In the BBC R4 panel game Just a Minute the panellists have to attempt to speak for sixty seconds on a given topic without hesitation, deviation, or repetition.
In last week’s episode one of the topics was what is usually written as quantitative easing. I would pronounce the first word here as ˈkwɒntɪtətɪv. However the chairman (Nicholas Parsons), and everyone else on the programme as far as I could tell, pronounced it ˈkwɒntətɪv. This raises the same sort of issue as mischiev(i)ous and prot(r)uberant (blog, 3 Feb). Is ˈkwɒntətɪv a variant pronunciation of quantitative, or is it to be treated as a separate word, “quantitive”?
Formally, I suppose this is a haplology (blog, 7 Mar 2007), comparable to library ˈlaɪbri. A repeated consonant gets deleted along with its support vowel.
The OED has a separate entry for quantitive, which it regards as “irregularly” formed. It adduces citations from 1626 onwards.In Just a Minute, given that the chairman specified the topic as ˈkwɒntətɪv easing, I wonder whether panellists would have been penalized for deviation if they had referred to ˈkwɒntɪtətɪv easing. More to the point, you’re allowed to repeat the words on the card (but no others) without penalty. If someone had more than once repeated “quantitative” ˈkwɒntɪtətɪv, would that have counted as disallowed repetition, since that was not exactly the word the chairman had specified as part of the topic? Are the “words on the card” those that the chairman utters, or those that are written?
Americans and some others prefer ˈkwɒntəteɪtɪv, a variant which I imagine would be resistant to haplology.