General Question

girlofscience's avatar

Settle this debate: How do you pronounce "Rutherford"?

Asked by girlofscience (7553points) March 14th, 2009

This should not even be a debate. I should not need to post this question.

I know how to pronounce Rutherford.

For some reason, my boyfriend has a completely different idea of how this name is supposedly pronounced. He thinks that my version of the pronunciation (the correct version) sounds “ridiculous” and could never be correct.

This is just absurd. It is also frustrating because I know that I’m right, but I can’t prove it.

So please, phonetically demonstrate how you pronounce this name.

Also, indicate whether you feel it should be pronounced differently depending on whether it is a first or last name. (Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Shannon Rutherford.)

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46 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Ruh-thur-furd. I can’t even figure out another way to say it. Rooothurfurd? And last/first makes no difference.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I would pronounce it the same as a first or last name.

SuperMouse's avatar

Personally I pronounce it Ruth-uh-ferd. First or last makes no difference.

girlofscience's avatar

@nikipedia: So would you say that the “Ruther” part of the word rhymes with “other”?

But he is totally not gonna count your answer anyway because he is just going to say you sided with me because I told you to do so, haha.

gailcalled's avatar

Ruther obviously rhymes with Fluther and Ford is either Ford or as most of us, including SuperMouse, say, “ferd.”

lefteh's avatar

I uploaded a pronunciation to there. It seems to agree with the others from the U.S.

girlofscience's avatar

@SuperMouse: You do not indicate how the “u” in “Ruth” (in your phonetic pronunciation) is pronounced.

nikipedia's avatar

@girlofscience: Precisely.

I believe there is ample evidence of disagreement between us on fluther, although now I can’t think of any good examples….. Furthermore you did not actually post your preferred pronunciation!

girlofscience's avatar

@gailcalled: And is Fluther pronounced “Fluh-ther” or “Floo-ther”?

lefteh's avatar

Fluther rhymes with brother.

SuperMouse's avatar

I would say r-uh-th.

girlofscience's avatar

@nikipedia: Yes, but he could think I told you what to do via phone, email, text, IM.

gailcalled's avatar

@GoS: Know that you are right and let it go. It seems like a small battle to wager.

Go for a walk, be happy, be thrilled that you don’t have a severe case of strep throat like some of us. (My eyes are watering so badly that I can hardly type.)

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

RRRRuth-a-ferd (roll the first R)

SeventhSense's avatar

Ruth(rough)- a(father) bird
It’s a Scottish surname

girlofscience's avatar

@gailcalled: Can I please show him these responses to show that I am right!

chyna's avatar

@gailcalled sorry you are sick. Go wallow with Milo and maybe you will feel better. Or just sack out on the couch with the remote.

girlofscience's avatar

@lefteh: OMG, amazing! Thank you!

Darwin's avatar

I know someone named Rutherford. He pronounces “Ruther” to rhyme with brother. It’s his name so he should know.

gailcalled's avatar

@GoS: This is THE moment; I say “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I’m with SuperMouse

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock I was just going to say that, too. That makes 3 of us.

bluedoggiant's avatar


casheroo's avatar

i say ruh ther ferd. if i say it slow, i can pronounce the ford correctly.

aprilsimnel's avatar

RUH-the-ferd is how I say it, with the stress on the first syllable.

emt333's avatar

rhymes with mother bird

mangeons's avatar

Ruh-thur-ferd. No debate on that. :)

Val123's avatar

The U would be long based on its placement in the word. Rue would make it short.

lefteh's avatar

I think your short and long are backwards…

Val123's avatar

@lefteh ;) I had a feeling they were! Maybe I’m just dyslexic and never knew it till now!

lefteh's avatar

Assuming we reverse those words, I agree with you!

Val123's avatar

Presto! They’re reversed!.......Wait. No they’re not. Gasp I have lost my magic powers and turned dyslexic all at the same time! I just shoulda stayed in bed.

Donr962's avatar

My family is of Scottish decent and for as long as anyone can remember the first syllable has always been pronounced the same way you would say Ruth.

jlayne's avatar

The people in East Jessamine County call’em RELLA-FURDs

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In American English it is as @gailcalled states. In most places in Europe, including Scotland, Ireland, and all of Scandinavia, it would be pronounced Roother-ford or Roother-foord.

gailcalled's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus: In Scandinavia, why not Roother-fjord?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@gailcalled: In the Scandinavian languages all “O’s” would be pronounced as our oo, as in “booth,” unless designated with an umlaut (thank you very much—remember my oomlaut?), or followed by a double consonant. An approximate English pronunciation of ”ö” would be “uh.” They sometimes make allowances for popular foreign words, but mostly they follow their own rules. Our long “o” sound, as in boat, is designated as ”å” (a little circle on top of the “a”). The words “boat” and “båt” are pronounced precisely the same and mean the same thing in both languages. To make the sound for Ford, one would write Fård, a word which doesn’t exist as far as I know. For futher example, Fjord is pronounced Fee-yoord with the accent on the second sylable and the ee sound short and barely audible.

(Damn, I really missed the boat when I didn’t learn phonetic writing. This would be so much easier, huh? But what American, besides you, would be able to read it?)

Then, of course, we’re discussing language, which is classed as an art and not a science for very good reason, ma’ amie. A very knowledgeable friend of mine from Tennessee invariably ends discussions in the arts (the latest about symbols found in Italian rococo interior decor of the 17th century), with the catch-all clause, ”... ‘n shit like that.” He makes his living in the sciences.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Yoking.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Oh. Nevermiiiiind!

Strauss's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus You missed the båt?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Definitely missed the båt on that one. But it’s way OK as I have the highest regard for the person to whom I missed it. OMG, I hope that is grammatically correct. I checked it three times.

SashiMurai's avatar

As a Rutherford of Scottish descent, we pronounce it ROOTH uh furd. “RUH thur furd” is of English descent.

Zaku's avatar

As an American who prefers direct pronunciation, I say RUH-THUR-FORD until/unless corrected by someone who knows how a particular Rutherford pronounces their name. I acknowledge that actual Rutherfords (especially those from England or Scotland) may have different ways of saying it, and would strive to know and honor them, if I ever knew such a person, which I don’t think I ever have. However it is certainly true that many British names have non-intuitive pronunciations, as evidenced in this fine short example

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