Pronunciation of /sans/

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Mitchell Au's picture
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Joined: 27 Nov 2010 - 11:20am
Pronunciation of /sans/
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There are a lot of sans-serif fonts out there, many of which put "Sans" in the typeface name such as [[http://www.exljbris.com/callunasans.html|Calluna Sans]], [[http://dejavu-fonts.org/wiki/Main_Page|Deja Vu Sans]], [[http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/gill-sans/|Gill Sans]], [[http://www.identifont.com/show?3RV|Scala Sans]], etc. Being a Canadian, sometimes I'm torn between saying /sænz/ in English or /sɑ̃/ in French. Which one???

Joshua Langman's picture
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Joined: 14 Nov 2010 - 12:22am
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I go with [sænz] in an English context, or, if I'm feeling particularly elegant, [sɑnz]. Of course, the French pronunciation is arguably more correct, as it is a French word. However, it's been accepted into English with an English pronunciation in other contexts as well.

Josh

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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Is it a French word? Usage of "sans" in English goes back to Shakespeare, at least.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Is it a French word? Usage of "sans" in English goes back to Shakespeare, at least.

The language in which Shakespeare wrote owes a great deal to the influence of Norman French on Old English. And, the OED says the preferred pronunciation of insouciance, a pure borrow from French, is the Anglicized pronunciation, so go figger...

Michel Boyer's picture
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Joined: 2 Jun 2007 - 1:01pm
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The OED has an entry for "sans" where "sans pareil", "sans cérémonie" etc are mentioned, but there is a separate entry for sanserif, where there is no reference to French. Since I see "Calluna sans" as an abbreviation for "Calluna sanserif", I see no reason to make it sound French.

maxgraphic's picture
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Joined: 5 Jun 2008 - 11:27pm
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I'm sure it varies by region, but here on the US West coast saying "saw sayreef" would brand you as eccentric or pretentious, unless you were trying to get a laugh. I can only recall one person, a client, trying it and it became a joke around the office.