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Some results from the MeFi Pronunciation Surveys

by Kim Witten on August 29, 2012

I summarized some of the early findings from the MeFi pronunciation surveys in this MetaTalk comment. Here they are, repasted below.

  • 2,521 MeFites took the March 2010 survey; 1,920+ took the August 2012 survey.
  • At least 47 different countries were represented in both surveys.
  • All MeFites of the 2010 survey were active users and that survey data represented 16% of the active MetaFilter userbase. It’s estimated that this 2012 survey represents at least 10% of the active userbase.
  • From the 2010 survey data, it seems that MetaFilter skews male (62%); 36% of the survey respondents were female. There were statistically significant differences in the male/female ratio between the US and the UK — the UK tended to skew more towards males (72%); 27% of the UK survey respondents were female.
  • Again from the 2010 survey data, the average age of MeFites was 33, with no statistically significant differences between Australia, Canada, UK and US.
  • The most preferred pronunciation was “me-fie”, followed by “meh-fee” and “meh-fie”, where “meh” is pronounced with a vowel similar to the one in “met” (not “may”). The remaining pronunciations, in order of their preference, were “may-fie”, “me-fee”, “may-fee”, “my-fie”.
  • The order of preferred pronunciations stay more or less the same (the last 3 switch around a little bit where there are low counts) but the amounts by which any one variant “wins” changes based on several factors, many of which are significant.
  • The “meh-fih” and “my-fie” pronunciations weren’t options on the 2010 survey; the “my-fie” pronunciation was calculated after the fact, based on discussions with individual MeFites and survey comments.
  • The 2012 survey should provide some reliable data on those options, since they were included on this survey. It would also appear (from a very cursory look) that those two options are fairly represented here, meaning that many MeFites chose either of those as their preferred pronunciation.
  • Looking at the 2012 data (briefly and before it’s been thoroughly cleaned up and normalized), it seems that there are some interesting shifts in distribution of preferences between US, UK, Canada, Australia and the other countries. While some geographic regions seem to have gotten more skewed towards a pronunciation, others have gotten more varied. It will be interesting to match this up with how strongly people feel about their pronunciation choice.

I’m trying to find a good way to share this (and other related) info to interested MeFites. I don’t know that another MeTa is appropriate and this seems a bit *too* meta (and unfinished) for Projects. I’m not sure if this is something that people other than me and a few other wordnerds have overwhelming interest in. Anybody have any thoughts?

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  1. Wouldn’t a comment in the open MeTa thread be the most-generally-acceptable solution? I remain agnostic on the Projects possibility, as I’ve never quite gotten its purpose straight in my head. Every time I think I know what’s up, ZOOM upside down goes the world.

  2. Kim Witten permalink

    Yep, I’ve left a few, but that thread is gone and buried.

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