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Hi there,

How do most native speakers (both AmEng and BE ones) pronounce the adjective 'illustrative'?

I have checked a few online dictionaries (available via the OneLook site ) ... Most dictionaries point out the stress should be either on the first or on the second syllable in this word. The online webster however gives a third variant where the third syllable is pronounced as "-raytive". In this case the first and the third syllables seem to be nearly "equally stressed" (as far as I understand).

In short, the word "illustrative" seems to allow THREE different pronunciation patterns, doesn't it?

What pronunciation of 'illustrative' is most common in "your" English (country/region/community/...office :-)?

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(BrE speaker) I put the stress on the first syllable. I wasn't even aware that there was any other correct possibility.

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I've always heard (and said) ill-LUST-ra-tiv (except on imported BBC productions). AmE.

CJ

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Comments  

East Coast American: ILL-us-tray-tiv.

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

Thanks everybody for their input!

Regarding US East Coast English vs US West Coast English pronunciation differences.

Could you possibly give more examples of this kind (i.e. similar to "illustrative")? I mean words ( nouns or adjectives) in which the accented syllable depends on where the speaker is from?

British English speaker here, my regional accent is home counties. It's not a very common word, but I pronounce it with stress on the first syllable. However, I also pronounce the a of the 3rd syllable as "ray". Illustraytive.

Second syllable stress with a shorter a sound is an American English pronunciation.

vlivefRegarding US East Coast English vs US West Coast English pronunciation differences.

I am the East Coast guy above. I am not sure at all that the difference between CJ and me is an East/West difference. It is more likely that he learned to say it that way by chance, and the same with me. Maybe all the professors at his school said it that way, and maybe I guessed at my pronunciation when I read the word by flashlight under the covers when I was ten. I am also not sure I've ever heard the word spoken. There are many. many dialects in a country as big as ours. It is a fascinating study, and an endless one.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
anonymous There are many. many dialects in a country as big as ours.

I see your point, but... By all accounts, Brits seem to have even more dialects than you do. However, a typical BrEng learner can well focus on RP and so ... avoid wasting his or her time and effort ( and the forum gurus' time and effort, too :-) trying to figure out which specific syllable is stressed in a specific word... Or maybe I am wrong here? and RP too allows multiple pronunciations and other forms of "word ambiguity"?

Now, to my follow-up question:

Is there a "dialect" in AmEng that is considered as sort of "primary" (mainstream, etc.), i.e. as the counterpart of RP?

(Last, not least. Thanks for the interesting comment above !( = "not sure at all that the difference between CJ and me is an East/West difference")

vlivefIs there a "dialect" in AmEng that is considered as sort of "primary" (mainstream, etc.), i.e. as the counterpart of RP?

It's called "General American", and when it was first defined (1930s?) it was more or less based on the speech of radio announcers in Chicago.

Nowadays, just about any announcer of news on any of the major television networks can be used as a model of "General American" English.

Check out the link below. You'll find more accurate information than I gave above.

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=J2UKXanyHsXGsAXf_ZuwBw&q=general+american+accent&oq=%22General+American%22&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0l10.1217.4931..8465...0.0..1.266.2148.3j14j1......0....1..gws-wiz.....0..0i131.XLRG0J5NpTY

CJ

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