How to pronounce et cetera

How to pronounce et cetera

The Latin phrase et cetera (usually abbreviated as etc.), which may be translated as “and so forth” or “and other things”, is commonly used in the English language. While listening to this video, I remembered that I had previously heard a number of people pronounce et cetera in an unusual way.

The correct pronunciations (there are several, similar to the case of et al.) of et cetera are given by the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, and agree with that given by the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. The standard British pronunciation is either [ˌet ˈsetərə] or [ˌet ˈsetrə], whereas the standard American pronunciation is [ˌet ˈsetərə] (with the second t flapped, listen here). Alternatively, [ˌɪt ˈset(ə)rə] is also used in British and American English. The unusual pronunciation mentioned above (you can hear it in the video) is [ˌek ˈsetərə]. It is listed as “considered incorrect” in the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, and reminds me of an alternative pronunciation of the word espresso, namely [ekˈspresəʊ], which is not listed in any of the standard dictionaries and hence apparently also incorrect.

Finally, it is interesting that the abbreviation etc. is pronounced just like et cetera itself, whereas other common Latin expressions such as e.g. (exempli gratia, Latin for “for example”, see here) and i.e. (id est, Latin for “that is”, see here) are pronounced as abbreviations, i.e., as [ˌiː ˈdʒi] and [ˌaɪ ˈiː].


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