Sunday 9 November 2014

picture = pitcher?

LPD 3 offers two pronunciations for picture, one of which however is marked with a special symbol indicating that though this variant pronunciation is very frequent it is not considered correct in GB/RP:
I've recently come across this 'yucky' pronunciation while I was listening to one of the instalments of the BBC Radio 4 series "Germany: Memories of a Nation". "One Nation under Goethe" was introduced by a female speaker who said:
Today he [= Neil MacGregor] is in Frankfurt and he has with him a picture of a young man.
BTW: EPD 18 makes no mention of this variant.


  1. Admittedly she's skipped the glottal stop before the affricate. H G Wells didn't speak RP either, and he called his drawings "picshuas", which sounds like a parody of RP, unless he actually thought he'd hit the bullseye.

  2. Translation for speakers of UK English: pitcher = jug.

    1. My primary school teacher (in England) taught us the proverb "little pitchers have big ears".

  3. This is a beautiful example of what I wasnt predicting ie the form /pɪʧə/ for picture under climactic stress from a GB speaker. It prompts one to wonder if she has it as a weakform so that it its occurrence is explained by it’s not being fully accented. Its “Drop” ie from a high to a mid pitch is not the commonest of climax tones. If that can’t account for it, is it possibly mild linguistic slumming, an instance of deliberate dumming down to a casual form of delivery in order to sound cheerfully unstuffy despite her significant situation as a BBC functionary. You get that increasingly on tv continuity inserts. Fact is I can imagine myself saying it like that in a perfectly casual context but not in a sequence like “It’s the `ˏpicture | but `not the `ˏsound”. I think praps the LPD triangle is now too strong a warning. I’d be tempted to give /pɪʧə/ as a weakform. On the other hand it might be incautious to licence it for EFL users.