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On 03/30/2011 03:05 AM, Bernhard Dippold wrote:
Hi all,

Italo Vignoli wrote:

I am not a native English speaker, but I think that "liberty" - which
has the same root of libre - is not pronounced as "laiberty". I have
heard many native English speakers pronounce libre, and they all
pronounce it the same way.

That's not my experience -- at SCaLE, there were at least two different pronunciations just from us manning the booth (never-minding the attendees).

On 3/30/11 8:37 AM, M Henri Day wrote:

What, pray, is «the English pronunciation of "libre"» ? If the first vowel
is to be pronounced as «aɪ» as in, say, «live», it differs vastly from the
customary pronunciation in almost all European languages - Germanic as well
as Romance - which is much closer to «iː», and can hardly serve as «the
reference for every language»....

I agree with both of you:

Even if  "library" is pronounced differently, I'd like to hear "libre" to be pronounced
like "Libra", the zodiac balance sign. Unlike to "liberty", the "i" is a long vowel.

My recommendation for what to tell U.S. English speakers who ask for the pronunciation of LibreOffice is this:

In U.S. English, many people pronounce LibreOffice as "Libre", which rhymes with "zebra", followed by the regular word "Office". But, pronounce it how you want.


Pretty much all native U.S. English speakers know of only one way to pronounce "zebra", so the description is clear. "Libra" is suboptimal as a pronunciation guide because it has multiple meanings in English (the ancient Roman pound, the astrological sign, etc.), each with a different pronunciation. I think it is unnecessarily complicated to have to get into which pronunciation of "Libra" one is drawing attention to.

Talk of long or short vowels is also bound to confuse, because of regional differences in the meaning of "long vowel". In U.S. English, for example, we would say that "liberty" has a short "i", library has a long "i", and "zebra" has a long e. In my U.S. English pronunciation of LibreOffice, "Libre" rhymes with the U.S. English pronunciation of "zebra" and has a long "e" sound (not long "i"). There are fewer English words spelled with an "i" and pronounced with a long "e" sound, which is why the word is tricky to pronounce in English.


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