QUE SEURAT SIRAH

Summary

The consensus pronunciation of antifa is “an·TEE·fa” – like Queen Latifah.

Details

(UPDATED) You can pronounce antifascist any number of ways according to national dialect and idiolect. I use a nasal alveolar flap, hence [ˌæɾ᷈iˈfæʃɪst].

A shortened form now in common use is antifa. How do you pronounce it?

Logically you’d use your native pronunciation of antifascist and knock off the last syllable. But that’s a complete non-starter. It would leave me with [ˌæɾ᷈iˈfæ] – strong stress at the end of the word and the same vowel as in cat. Like a teenager leaving the nest, albeit with purple hair and no ability to bench-press, you have to look at antifa as a creature unto itself.

The problem here is the variability of words that begin with anti‑ (in various senses): antidote, anti-inflammatory, antigen, antithesis. I’ve heard antifa pronounced about half a dozen different ways. There seems to be a convergence on this pronunciation:

antifa
an·TEE·fa – Strong stress on middle syllable; start that syllable with T; end vowel is the same as in hut and is not [a:] or schwa†
IPA: [ˌænˈtiːfʌ]

Evidence from recordings

  • I trimmed each clip down to a few seconds before the utterance and a few seconds after. Some clips contain two utterances; two utterances span two clips in one case. All clips are .M4A.

  • I’m giving colloquial phonetic transcriptions (a joke – you saw how much explanation I needed above [see daggered† section]) and International Phonetic Alphabet.

  • As ever, there are more right-wing sources than left-wing. Both sides’ pronunciations are converging nonetheless.

Speaker Dialect Transcription IPA Comments Clip
Brooke Gladstone en-US an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtiːfʌ] ✔

Gladstone

Central PA Antifa an·TEE·fə [ˌænˈtiːfə], [ˌænˈtiːfʌ] ✔ First with schwa, second with [ʌ]

Central PA

Mike Cernovich an·tye·fa [ˈænˌta͜ifa] Stress on first syllable, different vowel

Cernovich

Katrina an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtsiːfʌ] Assibilation on T

Katrina

Lana Lokteff an·TIFF·ə [ˌænˈtɪfʌ] “Tiff”

Red Ice

Louie Bee an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtiːfʌ] ✔ Possible assibiliation (masked by lousy audio quality)

Bee

Mark Bray an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtiːfʌ] ✔

Bray

Joe Rogan & Gavin McInnes an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtiːfʌ] ✔ They even discussed the pronunciation

Rogan; McInnes

Diamond and Silk en-US-AAVE an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtiːfʌ] ✔

D&S

Virgil Edwards en-US-KY an·TEE·fa [ˈæːnˌtifʌ] Stress on first syllable (drawled)

Edwards

Christopher Wilson en-CA an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtiːfə], [ˌænˈtəːfʌ] First with [iː], second with schwa

Rebel

Milo en-UK an·TEE·fa [ˌænˈtsiːfʌ] Assibilation on T

Milo

Party for Freedom en-AU ãn·tee·faa [ˈæ᷈nˌtifɐː], [ˈæ᷈ˌɾ᷈ifɐː] Nasal vowel at front, different at end. Second pronunciation uses nasal alveolar flap Oz 1
Gary Orsum an·tee·faa [ˈæ᷈ntiˌfɐː] Long nasal vowel, secondary stress at end Oz 2

Updates

Antifa International gets it wrong

(2017.08.17) The so-called Antifa International, whose name designates it as a global rather than merely a domestic terrorist operation, gets the pronunciation wrong twice (first, second).

Much more use of “antifa”

(2017.08.23) Since I wrote this posting, I’ve heard a huge increase in American speakers using the [ˈæːnˌtifʌ] pronunciation (big stress on an). If that trend continues, that pronunciation and the consensus pronunciation will be in an effective dead heat and there won’t be a consensus pronunciation anymore. The two pronunciations will them be in free variation.

Trump uses consensus pronunciation,
i.e., “Make ‘antifa’ great again”

(2017.08.23) Donald Trump put a drawl on the end vowel (speech, 2017.08.22), but he too uses the consensus pronunciation (.M4A sample).

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.02.24 20:38. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/02/24/anteefa/

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