Learn English – “Carbine” rifle | is there pronunciation demographic data


Let me count the ways:

  1. Car-bine (like: dine, refine, canine.)
  2. Car-bean (like: green bean, ravine, serpentine.)
  3. CAR-buhn (like: ..like the right and proper way to pronounce the scotch 'Oban'.)

As I understand it, the British all but universally use the first pronunciation.

The second is supported partially in the U.S. by not only countless old Western movies that 'document' our historic ways and dialects, but also the more astute fact that the word originated as the French “carabine” (pronounced: Cara-bean).

I'd love to see a graphic of North American pronunciation; as I suppose most everywhere else English speaking commonwealth people predominately inherit the Anglicized British form.

Best Answer

As a native American English speaker and avid firearms enthusiast, I can safely say I have never heard anyone of North American heritage and familiar with firearms use any pronunciation other than "CAR-bean". This is the pronunciation used by southerners, mid-westerners, north-easterners, Californians, Rocky Mountaineers, etc. Of course, there are regional differences in the way people pronounce "car", but it is always the same basic pronunciation.

Perhaps there are some small pockets of North America where a few people use a different pronunciation. I can imagine someone from Vermont pronouncing it "CAW-bine", but I have never actually heard it pronounced that way. I have only ever heard New Englanders with the thickest of accents pronounce it "CAW-bean".

On occasion, I've heard firearms novices, having only ever read the word in print and never heard it pronounced before, refer to them as "CAR-bines", but this is usually corrected through exposure to the popular pronunciation.