ‘A’ vowel.

DominicX's avatar

What we call “long A” in English is the sound /eɪ/ found in words like “save”, “pay”, and “reign”. The words “pair”, “pare”, “pear” are said to be pronounced with the vowel sound /ɛə/, where ”ɛ” is the sound in the words “pet” and “fen” and ”ə” is the unstressed vowel. So it’s not the same sound.

But I’m really only going by the way I say it in California dialect. I know that in some parts of the country, the /ɛ/ is more like /e/ (the so-called “long A” sound) and thus “pair” would sound more like “payer”.

Kardamom's avatar

I agree with @DominicX It depends upon the region you come from. Out here in California, at least people who were born here (cause we got a lot of transplants) pair, pear and pare sound the same, and it’s not a long “A” (like the sound of the letter A being said) for me it’s it’s more like the sound of pet or met.

I have a friend named Carrie. She’s from Long Island. She pronounces her name more like the “a” in cat, but I pronounce the “a” like celtic or berry. She probably hates the way I say it LOL.

dabbler's avatar

It depends among whom the pronouncing proceeds.
Some will sound the differences in the three.
pair => payr

In sanskrit the long “A” sound is considered the conjunction of the “ah” sound with the “ih” (short “ee”) sound. I think this is reflected in the spelling and pronunciation of ‘pair’.

Then there’s the other two that can be pronounced in separate directions.

pare => pehr

pear => pe ah r

But at that point the whole thing has devolved into a chat with that linguist from “My Fair Lady”. Or spelling, phonetics and grammar education delivered by nuns.

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