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    English missing

    pronunciation of par excellence


    pronunciation of par excellence

    How do you pronounce par excellence in English?
    As the French do?
    Treating the words as English words?
    Authorlate bird (666148) 24 Sep 16, 17:32
    It's not the most common expression, so I can't draw on a recollection of having heard the term very often, but I'd go with a kind of hybrid pronounciation:

    "par" as in English; certainly with an English R
    "excellence" NOT as in English, but with the accent on the last syllable and with the N not pronounced, but the vowel nasalized (approaching the French).

    #1AuthorMartin--cal (272273) 24 Sep 16, 17:43
    [pɑːr ˈɛks(ə)l(ə)ns]
    French: [paʀ ɛksɛ'lɑ̃s]
    #2AuthorReinhard W. (237443) 24 Sep 16, 17:44
    I defer to #2, if that's what the dictionary says. (I may have been too influenced by a smattering of French.)
    #3AuthorMartin--cal (272273) 24 Sep 16, 17:46
    I agree with Martin--cal.
    #4AuthorSpike BE (535528) 24 Sep 16, 18:19
    #5Authorwienergriessler (925617) 24 Sep 16, 18:26
    Die Franzosen binden die beiden Wörter. Ohne glottal stop.
    #6AuthorBraunbärin (757733) 24 Sep 16, 18:35
    Re: 1 & 2: If I understand the dfinition in #1 correctly, I think you're actually saying the same thing (i.e. no need to defer!).

    Cambridge transcribes the pronunciation thus:
    UK / ˌpɑːrˌ ˈlɑ̃ːns / US / ˌpɑːrˌ ˈlɑ̃ːns /

    Oxford transcribes it thus:
    (UK) /pɑːr ˈɛks(ə)l(ə)ns/

    And when I click on the "play" button for the UK versions on the respective sites, they basically sound the same to me, despite the different transcription.
    #7AuthorSP (UK) (792698) 24 Sep 16, 18:43

    is the pronunciation we all agree is right -- i.e., more or less like
    French, with a little more N. There is of course no glottal stop, and the R is English.

    The Oxford pronunciation cited in #7 (and #2a), with the first syllable accented and a schwa in the last syllable, is actually that for the English word 'excellence.' I can't imagine anyone using that pronunciation today in this French phrase, but maybe some BE speakers did at some time in history.
    #8Authorhm -- us (236141) 24 Sep 16, 20:43
    I agree with hm -- us about the Oxford transcription which suggests that 'excellence' is pronounced entirely as in English: very strange.

    And Oxford's own audio pronunciation doesn't agree with its transcription - as SP (UK) has noted, in their 'UK' recordings Oxford and Cambridge both have the same pronunciation, with the nasal vowel.

    Cambridge too is inconsistent: its transcription places the main stress on the final syllable, while, in my opinion, its UK recording places it on the 'ex-', with a secondary stress on '-lence'.

    While I too would have said that I agree with Martin--cal in #1, I think that in Britain we do in fact often stress the 'ex-'.

    I wonder if, as a general rule, the audio recordings on these dictionary sites are more up-to-date than the transcriptions.
    #9AuthorHecuba - UK (250280) 24 Sep 16, 22:47
    SuggestionParr excelaans
    Like #1 I think here in US Midwestom
    #10AuthorJoshuaCoppersmith (1143452) 25 Sep 16, 01:36
    Anglo-French, I'd say. That's to say, with an English r and no nasalization (the last syllable like the first in 'answer'). Stress on the last syllable. That seems to be what #10 says too.
    #11Authorescoville (237761) 25 Sep 16, 09:48
    I agree with Martin (#1): It's not the most common expression (in American usage).

    That said, I have heard it, though mostly on TV--and I have heard it pronounced in various ways.

    IMO, most Americans have never said or written the word(s)--though most would understand its general meaning--and very few would be sure of the correct pronunciation.

    I know what it means, but I think I have never attempted to use the expression, because I am unsure exactly how it is "supposed to be" pronounced. (It's remarkably easy, btw, to go through life without ever using this expression. ;-))
    #12AuthorHappyWarrior (964133) 25 Sep 16, 10:06
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