NOON Rhymes with SPOON

Anyone who has watched Downton Abbey or any British-produced show knows that US and British pronunciation differ. We pronounce the consonant sounds of English about the same, but we differ quite a lot when it comes to the vowels.

For example, standard British pronunciation of the vowel in the word bath sounds like “ah,” whereas most Americans pronounce the a in bath like the a in math.

Similarly, the vowels in words like duke and news are pronounced differently by Yanks and Brits in the standard speech. (I specify “standard” because in the UK, as in the US, regional pronunciation often differs from the standard.)

NOTE: The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbol for the vowel sound heard at the end of the word do is [u]. The symbol for the sound heard at the beginning of the word yes is [j].

Here’s how duke and news are pronounced in British and US English:

US speakers do insert the [j] sound into words similar to these. For example:

The spelling oo

Sometimes—by no means always—the double-o spelling represents the [u] sound, as in bootsoon, moon, spoon, noon, loon, boon, coon, doom, goon, groom, and zoo,

Never—until recently—had I ever heard a US speaker attempt to insert the [j] sound into any of these words.

Now, however, nearly every day, I hear a local  TV news announcer pronounce the word news as /nuz/ and then go on to pronounce the word noon as /njun/.

Reporting /nuz/ where you live, morning, /njun/, and night!

I have also heard /njun/ for noon on national radio and TV. Can this be a trend? Let me know if you hear it on the airwaves near you.