Pronunciation of tomato

Guest   Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:32 am GMT
As the other Guest remarked, aspiration can be heard around "u". This also applies to such words as "nuit", "puis", etc. So I'd find it most surprising not to be recognized by linguists of French speaking origin.
Presley.   Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:24 am GMT
To get back on track I am American, and I regularly hear tomato being said with the second "t" as a flap of the tongue rather than being said as clearly as the first, more commonly tuh-may-toh than any other way. I think that the vowel pronounciation depends on region. (I am, unfortunately, CALIFORIAN)

My cousin from Canada, (whom I just called on the telephone to hear him say the word) pronounces it tuh-may-toh, but the vowels sound like he tightens his throat and mouth more. Also, compared to my cousin, I gradually tighten my lips on the o, whereas he tightens the lips to begin with, causing the o to sound a bit exaggerated. The t's were the same as in AE.

I do recall viewing a BBC news broadcast about the tomato-throwing festival that they have in Spain and I heard it being said toh-mah-toh. But it was a while ago, and i don't remember in detail, so I can't compare.

I was just curious, how do Aussies pronounce tomato?
Terry   Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:41 am GMT
In Australia it's t'mah-toh, with no hint of a D for the second T. There are very few words Australians don't pronounce similarly to UKers, but one I can think of is vitamin. The Poms seem to rhyme the first two syllables of that with "bitter", while in Oz they rhyme with "biter", with the final unstressed syllable a schwa.
Guest   Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:44 am GMT
The second T is often flapped in Australian English but it's not a D. In a more formal pronunciation it would be pronounced as the first T.
Presley.   Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:52 am GMT
I don't make the second T flapped, but it's not a D. Like I said, though, in America, it depends on the region. Other than that, Americans are just a bit weird.
Uriel   Sun Apr 09, 2006 7:19 am GMT
<<My cousin from Canada, (whom I just called on the telephone to hear him say the word) pronounces it tuh-may-toh, but the vowels sound like he tightens his throat and mouth more. Also, compared to my cousin, I gradually tighten my lips on the o, whereas he tightens the lips to begin with, causing the o to sound a bit exaggerated. The t's were the same as in AE.>>

Between you and the guy who couldn't say "tools" to his phone's satisfaction, it's been a busy day for the long-distance telecommunications business!

When I actually CAN hear differences between Americans and Canadians (and it usually helps if I know beforehand -- otherwise I pay no attention and don't catch it), it IS the slightly tenser Canadian vowels I notice. And sometimes they seem to enunciate their T's a little more. But not always. Or maybe I'm just really lax with mine -- I'm a big-time mumbler and slurrer!
Adam   Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:45 pm GMT
"I had assumed that the pronunciation "tomahto" was used widely in Britain at this time."

It still is.
Pete   Fri May 19, 2006 1:07 pm GMT
<<As for European languages without aspiration, I'm pretty sure there's no aspiration in Spanish or Italian.>>

You're right. There's no aspiration in Spanish, at least, not in the accents I've heard so far.
Geoff_One   Fri May 19, 2006 1:24 pm GMT
I thought there is a song or part of a song about the subject:

"You say tomahtoh
I say t'may-toh ..."
Gabriel   Fri May 19, 2006 2:42 pm GMT
There's positively no aspiration of any plosive in Spanish. In fact, aspirating your t's, k's, or p's is a telltale sign you're probably a native English speaker.
Kirk   Fri May 19, 2006 10:20 pm GMT
<<There's positively no aspiration of any plosive in Spanish. In fact, aspirating your t's, k's, or p's is a telltale sign you're probably a native English speaker.>>

Yup. Or a speaker of another Germanic language with aspiration for /p/ /t/ and /k/ (most Germanic languages).