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Bespoke pronunciation

mrchapel

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This has been bugging me for quite some time, and also prompted a disagreement, but how does one properly pronounce bespoke?

Is it BE-SPOKE, or BA-SPOKE. Or are the pronunciations interchangable depending on region? I've always maintained that it should be pronounced be-spoke, as to be spoken for, but a couple colleagues of mine have been pronouncing it ba-spoke. I'm wondering which is correct.
 

GMF

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I think it's b'spoke, a very soft form of your BA-SPOKE.
 

odoreater

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be (short "e") spoke

it's the same "be" as in the word "best"
 

mrchapel

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Ahhh ok, it always did sound a bit odd when I said it be-spoke, but making it be-spoke as in the same e sound from best actually sound right. Thanks!
 

hobo

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emphasis on which syllable?
 

montmorency

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Just say custom and call it a day. Bespoke is a Britishism. There is nothing wrong with using the American equivalent word - custom.
 

kronik

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I was curious as well. Thanks.
 

montmorency

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Originally Posted by Jovan
Custom isn't quite correct.

why not?

Check out the name of Alex Kabbaz's business: Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons Fine Custom Clothiers
 

Jovan

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I say it "bispoke" I think. Obviously I don't have many friends in real life I talk about clothes with. Montmercy: Let me clarify my above post. Custom isn't quite correct as the American equivalent because well, as a word it's widely used in the States. I would argue that "custom tailor" is just a colloquialism, and used to draw in customers who don't know what bespoke means. Furthermore, anything can technically be custom. Those Lands' End, JC Penney, or Target shirts are called "custom shirts." Hell, even some stuff completely off the rack are called "custom fit" just because you can buy the jacket and trousers separately. Bespoke is only dealing with clothes that are made specifically for one customer by actual tailors. EDIT: Furthermore I find on Dictionary.com it says nowhere that it's chiefly British. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bespoke
 

montmorency

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Even if the term bespoke is widely used in the U.S. (and I don't think it is), so is the term custom. The term bespoke originated in England. It is mostly used to refer to the product of the Savile Row tailors. I don't see how the term custom tailor is a colloquialism. In the U.S., for a suit, it simply means a one of a kind suit that is designed and made to the buyer's specifications.

If you don't want to take my word, then you might be willing to accept Flusser's. Here is his definition of "bespoke", from p. 279 (glossary) of Dressing The Man: "BESPOKE: Custom-made; a term applied in England to articles made to individual order."
 

Jovan

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I don't see Flusser as a god, unfortunately, so that's instantly refuted. Also, you'll find that many of us who are American call it bespoke...
 

montmorency

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Not a God, but knowledgeable. I'm certainly ready to admit that he's more knowledgable than I am. He's been in the business for many, many years and has written four books on the subject. I don't accept his opinion on all matters of taste, but I, for one, don't question his knowledge of the industry.

Use the term bespoke if you like. When you go to wherever it is that you go to for ordering your bespoke garments, you are still having something custom made for you.
 

Jovan

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But that's exactly my point! A ton of things can fall under the umbrella of "custom." Bespoke is referring to a specific process where something is cut, made, and styled specifically to your liking just for you. You don't see the Brits referring to shirts that are simply made to measure as "bespoke."
 

montmorency

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Also, the fact that some merchants abuse the word custom does not change its meaning. If the term bespoke were widely used in the U.S., then some manufacturers or stores would use it to tout their goods too. For all I know, some merchants already do. The true meaning of the work remains. The buyer has to beware to make sure that what is being sold matches its description.
 

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