Thursday, January 12, 2017

Aunt sounds like Ant

I am sixty-one years old.

When I was growing up I had a myriad of Aunties.

My children have Aunties.

I even am a Great Auntie to six Great-Nieces and Nephews.

Always, always, always I pronounced Auntie like this:


Suddenly I have noticed that the vernacular, all around me, is to pronounce this word Awntie.

What? Why?

At first I blamed American television.

I have a good friend who was born in Iowa and he always pronounced it that way.

But then, yesterday, as I was listening to CBC radio - that is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the host, who is from eastern Canada, said the word Aunt - pronounced Ant, and then he corrected himself and said Awnt.


When did this become a thing?

It still rings wrong in my ears every single time I hear it.

So ya, this is a pet peeve of mine, and I won't succumb to peer pressure.

If you meet me and I talk about my dear Aunt Georgie, you will hear Ant Georgie.

And what about Antie Mame? I never heard her referred to as Awntie Mame.

Just know, Dear Readers, when I write about Aunties, I am hearing Anties in my head.

My title to my nieces and nephews - great and otherwise is:

Auntie Mary-Anne (or Auntie Mary-Mann) pronounced Antie.

Just saying!

Mic drop.


  1. In Australian English it sounds the same as "aren't"

  2. In English it's aren't too lol

  3. Yes I say 'aren't' but 'northerners' pronounce it the same as you Mary-Anne 'ant.'

  4. hehehe yes, even in Adelaide (where we are commonly accused of speaking strangely by 'East-coasters') and Sydney too, it has always been 'aren't' and never 'ant' or 'awnt'. The only person I have ever called 'ant' is an acquaintance named Anthea and then I 'say it with a capital letter: 'Ant' ;-)

    Like you and Judy Martin (commenting here) perhaps it is just a regional difference. Even though Australia is a relatively young country, we have many regional language differences.

    Strange how after all these years, people in Canada would be rethinking their pronunciations. Has there been an official change to Canadian pronunciation? Interesting that you heard this on CBC.

    We used to have an office called SCOSE which was the Standing Committee on Spoken English whose function was to advise the public Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) of the correct way to use Australian English. Now it is called "ABC Language".

    Maybe the CBC has a similar office giving directions...

    One thing is for sure - language is dynamic and always changing. Fascinating, Mary-Anne.


Add your thoughts....join the conversation.