Advanced search

how to pronounce 'clerk'

(8 Posts)
NadiaWadia Thu 07-Feb-13 05:35:56

as a British-English speaking person, you would rhyme it with 'dark' and 'park', wouldn't you? (please say yes!)

to rhyme it with 'jerk' is the American way, isn't it?

Or has the pronunciation shifted? Just been watching 'The Promise' (Channel 4) where the British characters keep saying it the American way (and it is supposed to be in the 1940s as well!) and it is doing my head in!

DD's friend also recently told me her mother is a 'clerk' to rhyme with berk/jerk.

Northey Thu 07-Feb-13 05:52:10

Clerk to rhyme with park now. But I wonder if it did have a pronunciation shift at some point. I'd be surprised if it changed between 1940 and now though, so God knows what the c4 production company was doing.

corblimeymadam Thu 07-Feb-13 06:01:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MirandaGoshawk Mon 11-Feb-13 15:38:22

Maybe it's after that song - Katrina & the Waves? Echo Beach - "My job is very boring, I'm an office clerk" sang to rhyme with berk.

Very annoying. But it's that kind of exposure that ensures it gets into everyday use, even when it's American wrong.

badtime Mon 11-Feb-13 16:32:32

Martha & the Muffins sang Echo Beach.

MirandaGoshawk Wed 13-Feb-13 15:51:57

Oh blush Sorry - crossed wires in brain. But I bet KATW sang it sometimes too. In the shower.

Jacksterbear Fri 15-Feb-13 12:45:49

To rhyme with park, yes.

Martha and the Muffins: what an awesome band name.

gastrognome Sun 17-Feb-13 16:51:43

Yes, there are quite a few other words in Englsh where "er" is pronounced "ar". E.g. Various place names like Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Derby, etc. (also, remember the Darling Buds of May and "parfick"?)

Apparently around 1800 there was some change in pronunciation among certain social categories in the UK which led to the "ar" variant. For some words, the new pronunciation stuck. This didn't cross the Atlantic, so in American Englsh the old pronunciation is still used. Or so I have read.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: