I found beholder is pronounced like [bihóuldər] but I heard some speaker in the VOA pronounced it like [bəhóuldər]. Which one is right? Are native speakers confused with them?


Which one is right?

[bihóuldər] is technically the correct pronunciation.

Are native speakers confused with them?

As a native speaker, I would say no. Furthermore, I would also point out that it seems very common to use a "lazy" pronunciation and to say [bəhóuldər] (at least in the United States).

  • Exactly. In speech, vowels are often "weakened" (not a technical term, but you know what I mean—not as distinct as the official pronunciation) Still, I doubt you would hear even an American say "Behold!" with a schwa. (But then, you might never hear an American say "Behold!"—it seems to us too quaint/theatrical.) – Brian Hitchcock Oct 26 '15 at 6:03
  • @BrianHitchcock Depends on theatrics, definitely. =P – Anaksunaman Oct 26 '15 at 6:16
  • 2
    I say behold with a schwa. behold with an /i/ sounds like a place you keep your honey. :-) – hunter Oct 26 '15 at 18:21
  • @hunter Lol I was actually thinking the same thing =P – Anaksunaman Oct 27 '15 at 20:47

To my (American) ear, both pronunciations are correct. I use both pronunciations myself. I prefer the unstressed first syllable (with the schwa).

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