Who you callin’ “hick”?

The husband is well-known in our family as the one who has trouble pronouncing words. Two words, specifically. Pin and pen. They are undistinguishable to his tongue and our ears. Yet he gets mad at us when we misunderstand him. His southern roots also show strongly on the words fire and tire, which sound almost exactly like far and tar. (But not quite as exactly as pin and pen.)

So imagine my consternation when he called me a hick!! We were sitting at his favorite bar before heading to the ballpark to watch yet another ‘Stros loss (my in-person record is 1-9 so far this year) and he used the word “often”.

I said, “Do you really say it that way, off – ten?”

He said, “Of course, how do you say it?”

And with my perfect, mid-western NON-accent I said, “off – en.”

He said, “Ew, that sounds so hick.”

Needless to say, I took umbrage.

Also, needless to say, I had to investigate. My review of on-line dictionaries indicates that off – en is the first pronunciation and off-ten is the second, but equally proper pronunciation. Anyone care to weigh in?


6 thoughts on “Who you callin’ “hick”?

  1. Off-en Off-en Off-en. Please remember that those clear Midwestern accents are not hick, they are the pure accent in the middle of the country. : )

  2. when i asked a group of people here in southern missouri i got an “off-ten” an “off-en” and an “off-din”. i give up.

    • There don’t seem to be any clear-cut geographic/cultural rules on this one, but as one of my new favorite buttons at BWB says, “I could agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.” I’m sticking with off-en.

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