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I was listening to a debate on the radio. There was a guest who was not a native English speaker.

He was pronouncing the verb "negotiate" as "/nego'si'eit/".

I supposed that he made a mistake but, when he used this pronunciation multiple times, I decided to search and came across with this thread on WR.

However, there are many contradictory answers.

That motivated me to ask a similar question here.

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  • Some native speakers palatalize the sibilant, some don't. Dec 20, 2015 at 12:14

2 Answers 2

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As @TRomano commented, the "ti" syllable of negotiate is sometimes pronounced as see instead of she. This may be influenced by the pronunciation of Latin words containing "ti" before a vowel, but regardless of motivation, this pronunciation is quite common among native English speakers, particularly with the noun form, negotiation.

Surprisingly, the pronunciation guide in the MW entry for negotiate displays the ÷ symbol before the -se- variant, which means that it is a pronunciation that "many regard as unacceptable" (the last entry on the last page of the linked PDF file explains their use of the symbol).

As a point of reference, oxforddictionaries.com lists only the -she- pronunciation for negotiate.

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  • thanks for the answer, but Oxford says it is pronounced -she- rather -se-
    – Cardinal
    Dec 20, 2015 at 15:24
  • @Cardinal Sorry, that was a typo. Corrected now.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 20, 2015 at 17:36
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Nego-she-ate Is the correct pronunciation. You would probably spell it "negociate" instead of "negotiate" if you had never seen it written before.

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