Envelope

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There is more than one pronunciation of this noun in Received Pronunciation. The related verb '[to] envelop' has no such variation

  • The verb envelop is realised with the stress on the second syllable 'en-VEL-erp', IPA: /ɪn 'vɛ ləp/. In a minor variation of this, the first vowel can be a clearer 'e' sound - like the one in 'hen', IPA: /ɛn 'vɛ ləp/. Note that the verb is written ending in 'p': there is no final 'e'.
  • In the noun envelope (which does end in 'e'), the stress is on the first syllable. There are two separate ways of realising the first vowel. These can act, for some groups, as in-group markers, and a basis for social exclusivity. AWE knows of no reason why anyone should fall victim to this; but they do. The first pronunciation sounds more English to AWE's ears - the 'e' is realised like the first syllable in the variation recorded above of the verb, like the -e- in 'hen', IPA: /'ɛn və ,ləʊp/. The other pronunciation of the first syllable is nearer to the French pronunciation, IPA: /'ɒn və ,ləʊp/.
LPD found in a survey in 1988 that 78% of its sample used 'EN-verl-ope, as opposed to 22% who used the 'posher', or marked RP ON-verl-ope.