According to wiktionary, the British pronunciation is /ˈpɹɪv.ə.si/ and American pronunciation is /ˈpɹaɪ.və.si/.

Recently I watched a British show, one of the people on the show, who is from England, used the later pronunciation. Are both pronunciations used in British English.

(In case someone is curious, the show was 10 O'Clock Live, in the discussion about Edward Snowden, Jimmy Carr was consistently using the pronunciation ˈpɹaɪ.və.si and David Mitchell pronounced it as ˈpɹɪv.ə.si.)


2 Answers 2


Wells 2008 (The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 3rd ed. - LPD-3) gives the following data:

Preference poll, BrE:

ˈprɪv- 88%, ˈpraɪv- 12%.


The 'correct' British pronunciation is /ˈpɹɪv.ə.si/ but the infiltration of American TV etc into the British consciousness has left a mixed usage, so both versions are now common.

It's the same situation in New Zealand, where the original British source of the local English has been overlaid with more recent American influences.

  • 2
    I think it's also fair to say many speakers will simply casually echo back the same pronunciation someone else has just used. Personally, I'm quite likely to say uz instead of us if I'm talking with others who use that form, but I would probably never be the first one to introduce it into a conversation. I haven't watched the particular episode OP refers to, but perhaps Mitchell was deliberately not doing this to subtly call attention to what he saw as Carr's "not-entirely-kosher" usage. Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 22:21
  • I've never heard or was aware of us-uz thing before! Thanks
    – learner
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 5:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .