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pronunciation of lasso

June 9, 2013

I’m watching the French Open tennis final at the moment (and feeling slightly sorry for David Ferrer) and the American co-commentator has just used the word lasso, which he pronounced LASS-oh. I pronounce this word lass-OO, because that’s the pronunciation that I’ve heard, but I’ve always felt slightly uneasy about it, and have on occasion avoided using the word for that reason (not that I have cause to use it very often). So I googled ‘pronunciation of lasso’ and found an extremely interesting article about it, which states that the word is of Spanish origin (lazo), and that for some reason speakers of American English rendered this as lass-OO, and British English speakers followed suit; subsequently American English went over to LASS-oh, which is closer to the original, but British and Australian speakers have not followed suit. The article also states that avoidance of the word by British speakers is quite common, because of uncertainty about its pronunciation; fortunately the synonym lariat is to hand.

If anyone wants to read the source article, which is much more knowledgeable and entertaining than this post, and is also followed by an interesting discussion as to why these changes might have occurred, it is at http://forthright.livejournal.com/222078.html .

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One Comment
  1. Van permalink

    I grew up in Perth and I’ve always pronounced it as luh-SOO.

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