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In Canada, there's a dish spelt 'poutine', which consists of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. However, I have come across two conflicting accounts of how to pronounce the word online, and I would like to know how it should be pronounced. The two guides for pronouncing it I've seen are [ˈpu.tin] and [ˈpyt.sɛ̃]. Perhaps some Québécois could tell me which way it is usually pronounced? Are both pronunciations used, perhaps, by anglophone Canadians and francophone Canadians respectively?

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    You have to eat some before you can pronounce it right. – Laurent Pireyn Aug 18 '11 at 13:42

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In English you can refer to it with the standard French way of pronouncing it: /pu'tin/

In Québécois French, however, we say /pu'tsɪn/. You might even hear it sound like “p'tine” /ptsɪn/ in rapid speech, but that would sound really sloppy. Although it's probably not as common as the familiar québécois pronunciation of petite – “p'tite” /ptsɪt/

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Non, ça se prononce [pu.tsin]. D'après Wikipédia:

Le [t] et [d] suivies de [i] ou [y] ou [j] ou [ɥ] deviennent des consonnes affriquées. Tirer se prononce [t͡siʁe], moitié se prononce [mwat͡sje], dîner se prononce [d͡zine] et dieu se prononce [d͡zjø].

Ce phénomène qui apparait dans Pout'sine [Pu.tsin] est un phénomène largement répandu au Québec, dans lequel le T est devenu affriqué. Exemple: Tsu veux-tsu d(z)iner…?

Si vous prononcez [pu.tin], on vous comprendra mais vous prononceriez comme le ferait un Français, et non comme un Québécois.

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    MErci. Il faut spécifier que la page Wikipédia concerne le parler québécois. – Erika Mar 25 '13 at 22:46
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According to this wiktionary entry (that confirms my own pronunciation) it should be /pu.tin/.

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    Be sure to not pronounce it "Putin" which means something completely else. – Neikos Aug 18 '11 at 17:26
  • @Neikos En général c'est comme ça qu'on se prend une patate. – RomainValeri Mar 23 '14 at 16:42
  • @RomainValeri: Mais celle-là, elle est pas servie avec du fromage. – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 22 '18 at 14:32
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On représente la prononciation du mot poutine \pu.tin\ en français au dictionnaire. Au Québec, d'où provient le mets — et probablement ailleurs au Canada francophone (1, 2) — on prononce généralement [pu.sɪn] (extrait 1, extrait 2). Deux caractéristiques du français québécois en sont responsables.

Tout d'abord, comme on l'a dit dans une autre réponse, on a généralement l'affrication de la consonne t devant la voyelle i qui donne [ts]. Puis on a généralement le relâchement ou voyelle lâche (de) i, ou et u devant toutes les consonnes sauf [ʀ], [z], [v] et [ʒ] (et encore ...), et qui nous donne ici [ɪ] plutôt que [i], donc plus bref et moins tendu. Ces deux phénomènes s'appliqueraient donc au Québec aussi, entre autres, au mot routine1 ou au nom d'un dirigeant représenté avec les mêmes lettres que le mets en français etc. et la prononciation de leur finale est identique.

Il peut y avoir des variations de prononciation régionales au Québec ou au Canada selon la présence ou l'absence des caractéristiques discutées chez les locuteurs ou la variété de français et il n'y a pas de prononciation correcte du mot. En ce qui me concerne (Québec, Sud-Ouest), je prononce avec affrication et relâchement : [pu.t͡sɪn].


1 On notera que la pronociation du mot en français du Quebec, [ʁu.t͡sɪn], ne correspond pas à la prononciation du mot en langue anglaise (/ɹuːˈtiːn/) où l'affrication/relâchement sont absents. Même si graphiquement routine et poutine se ressemblent et qu'il soit sans doute cohérent de s'inspirer de l'un pour prononcer l'autre en anglais, cette prononciation n'est pas celle employée au Québec. En langue anglaise, selon qu'on emprunte le mot et qu'on l'adapte par analogie avec routine ou autrement ou qu'on veuille par ailleurs conserver sa prononciation du Québec vu l'origine du mets, on choisira. Ce n'est pas le sujet, mais des mots comme poo(l), ts(unami) (quand on prononce le t) et surtout inn sont utiles au locuteur anglophone pour comprendre la prononciation du mot au Québec.

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In Quebec, where poutine is from, we pronounce it pou-tin or pu-tsin if you're french. We understand both, but you look silly pronouncing it pou-teen. If you want to pronounce it correctly go with pou-tin or pu-tsin.

