Author Topic: How do you pronounce "primer"?  (Read 1205 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2019, 02:53:27 PM »
ETA: 'praymer' is not a pronunciation of the word.

I'm sure he meant prEYEmer, and transliterated the phoneme the way a non-native English speaker from Northern Europe would.

That's correct.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2019, 02:54:15 PM »
Simple, it depends what I'm talking about.

First coat of paint = Pr-eye-mer

Initial education on a topic - pr-im-ur

I meant in the second sense of the word. For example I'm sure there are plenty of books that could be considered primers on evolution or the Roman Empire.

Offline Harry Black

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2019, 07:36:39 PM »
The 'eyes' have it.



Right. You dont 'prim' an explosive.

But accents and regional dialects account for legitimate differences in pronunciation and usage of just about anything.
For a person for whom english is not their first language and wishes for the maximum number of people to understand them, I would suggest pronouncing it as prime-er

Offline CarbShark

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2019, 08:25:11 PM »
I’ve always pronounced it PRY-mer. Except when referring to an educational booklet,  in which case its PRIM-er. But that may be because the first time I heard that word it was mispronounced. But it stuck.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2019, 09:17:58 PM »


The short ‘i’ In ‘primer’ seems to be an American habit:

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/10036/why-is-primer-pronounced-with-a-short-i-sound

It should have a long ‘i.’  Words with a double consonant, such as ‘dinner,’ have a short ‘i.’  Words with a single consonant, such as ‘dine’ (and ‘primer’ should) have a long ‘i.’

The rule that single consonants cause the preceding vowel to be long doesn’t always apply.  ‘Dim’ and ‘dimmer’ are both pronounced with a short ‘i.’

The exception proves the rule.  The only rule with English is that English is an illogical language.  Many of the odd English spellings originated with the publication of dictionaries in the 18th century when words were pronounced differently, fossilising their spellings.
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2019, 09:31:01 PM »
Primer is one of my favorite independent science fiction films.  I have been pronouncing it Pr-eye-mer.  Is that correct or should I use the short I that rhymes with trimmer?



More than half the dialog is incomprehensible unless you are a true engineer (i'm not, even though my job title claims so) but it does not take away from the film. It actually enhances it in my opinion. Telling you anything about the plot would spoil it.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2019, 09:50:16 PM »
Primer is one of my favorite independent science fiction films.  I have been pronouncing it Pr-eye-mer.  Is that correct or should I use the short I that rhymes with trimmer?

The word "prime" has a trailing silent e. The silent e makes the preceding vowel long. "Primer" has the suffix "-er", which changes the meaning to "something that primes". The e in "-er" is omitted because the base word already ends with an e. The addition of the suffix does not change the pronunciation of the vowel.

Now, notice how "trimmer" has a double m? The double consonant makes the preceding vowel short. "Primer" does not have a double m, therefore the preceding vowel has nothing to make it short, and therefore remains long. Furthermore, the word "trim" has a short vowel and no trailing silent e. So does the word "prim". The hypothetical word "trimer" would be pronounced with a long vowel because the hypothetical word "trime" has a trailing silent e.

See? English pronunciation isn't all that hard.
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2019, 10:11:37 PM »
Primer is one of my favorite independent science fiction films.  I have been pronouncing it Pr-eye-mer.  Is that correct or should I use the short I that rhymes with trimmer?

The word "prime" has a trailing silent e. The silent e makes the preceding vowel long. "Primer" has the suffix "-er", which changes the meaning to "something that primes". The e in "-er" is omitted because the base word already ends with an e. The addition of the suffix does not change the pronunciation of the vowel.

Now, notice how "trimmer" has a double m? The double consonant makes the preceding vowel short. "Primer" does not have a double m, therefore the preceding vowel has nothing to make it short, and therefore remains long. Furthermore, the word "trim" has a short vowel and no trailing silent e. So does the word "prim". The hypothetical word "trimer" would be pronounced with a long vowel because the hypothetical word "trime" has a trailing silent e.

