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Ask a linguist - Message details

Subject: Pronunciation of Aaron vs. Erin
My sister named her son Aaron. She is adamant that his name is pronounced with the ''a'' sound as in ''apple'' rather than with the ''eh'' sound which she says is exclusively for the girl's name ''Erin.'' From my research it seems that England and Australia as well as parts of New York, New Jersey and New England support pronouncing these names differently, while in the rest of the U.S. (particularly the Midwest) these names are pronounced exactly alike. Is there a ''correct'' pronuncation and does that correct pronunciation call for them to be pronounced the same way?

Hi, Evan,

I'm from the Midwest (Toledo, Ohio) originally, and I think I pronounce both words as Anthea says, except that there is no vowel length distinction. That is, Erin for me would usually have a 'barred-i' in the second syllable, but could have shwa. Aaron would always have shwa.


James L. Fidelholtz
Posgrado en Ciencias del Lenguaje
Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, México

Reply From: James L Fidelholtz     click here to access email
Date: Mar-09-2007
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Pronunciation of Aaron vs. Erin   Herbert Frederic Stahlke    (Mar-08-2007)
  2. Re: Pronunciation of Aaron vs. Erin   Anthea Fraser Gupta    (Mar-08-2007)
  3. Re: Pronunciation of Aaron vs. Erin   Elizabeth J Pyatt    (Mar-09-2007)

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