I speak with a (General) American accent. Native non-American English speakers sometimes tell me that "you pronounce every single syllable in every word." I've also stumbled upon very similar comments on AmE on the internet too often for this to be an idiosyncracy of mine.

This got me thinking: could this feature of American English have arisen out of the sheer vast multiculturalism in the US that the country has enjoyed pretty much from the start of its existence (since everyone who is American and whose mother tongue is not English "would want" to hear every syllable of what's being said).

I don't even know what to google to get an answer. It seems like something a linguist can answer.

1 Answer 1


As a literal and general claim, I doubt the accuracy of that statement for any native speaker (words like family, camera, potato, supposed contain syllables that are frequently subject to elision in American English).

In terms of specific things it might be getting at/related to, there is an interesting answer by Evelyn on the ELL Stack exchange site replying to the question "'-...ory' : Pronunciation difference between American and British English?" that points out that Noah Webster advocated teaching spelling by dividing words into syllables for students. Here’s a link that discusses this somewhat. Evelyn suggests Webster’s influence may be the cause for some cases where American English speakers tend to use more syllables than speakers of other varieties, such as words ending in -ary and -ory.

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