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Question for native speakers of American English


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Poll: Data or data (344 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you pronounce the word "data"?

  1. The first syllable rhymes with "day" and "say" (220 votes [63.95%])

    Percentage of vote: 63.95%

  2. The first syllable rhymes with "that" and "sat" (82 votes [23.84%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.84%

  3. Other (33 votes [9.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.59%

  4. I am not a native speaker of American English, but I wanted to vote anyway (9 votes [2.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.62%

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#1 Tanaqui

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:32 PM

My mother and I have ten dollars riding on this, so please - be honest. And by "honest" I mean "say what I want you to say".

 

And no dithering "I say this, but that sounds better" or "I used to say this, but I make a real effort to say it the other way". Pick the pronunciation you naturally and habitually use.


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#2 Carrie12345

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:34 PM

Ay as in day.
But people look at me funny.

#3 Matryoshka

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:38 PM

Both.  Aren't I helpful? :D


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#4 Ottakee

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:38 PM

Can I claim both? I use both pronounciations.
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#5 gardenmom5

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:44 PM

both.   depends on context.

 

eta.  . . . tenses as well


Edited by gardenmom5, 19 May 2017 - 06:45 PM.

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#6 fraidycat

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:47 PM

Both, although technically I'm a native speaker of Canadian English.
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#7 maize

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:47 PM

I think I mostly say day-duh, but da-duh rolls off my tongue naturally too and I'm not at all sure I don't use it sometimes--I kind of think it depends on the surrounding words, or maybe what color shirt I am wearing or something.

There are other words that I know I use more than one pronunciation for--either would be a prime example. I think I say Ee-ther and Eye-ther with nearly equal frequency.
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#8 slackermom

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:49 PM

Both. Depends on various things, including context.

But, although I am a native speaker of American English, I have lived in many different places, and have been exposed to many different accents.
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#9 slackermom

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:51 PM

I also have an aunt that rhymes with ant, and an aunt that rhymes with haunt.
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#10 Word Nerd

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:51 PM

I always say it like DAY-ta.
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#11 slr1765

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:53 PM

After years of watching Star Trek the Next Generation, there is only one way to say it for me.


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#12 matrips

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:53 PM

I say both depending on the situation.
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#13 Pawz4me

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:54 PM

Other (both). No reason why other than both seem to be equally common so I say whichever pops out of my mouth.



#14 Matryoshka

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:58 PM

I also have an aunt that rhymes with ant, and an aunt that rhymes with haunt.

 

I use both pronunciations for that too, but at least I have an explanation for my divergence on that one... 

 

The local pronunciation is Aunt like haunt, so I always use that one when I'm referring to an aunt, or my aunt.

 

But all of my aunts are from other parts of the country where it's pronounced like ant.  So my Ant Mary.

 

But again... my nephews are local, and they call me Auntie myname (rhymes with jaunty).

 

On the other hand, I have no rhyme or reason why I sometimes say day-ta and sometimes da-ta.  It might have something to do with context or sentence placement, but I'd have to spend time deconstructing to figure it out... it might also be totally random...


Edited by Matryoshka, 19 May 2017 - 06:59 PM.

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#15 EKS

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:01 PM

I picked the first choice: rhymes with day and say.

 

But I remember many years ago, 30-40 years ago, that it might have been the rhymes with that version.



#16 Tangerine

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:02 PM

My DH is a data scientist. I know he says both regularly.
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#17 ChrisB

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:02 PM

I'm in the "both" category, so I marked "other."


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#18 slackermom

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:03 PM

I use both pronunciations for that too, but at least I have an explanation for my divergence on that one...

The local pronunciation is Aunt like haunt, so I always use that one when I'm referring to an aunt, or my aunt.

But all of my aunts are from other parts of the country where it's pronounced like ant. So my Ant Mary.

But again... my nephews are local, and they call me Auntie myname (rhymes with jaunty).


I am also a jaunty auntie to my nieces. I think you and I are in the same local area, if I remember correctly.
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#19 happysmileylady

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:05 PM

After years of watching Star Trek the Next Generation, there is only one way to say it for me.

 

Yep, what she said.  There will never be another way to pronounce it in my mind.  I do know that a short A is also acceptable, but I can't say it any other way except the name of Brent Spiner's character.


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#20 Arctic Mama

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:13 PM

I figure if it was supposed to have a short vowel sound it would be spelled "datta". Generally speaking, two vowels separated by a single consonant indicates the first vowel says a long sound, like "dayta".
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#21 Miss Peregrine

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:13 PM

As a child of the 80's who loved Goonies, long A.


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#22 edelweiss

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:28 PM

I say it both ways.  



#23 gstharr

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:45 PM

It is Friday. After Happy Hour. I don't understand the question. Sorry.


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#24 myfunnybunch

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:48 PM

Long A.

This is a part of my job title, so I say it a lot.
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#25 CES2005

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:50 PM

Seriously, I pretty evenly split it between the two, depending on which side of the bed I woke up on.  



#26 Um_2_4

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:57 PM

Native Midwesterner and I use both, but mostly short a. DAY-ta is what DH uses (not native speaker by any stretch of the imagination).