See? English pronunciation isn't all that hard.

I didnt think it was hard until I read this thread which confused me

https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2015/08/primer-2.html

Quote
We’ve checked the pronunciation of “primer” (used in the textbook sense) in six standard dictionaries. The three British references list it with a long “i” while the three American sources list it with a short “i.”

So which pronunciation is correct? It depends on which side of the pond you call home.

But English speakers on both sides pronounce “primer” with a long “i” (as in “timer”) when it’s used in other senses (such as an undercoat of paint or a cap used to ignite an explosive). We ran a post in 2012 about the use of “primer” in painting.

English adopted “primer” in its learning sense from primarium, medieval Latin for a prayer book. In classical Latin, primarius was an adjective meaning primary.

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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2019, 10:32:39 PM »
Yeah, I think the easiest way to think about it is that the correct pronunciation is with a long i, except in at least some parts of America, where the correct pronunciation is with a short i.

I can't pronounce it with a short i myself, but then again I can't say "solder" without pronouncing the l.
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2019, 10:37:51 PM »
Yeah, I think the easiest way to think about it is that the correct pronunciation is with a long i, except in at least some parts of America, where the correct pronunciation is with a short i.

I can't pronounce it with a short i myself, but then again I can't say "solder" without pronouncing the l.

more important to the film title I suppose is how would a young american engineer pronounce it? I assume they are using it in the educational sense so it may very well rhyme with trimmer.  The title could have several meanings that relate to the film so now I really want to know. I found reddit discussion that was inconclusive on the title meaning.

introductory book of knowledge or lesson "A primer doesn't make you an expert, it just makes you feel like an expert."
A small explosive charge which ignites a larger one
a molecule (as a short strand of RNA or DNA) whose presence is required for formation of another molecule

All of that works for the film. I never realized how brilliant the title was.
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2019, 11:28:08 AM »
If we're looking for anecdotes, I'm 43, Canadian, very well "listened" (I've spent a lot of time listening to the pretension-factory that is CBC Radio).

The first (and possibly only? I'm sure it was probably also said by one of the other brothers) person I've ever heard say "primmer" aloud is Steve.
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Offline Swagomatic

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2019, 06:29:40 PM »
In reference to paint, I hear the long i exclusively. In reference to the basic course or a basic book, I hear about a 50/50 split between long i and short i.  I think it says either is correct in the dictionary, so pick your poison.  (oh shit, is that pronounced eye-ther or ee-ther?)
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2019, 07:34:22 PM »
In reference to paint, I hear the long i exclusively. In reference to the basic course or a basic book, I hear about a 50/50 split between long i and short i.  I think it says either is correct in the dictionary, so pick your poison.  (oh shit, is that pronounced eye-ther or ee-ther?)

Initially I wondered whether the meaning of ‘primer’ determined its pronunciation (similar to there being two pronounciations of ‘unionised,’ depending whether it refers to uncharged atoms or workers belonging to a union), but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  The short ‘i’ seems to be an American thing.  It should have a long ‘i,’ like other words with a single consonant preceding the vowel (German does the same thing - der Star and wir - long vowel, starr and wirr - short vowel).

I pronounce ‘either’ as ‘eye-ther,’ but ‘ee-ther’ is possible.  I prefer ‘eye-ther because of my German - ‘ei’ is pronounced ‘eye’ and ‘ie’ is pronounced ‘ee.’  None of this, for sounds ‘ee’ it’s ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c.’  ‘Believe’ compared to ‘conceive.’
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Offline Jaloopa

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2019, 07:48:06 AM »
Kara is the only person I've ever heard pronounce it with a short I

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: How do you pronounce "primer"?
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2019, 08:47:04 PM »
In reference to paint, I hear the long i exclusively. In reference to the basic course or a basic book, I hear about a 50/50 split between long i and short i.  I think it says either is correct in the dictionary, so pick your poison.  (oh shit, is that pronounced eye-ther or ee-ther?)
Depends which dictionary.
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