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Where do people pronounce "route" as ro͞ot, and as rout?

In Maryland of U.S., I hear only rout, and I was looked at strangely when I said ro͞ot as if I wasn't speaking proper English. When I changed myself to get used to speaking rout, I hear only ro͞ot in TOEFL examination.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

According to the Harvard Dialect Survey (click to see the map),

route (as in, "the route from one place to another")
  a. rhymes with "hoot" (29.99%)
  b. rhymes with "out" (19.72%)
  c. I can pronounce it either way interchangeably (30.42%)
  d. I say it like "hoot" for the noun and like "out" for the verb. (15.97%)
  e. I say it like "out" for the noun and like "hoot" for the verb. (2.50%)
  f. other (1.40%)
  (11137 respondents)

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That provides the proportions for several pronunciation cases, but doesn't address the question asked: Where do people pronounce it thus and so? –  jwpat7 Dec 25 '13 at 18:58
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There is too much overlap. And as far as I know, there are more than one way to define regions of American dialects. The data provided support both pronunciations. So neither of them is wrong. My best advice is: follow the usage of his peers. –  Damkerng T. Dec 25 '13 at 19:06
    
In case anyone might be interested in American dialects, you can start here: washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/12/02/…. According to the first map, Maryland should fall in to either the dialect 11 North Midland or the dialect 21 Coastal Southern. And according to the second map, Maryland should fall into either the Upper South dialect or less likely the Lower North dialect. –  Damkerng T. Dec 25 '13 at 19:12
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I'm no professional, but my teacher told me that "route", when referring to a way/path taken (eg Route 10 in Pokemon), is pronounced sounding like "hoot".

The sound which rhymes with "out" is only used in "router", as in the networking device.

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I pronounce them exactly the same way, because that is what I've heard, e.g. router rhymes with out and its function is to route (also rhymes with out) data packets. But I would pronounce the word route in the movie Route 66 as root. –  Damkerng T. Dec 26 '13 at 18:31
    
@DamkerngT. Me, too. –  StoneyB Dec 26 '13 at 19:01
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This, and several other, pronunciations, are influenced by spelling, and not from ancient variations in the pronunciation (contrast the marry/merry merger) and hence we don't expect it to be tied to one region. This map confirms this, although there do seem to be some tendencies:

http://www4.uwm.edu/FLL/linguistics/dialect/staticmaps/q_26.html

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From Australia - The word route - pronounced as hoot - comes direct from the French, and is the correct pronunciation. 'Rowt' is an abomination.


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Do you pronounce "route" the French way? How about "en route" or "ensemble" or "art"? Pronunciations change, and "route" rhyming with "rowt" is perfectly acceptable in some places. –  nxx Apr 11 at 1:42
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In England and the rest of the UK, route and root are pronounced the same and rhyme with the words loot and moot.

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