Carbine Pronunciation: CarBEAN or CarBYNE?

   08.16.18

Carbine Pronunciation: CarBEAN or CarBYNE?

Here’s something I didn’t even know was a thing: carbine pronunciation. Some people insist, quite rabidly, that the word carbine (which refers to a short rifle) shall be pronounced with the long ‘I’ sound, i.e. ‘car-byne.’

That’s not how I say it, and frankly I think it sounds asinine. I have been saying it like ‘car-bean’ forever, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Like, never.

And YouTuber Taofledermaus, who often posts guns and ammo videos, found himself in the same boat as me… except that anyone who reads my work can pronounce words in their head any way they wish. They can even mangle ‘Caribbean’ if they so choose. But because video has audio, some viewers took him to task on that pronunciation… and so he created a video on that subject, entitled “‘Carbine’ (why you pronounce it the way you do).”

Video intro:

If you are a stickler on how words are pronounced, this video is gonna make your brain explode and your ears cry out for mercy

Yeah… that person he just described is me.

The video begins with a short intro, followed by a passel of clips demonstrating that many “gun people” are firmly in the car-bean camp of carbine pronunciation. Scoffers may claim that some of the examples are uninformed, but it’s tough to discount folks like Brownells staff or Jerry Miculek. After all, they are authorities on firearms. Heck, TFB‘s own James Reeves even makes an appearance.

Many examples are provided… in fact, it gets a bit tiresome. Then, at around the 3:30 mark, examples change to car-byners. And there aren’t many of those.

His conclusion: 90-95% of firearms experts are car-beaners.

After noting that a Belgian rep for FN is also a car-bean man, he moves on to see how gamers pronounce the word. After all, many video games include firearms and the folks who play the games talk about them.

Turns out, video gamers are much more likely to say ‘car-byne.’

Continuing the attempt to explore those large groups of people who may influence pronunciation of firearms terms, he then looks to airsoft fans. Of those, slightly more than half say it incorrectly (snicker). That is, they say ‘car-byne.’

My personal conclusion here is that people who really know guns pronounce it car-bean, and that is correct. Folks who never were educated about guns before venturing into ‘gun play’ such as video gaming and airsoft, have to guess at how to say the word… and most guess wrong.

Many commenters who attacked him for being a car-beaner claimed that the spelling i-n-e must be pronounced like tine, mine, or shine. But this ignores words like sardine, machine, gasoline, limousine, routine, and many more.

And then there are the i-n-e words that are simply pronounced with the “in” sound: examine, doctrine, discipline, medicine, and so on.

Point being, you can’t always use spelling to prove how a word should be pronounced… especially in English, which is pretty random at times.

We must also remember that carbine is a French word, which they pronounce with a bean-like sound. Shouldn’t we?

The video is somewhat less biased than I am, but comes to a similar conclusion.

Well, here ya go. Enjoy… or hate on it. Your choice.

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