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F'Nancing and other sports

Poll #442359 F'Nancing or FY-nancing?

How do you pronounce "financing"?

Used to say "FY-nan-sing" but now say "fih-NAN-sing"
Used to say "fih-NAN-sing" but now say "FY-nan-sing"

Where are you and your dialect from?

I ask because lately, out here in the West, I've heard an increase in the number of commercials that advertise "3.5% f'-NAN-sing." Didn't we used to say "FY-nancing"? You know, like "finance" with an "ing" at the end, which is, curiously, the word we're pronouncing here? (And none of you pronounce it "fi-NANCE," right? Or...do you?)

I have a totally unfounded linguistic theory that the reason people in advertisement voice-overs are now saying "fih-NAN-sing" is that they think it sounds fancier and less Texan/Southern/Western. Texan/Southern/Western American dialects tend to have syllable-initial stress on words that do not have syllable-initial stress in other English dialects. (Some friends of mine were in stitches over a Texan gal referring to the "BAL-lay" [ballet] rather than our Frenchified "bal-LAY".) My unfounded linguistic theory suggests that people do not want to sound anything remotely like a Texan or Southerner, for stereotyped and stupid reasons. Only, as a linguist, I couldn't call them stupid for their reasoning and maintain my academic objectivity. I would, however, secretly think it a very stupid motivation for changing one's pronunciation.

Now, if you've always pronounced it "fih-NAN-sing," then that's another matter. And I'm curious if such is the case.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
On the "BAL-lay" v. "Bal-LAY" question -- the blokes in Billy Elliot(t) pronounce it "BAL-lay", and I've always considered it to be a peculiarly British pronunciation, so I was surprised to hear of a Texan pronouncing it "BAL-lay". Perhaps this is indication of dialect similarities between English and Southern American? I also wonder if Southern American is more closely related to a certain English region and/or class?

Feb. 22nd, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC)
Christopher Plummer has a Brit accent, but he adopts a southern drawl in "12 Monkeys" and a couple other films (which I can't recall the titles ATM). Apparently there are some distinct similarities between British and Southern American accents, though you wouldn't believe it at first. I'm curious to know what the connection might be as well.

(Who apparently still speaks with a Wyoming accent intermixed with her Pac NW accent.)
Feb. 22nd, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
*busts into the room in a superhero outfit*
Did somebody call for a LINGUIST?

There is indeed a connection: much of Appalachia, or what we might call hillbilly territory, was settled by the Scots-Irish (i.e., people of Scottish ancestry who fled to Ireland and then to America after another generation or two). Because those mountains are fairly remote, the dialect evolved without a lot of influence from other styles of speech. Of course, elsewhere in the South, in places like Virginia, there were a lot of English colonists, and their speech (which was probably lower-class Elizabethan English in the early colonial days) played a part in the Southern accent as we know it, too. That's the really short version.

Also, the importance of whiskey in both Ireland and Appalachia cannot be overlooked as a clear cultural connection. Hee.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 10:04 pm (UTC)
You majored in linguistics didn't you? I'm only going to minor in it, but I'm hoping it will be enough to help me in my dead language studies.

Dead languages? Yep! Deader than dead. The only way these languages still survive on the tongues of the living are folks like me who insist on figuring out their history.

But thank you for enlightening me on Appalachian speech patterns. I'm sure whiskey had a lot to do with it.

Feb. 23rd, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
Aye aye, my Master's was in Linguistics. Bachelor's was Anthro, though I would have had a better time in Ling. Dead languages would be cool! Sanskrit, baby! Also there has been a lot of research done lately on Mayan Hieroglyphics. I bet they had a glyph for "chocolate," which makes them automatically great. Have fun Indiana-Jonesing!
Feb. 22nd, 2005 05:26 pm (UTC)
Ah, true, we get the BAL-lay in some Britspeak too--but then, whenever you have a French word imported into English, the Brits will usually find a new way to pronounce it, as using French pronunciation galls them too much. ;) (No pun intended. "Gall"...."Gallic"...yeah, anyway.)

But, yes, there are British dialect roots in many of the Southern U.S. dialects. See my reply below to astrogirl2.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 11:02 pm (UTC)
... the North-easterners are coming! Run away!

Funny enough, I still hear it 'FY-nan-sing'. Except from my English teacher, who is from New York (run away!)

That's just strange...
Feb. 23rd, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
Proud Northeasterner
not sure if PA is considered northeast, technically, but here's my $.02. i too have heard an increase in the 0% fi-NAN-cing commercials and wondered what the deal is. so i'm glad to know someone else is as on the same wavelength. i've always said FI-nance, and FI-nancing, although chief fi-NAN-cial officer is the exception. same with bal-LAY. and just while i'm on the subject for all y'all out west, in PA it's LANG-kister, not Lan-CAST-er. it's just one of those things people always miss, and it's always irked me; much the same as fi-NAN-cing commercials.
Feb. 23rd, 2005 01:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Proud Northeasterner
Hm, true--we do say "fi-NAN-cial." Maybe that's the base for analogy, in "fi-NAN-cing." Still, I'm also glad someone else has noticed and wondered what is up with those commercials!

-Molly, from Oregon, near the Wil-LAM-mette, not WILL-a-mette, River. :)
Feb. 23rd, 2005 10:41 am (UTC)
I've heard f'NAN-cing in commercials for years; but no one I know actually speaks that way. I think it's an outgrowth of the singsong voice pattern used by announcers and newsreaders: ZEro perCENT fiNANcing is closer to the iambic ideal than ZEro perCENT FInancing.
Feb. 23rd, 2005 01:19 pm (UTC)
Good point. My second guess for their reasoning, after sociolinguistic neurosis, was that the intonation must have struck them as more sonorous. These people do this for a living, after all--they must have had some fairly solid reason to go against the majority of the world's pronunciation!
Feb. 26th, 2005 10:47 am (UTC)
Northeastern Elitist here who says FY-nance and FY-nancing but says f'NAN-cial. Could that be where the pronunciation is coming from? As the word f'NANcial becomes more pervasive, it "corrupts" FY-nance?
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )