I was watching anime and noticed the sentence "In the middle of the city". So I wonder how would I pronounce middle of in American English. Should I connect sounding sort of like "middle+love"? Or should I interrupt sounding more like "middle+really quick pause+of"?

Ps. When I connect the tip of my tongue is still on the top of my mouth when I go about to pronounce "of" which sounds more like "love". When I interrupt I pronounce middle, then my tongue goes to its normal resting position and then I pronounce the "of" sounding exactly like "of".

Pps. Can I ask this kind of question here? If I don't. I'm really sorry, but I couldn't find anything on google or youtube.

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    I normally say "middle of"; not "middla". I just tried saying it and "middla" doesn't sound right to me, but others may say it differently.
    – Nick
    Oct 28, 2017 at 2:34

5 Answers 5


While I agree that 'middle of', when spoken in normal conversational English, can be pronounced as 'middluv' (what you're calling a real fast "middle-love"), an even further reduction is possible so that the /v/ sound is omitted, so that you get 'middla'. This pronunciation might not work before all following sounds, but on the Forvo page for 'middle of nowhere' you can hear a speaker from the US (MoiraMinch) and one from Ireland (MollyDub) say

'middla nowhere'. I assume this is because it's easier to omit the 'v' sound before the 'n' sound. So, pronunciation is always influenced by surrounding sounds. (User chrylis comments The /v/ gets dropped especially when the next word starts with a stressed syllable and a consonant. This is the case in 'nowhere'.)

This might be considered even less formal than retaining the /v/, but pronunciation varies among speakers, and neither version can be called wrong or right.

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    Wow. That's really enlightening. I didn't know that forvo site... Really cool. Oct 27, 2017 at 22:36
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    The /v/ gets dropped especially when the next word starts with a stressed syllable and a consonant. Oct 28, 2017 at 0:21
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    Thanks for the Forvo site ref. I'll pass it along to my daughter, who's studying linguistics. Oct 28, 2017 at 12:44
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    I agree that "middla nowhere" definitely sounds American, to me it evokes New York City / New Jersey more than Corn Belt, similar to "Howya doin?" I'm from California and I almost always pronounce the ending "f" as "v".
    – Andrew
    Oct 28, 2017 at 17:15
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    Where I come from "middla" would be informal, and an indication of an lower-class accent of some kind (East-coast or middle American or Irish, for example). Middluv or middeluv would be the pronounciation in both formal and informal case in my part of the world, with middeluv being ever so slightly more "careful". (Canadian). Oct 28, 2017 at 22:06

You may ask this kind of question but you may not get a direct answer. While there is a kind of "standard" American accent, it varies considerably from person to person depending on how clear their diction.

I personally pronounce it as you say, "middle-love" but I'm not trying to pronounce the second "L" sound. I just don't bother to move my tongue from behind my top front teeth.

Of course in things like public speaking where I might want to sound more precise in my language, I will add a pause and clearly enunciate each separate word.

  • Thanks, that's what I really wanted to know... If There are people that actually say it like that, or I was just not listening right. Oct 27, 2017 at 15:18
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    OP does mention "GenAm" (General American, presumably) in the title, which is a well-defined accent/dialect even if many people aren't exactly speaking it
    – eques
    Oct 27, 2017 at 15:41
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_American This is what I'm referring to. There is a specific definition which includes how vowels are typically pronounced, etc. OP even mentioned it.
    – eques
    Oct 27, 2017 at 17:46
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    @eques People can all be speaking GenAm yet still be eloquent, stutter, mumble, talk too fast, etc. Are you saying that if someone speaking GenAm mumbles too severely they aren't, in fact, speaking GenAm?
    – Shane
    Oct 27, 2017 at 20:36
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    No, not sure where you got that. I stated that the OP asks about GenAm and this answer assumes that since accents are so varied, there's nothing to say except personal experience. But GenAm is a thing, so we can at least say what people who speak GenAm and related dialects are likely to do
    – eques
    Oct 27, 2017 at 20:40

If the speaker isn't too concerned with emphasizing a very specific location, then yes it's essentially spoken as 1 word:

I dunno, it's somewhere in the "middelov" all that junk over there.

If the speaker wants to emphasize the exact location, there might be a slight pause or stress on "middle":

"OMG the monster is right 'in the MID-DLE ... of' the CITY!! Run away!!!"


In normal conversation, the phrases middle of and middle of the are often fused into essentially one spoken word. When this occurs, the of is still pronounced, but the normal schwa sound of the o can sometimes become more like the u of put.

The pronunciation of of and the end of love are identical. What difference between them have you encountered in practice?

  • In the sentence I cited they don't fuse... They do pronounce the of, and I'm sure the sound is the same as the end of love. What I'm not sure is if they connect the L--the google dictionary says that middle is pronounced like midl--With of making it sound like middle love. Oct 27, 2017 at 13:50
  • middle ends with a schwa and of when unstressed starts with a schwa; this can lead to the two seeming fused. The vowel in love is similar to the schwa in many accents, which is why middle of sounds like middle-love
    – eques
    Oct 27, 2017 at 15:44
  • @eques "Middle" does not end with a schwa sound, it ends with a L sound. Nobody says "The middleh."
    – Beanluc
    Oct 27, 2017 at 22:06
  • Sorry.. misstated. A schwa though is an reduced unstressed vowel and There are some interpretations that consider the l in middle to be its own syllable (no vowel). thus you end up with middl+(schwa)v which is approximately the same as middl+l(schwa)v (middle + love)
    – eques
    Oct 28, 2017 at 2:13

Go for clear enunciation every time, irrespective of what sloppy native speakers may do. If you're not a native speaker, there's all the more reason to go slowly and enunciate clearly. Give a slight pause after "middle" before the "of". As someone whose profession involves extensive public speaking -- and often to audiences who are not native speakers of English -- I make intelligibility a priority.

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    My objective is a clear and fluid enunciation. Though, when I pause after middle I can't do it with slickly. It's always kind of awkward. Oct 28, 2017 at 19:58
  • What is so different about those two words from any other two? Just use a normal pause and say "middle of"
    – Mawg
    Oct 29, 2017 at 10:14

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