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"Pu-tsin" in French or "pu-tin" in English — everywhere but western Canada, where they use "pu-teen" and have absolutely no idea what you're talking about if you pronounce it correctly.

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I can confirm people in western Canada say "pu-teen" and have no idea what you are talking about when you say "pu-tin".

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My schooling in Western Canada..tells me poutine should be pronounced "pouteen".

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  • Hi! If you have access to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary or some such similar reference showing it's pronounced like so and you could quote it, that would improve the answer! Thanks! – user3177 Jul 28 '15 at 1:40
  • I travel and work in North-Western Canada a lot and can confirm there is a very strong tendency by everybody to go with this pronunciation indeed. Some go for POO-tn, but the vast majority with poo-TEEN. Perhaps a way to acknowledge its French-Canadian origins? – Pas un clue May 25 '18 at 17:50
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Every person I know of French descent, whether Parisian French or French Canadian have always pronounced Poutine like this;(Put-sin) Americans tend to pronounce it Poo-Teenie! Which pisses me off because I’ve had Poutine near Canada and everyone in the restaurant pronounced it Put-sin. I also pronounce it Put-sin. However you want to say it it still tastes delicious and is a great hors d'oeuvre! Or do people call them “Hours-De-vow-ers? :-)

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    I'm a Parisian and I've never heard "Pus-sin", do you have some sources? – Toto May 10 '19 at 9:33
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I actually asked a real french teacher and she said it was (Poo Teen)

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    That's the way someone from Europe would pronounce it (and it's the way we pronounce the name of Vladimir Putin, which is spelled Poutine in French). But that's not the way it's pronounced where poutine is made (in Québec). – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Mar 4 '16 at 17:54
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    As a Canadian, who has traveled Quebec, I can confirm what @Gilles said. That is not the way it is pronounced in Quebec. – Patrick Sebastien Mar 8 '16 at 16:09
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    It doesn't have to reflect the local pronunciation of where it was invented. [putin] would indeed be very close not only to the European pronunciation of the word, but also to the way it would be pronounced in Acadia and in the Gaspe peninsula. Nothing wrong with it. – Pas un clue May 26 '18 at 0:36
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Stick with the safe "poo-teen". Its Canada, not France. Hot tip: if you're trying to pronounce it "pou-tin", you risk saying a very unsavory word to the person you're asking for food (and worse yet, not something you know familiarly). Its too close and actually really sounds like it, even by native speakers. Being raised in a Franco-Americain family (Nor-East USA/Sud-est Canada), that's the best advice I have. Trying is appreciated and it goes a long way if you acknowledge that you're not sure about pronunciation. Locality plays a large part in pronunciation. Rural vs city, etc. Just say "well, I'm not sure how to pronounce this best, but I'd like the... " (whether you say this phrase in full/broken French or English). Don't pretend to be fluent if you aren't, do your best, but feel free to acknowledge your uncertainty. Speaking broken French is perfectly fine. As far as myself and my family, we just don't like snobs and liars. Its really as simple as that.

I'm not sure the standards of speech here, but the fancy pronunciation is a common cuss word for Francophones in France.

Disclaimer: I'm educated and raised Franco-Americain, but admittedly, although I speak well in person (and written, if I'm inclined to bother), I'm not keen on fancy definitions for different English or French words. Such as anything more complicated than adjectif or noun. Dividing up, defining, restricting participles and the like are ridiculous. Practice makes more progress than reading definitions in my opinion. I find that they overcomplicate language. Its not difficult to learn multiple languages if you just acknowledge and step over your doubts, keep trying. Dive in, ask questions, and most of all: listen. Glad to see the exchanges and advice in here. Afterall, you can't learn if all you do is speak.

Nice spot here. Found it while trying to prove my point on the pronunciation my spouse.

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    There is some contradiction in your reply. You write "Its Canada, not France" but suggest anyway to pronounce poutine the way it is by French people and not the way it is by French Canadians. I suspect also that you are fooled by the IPA representations because there is no way for a native French to confuse poutine and putain. Finally, I don't think poutine pronunciation has evolved during the last decade so the accepted answer is undoubtedly still valid. – jlliagre Apr 12 at 21:35
  • I suggest you reread my post, you misinterpreted what I said. – Arianne Apr 22 at 16:37
  • Or better yet, just move on. – Arianne Apr 22 at 16:38
  • I strongly suggest to use the IPA to describe a pronunciation, especially in a multilingual context. If you had written /putɛ̃/ or even "pootah" instead of "poutin", I guess the message you wanted to convey would have been clearer. – jlliagre Apr 22 at 20:18

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