Learn English – Pronunciation of Gala in different circumstances


It is my understanding that Gala can be properly pronounced three different ways (sorry I don't know IPA):
– noun: like GAY-la meaning a party (hopefuly with GAity)
– adjective: GAL-uh, describing a type of event (on the CALendar)
– other: GAH-luh, like the kind of apple (from Latin mala: apple)

Is this the usual way to pronounce it?

EDIT: Looking around for sources, I see a video saying "Americans" say it the 3rd way, and a video declaring that British people say it the 1st way (or as someone noted: GAR-la with the usually silent R that they like to make explicit). I grew up with three pronunciations and three meanings.

A source says that it is derived: From French gala or Italian gala, both from Medieval Latin, Latinized form of Frankish wala ‎(“good, well”). (Latin would pronounce that WAH-luh.) So, that would support the 3rd pronunciation, which is also the least used in my experience. How could the original pronunciation come to be forgotten?

Best Answer

Walker's pronouncing dictionary of the English language, from 1828, says that gala should be pronounced gayla /geɪlə/, drama should be pronounced drayma /dreɪmə/, and stratum and strata should be pronounced straytum /streɪtʌm/ and strayta /streɪtə/, etc.

Assuming that English adapted these words during Middle English, and pronounced them then in the Latin manner, if they underwent the expected changes from the Great Vowel Shift, the result would be gayla, drayma, strata pronunciation. This was actually the standard way to pronounce Latin words in English at the time. While gala and stratum were adapted when the Great Vowel Shift was almost over, presumably they were pronounced with /eɪ/ by analogy with other Latin words.

At some point since Walker wrote his dictionary, some scholars suddenly realized that this wasn't the way that Latin used to be pronounced, and tried to get English speakers to revise their pronunciation of these words. This has led to mass confusion. So now, instead of having a uniform way of pronouncing these words, different people pronounces them differently.