My friends have fallen prey to an engagement epidemic. And when you’re the first to know, you want to tell everyone else you know, too.
But spreading the news that your two best buds are affianced can be tricky.
You can look up both spellings to make sure you get the mass mailing right. I was stymied, however, when it came to regular, real-time conversation.
Different on Paper, Same in Speech
If your engaged guy friend is a fiancé, and your engaged girl friend is a fiancée, wouldn’t you expect to preserve that difference when talking to people? At the very least, it would help your grandfather understand exactly what’s going on with your best friend Lindsay Lohan:
Her fiancé’s name is Sam Ronson, you say? Well isn’t that nice, dear.”
Get your grandfather an e-mail address, because without some serious pronoun work on your part, he would understand more by reading about the engagement than he would by hearing it in conversation.
While there are three acceptable American English pronunciations for these French terms, the word sounds exactly the same whether it’s fiancé or fiancée.
So How Do I Say It?
For the record, Webster’s offers a male voice intoning fee-ahn-SAY as the proper pronunciation for fiancé and fiancée. I prefer fee-AHN-say, which Bartleby also deems acceptable.
You’ll just have to use context to get the word out to your friends. That, or cue cards.