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demob
Posted: 12 June 2012 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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aldiboronti - 12 June 2012 01:30 PM

My father always pronounced it dee-mob, with equal stress on both syllables and the last rhyming with cob and rob. I too pronounce it thus and don’t recall hearing it any other way.

That would be “dē-mäb” then, if I am not mistaken.

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Posted: 12 June 2012 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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When I lived in Britain a few years after WW2, ex-servicemen invariably used the term to refer to their discharge from military service (either as noun -"after my demob” - or verb: “Cyril was demobbed"). Clearly, “demobilization” was originally an official term used by the UK government - presumably (given the evidence available) first after WW1. “Demob” was always pronounced as aldi described.

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Posted: 13 June 2012 12:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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That would be “dē-mäb” then, if I am not mistaken.

That seems more like an American pronunciation, rather than a Hampshire one.

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Posted: 17 June 2012 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Interestingly (well, I think so) the word probably only exists in “Modern British English” in the fixed phrase “demob happy”, “adj. chiefly Brit. deliriously excited or elated because of (impending) release from a job, assignment, posting, etc.” (OED online, draft additions September 2008), eg in this quote from a comment in The Guardian’s education section earlier this month:

May is a lousy time in the classroom - and the kids are ready for a break - and demob happy as they see the yr 11s and 13s leave

although you can still catch occasional references in a historical context to “demob suit”, “a suit issued to a soldier upon demobilization”.

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Posted: 17 June 2012 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Although I don’t remember the garments themselves, I do remember references to “demob suits” (usually humorous: it seems they fitted about as well as the uniform had). 

This was the north of England.  Demob was pronounced with a stress on the second syllable, and the vowel in the first was more like the vowel sound in “hit”; “di - MOB” suit.

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Posted: 17 June 2012 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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The suits were a sort of dreary gray colour (you could call it “the 1984 look"). I think something similar is now issued to males doing time in HM prisons. Years ago, when I used to attend professional conferences in Europe, the Finnish delegates seemed always to turn up all dressed in the same kind of suits, with harmonizing black string ties.

It’s easy to make fun, I know. The fact is that demobbed British servicemen after WW2 were far better treated by their Government than survivors of previous wars had ever been.

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Posted: 18 June 2012 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Never heard it pronounced with the stress on the second syllable - always as aldi described, and also in the north of England.

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Posted: 22 June 2012 10:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Eliza, I’ve got a visitor staying with me, a woman in her eighties, who speaks with a broad Yorkshire accent (Brighouse area).  I wondered how she’d pronounce “demob suit”, but didn’t want to ruin the scientific validity of my research by simply asking.  So with consummate cunning I wrote the words “demob suit” on a slip of paper and asked her if she knew what they meant.  Impatiently - she is from Yorkshire - she said of course she did, because her husband had had a demob suit.  And she said it just as I do - accent on the second syllable, and the first sounding more like the vowel in “hit” than the one in “reed”.

What’s going on?

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Posted: 22 June 2012 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Remember we’re a country where accents vary hugely - as I’ve said before, many times, so what’s pronounced one way in a tiny part of one town (in this case in West Yorkshire) may be totally different from the next town.  I say “may be”, because accents vary so much in the UK. 

I reiterate: I’ve always heard it pronounced as aldi said and I’ve lived much further north (by England standards) than Brighouse on both sides of the country.

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Posted: 23 June 2012 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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ElizaD’s absolutely right - there are about as many ways of pronouncing a given word in the UK*, as there are inhabitants. Why this insistence on trying to force such an idiosyncratic thing as pronunciation into a mould? You’ll get an imperfect fit at best.

* I’m sure this equally true in the USA, in OZ, on Pitcairn Island, in Windhoek, wherever English is spoken (or people think it is). Quibbling about nuances of English pronunciation is fruitless. Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice.........

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Posted: 23 June 2012 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Why this insistence on trying to force such an idiosyncratic thing as pronunciation into a mould?

Nobody’s trying to fit anything into a mold; slam is simply saying (s)he’s familiar with a different pronunciation.

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