Saturday, March 14, 2009

How should we pronounce "long-lived"?

from Garner's Usage Tip of the Day

long-lived, adj.

The traditional American English preference, both in this phrase and in "short-lived," has been to pronounce the second syllable /lIvd/, not /livd/. (The sense is "having a long life," and the past-participial form has been made from "life" [/lIf/], not the ordinary verb "live" [/liv/].)

But the predominant practice today -- and the British English preference -- is /livd/. The American tendency to make it a short "-i-" is perhaps explainable on the analogy of the ordinary word "lived"; the British tendency may be influenced additionally by the phrase "long live the Queen."

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