35 Comments

  1. I used to pronounce it “carbyne” until I got an M1 Carbine, which seems to have been most widely pronounced “carbean” by the people who were using them to save the world, so I figured it was only proper to adopt that pronunciation. I suspect the British pronounce it “carbyne” for the sole purpose of adulterating yet another French word; a practice which seems to bring them unending satisfaction.

    • I would somewhat doubt that, although I am not well versed enough in English dialects and closely related languages (such as Scots) to say anything certain. Pronouncing letter i as /aI/ (sorry, cant reproduce IPA with this font) is feature of modern English (beginning ca. 1600–1650), but many dialects preserve the earlier Middle English values to some degree.

      However, the word “carabine” was loaned from French apparently sometime in the 17th century, so it’s possible that the Modern English pronunciation became the only one in the UK. That still leaves open where the “carbean” pronunciation came to US English, which didn’t really even exist before the mid-19th Century. It could come from the aforementioned “peripheral” dialects in England or it could be French or German influence. Like Ian said, both are most certainly correct at least for their respective areas, although “carbean” might be incorrect in England.

  2. When I was in Army Basic Training at Ft. Dix, NJ, our group was assigned to a detail, cleaning the cosmoline from a truckload of stored M-1 carbines. The NCO in charge of our detail told us, “Mens, this here is the M-1 Car-been. It is named Car-been because it were invented by a man named Car-been, while he were in prizum.” So now you know.

  3. I’m trying to break a bad habit. When I argue with fools, everybody gets confused about who the fool is. Of course, a quick look in the mirror educates me. Maybe one day I’ll succeed in breaking this bad habit.

  4. Tomato…Tomato…Potato…Potato…Pratie…Pomme de Terre…Kartoffel…Papa..

    Personally, I say “Car-bean” because in some of the other languages I know a smattering of it is “Carabina,” “mosquetão,” the Russian word up there Daweo has reminded us of, and Karabiner, which admittedly is often confused with mountain climbing gear.

    Now the real debate is John Cantius Garand’s name… In French I do believe it would be “Gah-rrrrahn(d)” with the r rolled in the back of the throat as if one were about to really hawk a loogie while spitting… Yet in Texas it is most decidedly “GUH-rand” while those of us pedantic people who like to spoil conversations and have read Hatcher’s Notebooks pronounce it “Gair-Rund” a bit like “gerund” perhaps but with the hard G sound.

    I once patiently explained that sometimes people Anglicize how their name is pronounced… Big can o’ worms.

  5. I could not care much less which pronunciation one chooses, but I grew up in the Midwest and currently live in the Southwest. I’ve never heard anyone, in-person, say “cahr-bean”.

  6. Linguistics are fun especially to people not born into English. We have our own view, but….. who cares. Potahto or potayto. 🙂

  7. Ian your stubborn and naive hope that there can be not one CORRECT answer on the Interwebs is yet another example of a political and cultural philosophy with with all Right Thinking people will disagree!

  8. “Two bickering languages that cannot actually agree on anything except that they regard American English as vulgar!”
    And British English is Fun! BTW, it’s the *only* fun thing in the Kingdom…

  9. Reminds me of a husband and wife driving to Taos, New Mexico. The husband thought it was Tae-oos and the wife called it Taus. The husband said he was right and would prove it, so he pulled off the road at the first business he came to, walked inside and demanded that the young woman behind the counter carefully, slowly, pronounce the name of this place, just as the residents there do.

    The puzzled girl behind the counter replied “D-a-I-r-y Q-u-e-e-n.”

  10. Another firearms related word I have heard pronounced in different ways is “lever.” On some youtube channels I hear “LEEver.”

  11. InBritain, depending on social class and area, gun can sound like it rhymes with gone, gen, gurn, gan, and several other ways. As George Bernard Shaw said:

    ‘It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.’

    One thing that unites them all though is chuckling at how American’s try and pronounce Worcestershire, Leicestershire, and the many other booby-trap place names.

    One other, slightly relevant, point: that the dominance of the SMLE affectively removed carbine from common usage, for most of the last Century there were not a lot of carbines in Britain, and Britain is not a very gun conscious country anyway. Most of them wouldn’t know what a carbine was no matter how you pronounced it.

    • I’ve heard “Worst-er-sher” and “Woo-ster-sher” both. As for “Les-ter-sher”, the main argument there seems to be as to whether or not the first syllable is stressed.

      Here in Lancaster, OH, we call it “Lank-a-ster”. But Columbusites insist on calling it “Lan-CAS-ter”. So, which lot is pronouncing it correctly re the Avro bomber and the town it was named for?

      cheers

      eon

      • All of these ways of pronouncing the place’s name would be acceptable to most of the English, apart from the more than usually autistic, and the people who actually lived there. It is Woo-cest-sher-shire (as heard on Drivers, Dine Inns and Dives) that causes chuckles.

        The Avro Lancaster, however, now seems to be Lan-caser, with a very soft n and c.. This is not how most Lancastrian’s would have pronounced it a few decades ago, but now the internet is the most important judge of pronunciation I have no idea how them Lancy twats say it! (says a man as lives in Yorkshire).

        I would like to thank Ian for a splendid video. It does not surprise me that this channel devoted to guns is, probably, the best place to visit for random but meaningful discussions about almost anything apart from cooking and knitting. Although I think I saw a review of a mess kit on here or inrangetv?

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