#27 Laurie4b

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:05 PM

I use both day-tuh and dat-uh so I voted other



#28 happysmileylady

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:08 PM

As a child of the 80's who loved Goonies, long A.

"these guys tell me to use the stairs, when Data is falling!"
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#29 Crimson Wife

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:23 PM

When it's being used as a modifier, long a.

 

When it's being used by itself, short a.

 

I gave the DAH-ta to the DAY-ta analyst.


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#30 Slartibartfast

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:28 PM

After years of watching Star Trek the Next Generation, there is only one way to say it for me.

 

 

I think there are quite a few of us that say it like this. :lol:


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#31 xahm

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:31 PM

It rhymes with Sat-a most of the time when I'm actually talking about information, but it I say the word in isolation, star trek shows its influence here as well.

#32 Word Nerd

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:39 PM

When it's being used as a modifier, long a.

When it's being used by itself, short a.

I gave the DAH-ta to the DAY-ta analyst.


Wait. Is that like DOT-a?

#33 Crimson Wife

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:42 PM

Wait. Is that like DOT-a?

 

No, short a to rhyme with hat, cat, sat, that, etc. Like when the doctor tells you to open up as say, "ah".
 


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#34 maize

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:47 PM

No, short a to rhyme with hat, cat, sat, that, etc. Like when the doctor tells you to open up as say, "ah".


Now you're really messing with my mind because when the doctor says "say ah" it is short o sound like in hot or the first syllable of awful.
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#35 MrsMommy

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:47 PM

After years of watching Star Trek the Next Generation, there is only one way to say it for me.

 

Very yes!



#36 Rach

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:48 PM

Both ways, but usually with a long a.
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#37 Where's Toto?

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:03 PM

Another that does it both ways.  Just what my whim is at the moment.  

 

I do it with other things too, including my name - two syllables, three syllables, starts with door-, starts with dar-.


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#38 iamonlyone

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:23 PM

I voted "other." always said it the "rhymes with 'that'" way until quite a number of years ago when my husband started managing an IT department. He tells me it's pronounced date-a in the IT industry, so now I say it that way...but I have to think before I pronounce it or I'll go back to the first way I pronounced it (which I sometimes do).


Edited by iamonlyone, 19 May 2017 - 09:25 PM.


#39 ClemsonDana

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:29 PM

Day-ta...in the years that I spent working in university research labs, that's what I heard most often.

#40 fairfarmhand

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:31 PM

After years of watching Star Trek the Next Generation, there is only one way to say it for me.

 

Yup. This.



#41 Quill

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:44 PM

No, short a to rhyme with hat, cat, sat, that, etc. Like when the doctor tells you to open up as say, "ah".


Yeah, what? Doctor doesn't say "Open up and say (rhymes with cat) aaaa."

Do you say, "The faht caht saht on the maht?" I'm confused.

#42 nixpix5

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:57 PM

Long a sound for me exclusively.

#43 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:57 PM

I say both, depending on context and who I am talking to.  Locally, I usually say dayta.  



#44 Lady Florida.

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:03 PM

I had to vote other. Since you asked for honesty, sometimes I say dayta, sometimes dat-uh. I don't know why. Yes I'm a native speaker.



#45 Crimson Wife

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:24 PM

Yeah, what? Doctor doesn't say "Open up and say (rhymes with cat) aaaa."

Do you say, "The faht caht saht on the maht?" I'm confused.

 

Apparently this is a New England thing because DH (grew up in the Mid-Atlantic) just laughed when I asked him about it.

 

It's /æ/ as in "apple", "agriculture", "addition", etc.



#46 Matryoshka

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:37 PM

Apparently this is a New England thing because DH (grew up in the Mid-Atlantic) just laughed when I asked him about it.

It's /æ/ as in "apple", "agriculture", "addition", etc.


But I'm from New England, and I've always heard 'say ah' as the a in father (which is the same sound in aunt here), most definitely not the a in cat or ant or apple.
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#47 Mabelen

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:38 PM

Special commendation for including option D. You really are too kind, Tanaqui.

Since I am already commenting, I will say I always pronounce it as in option A.

#48 Ravin

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:12 PM

The first thing I thought of was Mr. Data on Star Trek:TNG correcting Dr. Pulaski when she mispronounced his name.
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#49 KungFuPanda

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:42 PM

I figure if it was supposed to have a short vowel sound it would be spelled "datta". Generally speaking, two vowels separated by a single consonant indicates the first vowel says a long sound, like "dayta".


This is an excellent argument for why we say BAY-zel instead of bA-zel. Or BAY -bee instead of BA-bee, but the op might not want these examples cluttering her argument.

I'm another one who uses both pronunciations. The Star Trek character is always a long A, but a data base could go either way. Maybe, as a country, we're sliding our pronunciation in favor of the long A, but we're still in transition?
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#50 poppy

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 12:04 AM

After years of watching Star Trek the Next Generation, there is only one way to say it for me.

 

And he even corrects someone who uses the short a..


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