pronunciation: Pawtucket

"In my neighborhood in Pawtucket, it’s common to run into your neighbors on summer evenings."

Curt Columbus, The Importance of Neighborsaudio link

What is the pronunciation of the ‘aw’ in Pawtucket?

  1. /ɔ/

  2. /3 or ə/ ( /pɔˈtʌkɪt/)

I hear (2). If that is so, does the dictionary reference have the wrong pronunciation? Or is there a pronunciation phenomena that /ɔ/ is changing into (2)?


People who have never actually been to Rhode Island and know Pawtucket only as a name on the printed page look at the word and assume that paw is pronounced /pɔ/, with secondary or even primary stress. The locals, however, who not only hear the word constantly but may be presumed to constitute the only authority, pronounce it with a schwa and unstressed. They deeply resent (as they should) the complacent ignorance of foreigners from places like Connecticut and New York. Here’s one of them (who admittedly lived there only for several years in his childhood) complaining about

CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman who didn’t know how to pronounce, “PAWTUCKET.” After years of enduring the slings and arrows of this verbal ignorance/harassment this for me was the last straw and fodder for yet another ranting post. Gees people, can’t you get the name straight?


When I went to school at Moses Brown and then on to St. Dunstan’s in nearby Providence never did I hear anyone – Family member, fellow student, faculty or any Rhode Islander mispronounce (OK, let’s be objective now) – pronounce the name of this august little town – ancient fishing grounds and the birthplace of the industrial revolution in the United States of America via the Old Slater Mill – any other way than the correct way.

Seems that Steve Hartman and admittedly many other broadcasters, sportscasters, commentators want to accentuate the “Paw” in Pawtucket so it comes out like, “PAAAAW-tucket” when the name is correctly pronounced Puh-TUCK-et as in “Bucket” with a soft “P” and the stress on “tucket”. Maybe it’s their way of amusing themselves and having fun like a carnival barker accentuating what they think is an affectation of the name.
– Ned Buxton, Might of Right (blog), May 1, 2011

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

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