Here’s the survey (or just scroll down) in case you haven’t seen it yet. There’s no time limit for answering it; comments are still open, but I want to go ahead and share with you what prompted the survey. It was this t-shirt at Thinkgeek. Note the pronunciation given in parentheses.
Naturally I immediately thought it was an awesomely cool shirt but the three-syllable pronunciation bothered me some. I was pretty sure I remembered Malcolm Reynolds saying all four syllables but I watched it again just to be sure. In this Serenity trailer you can see the scene the t-shirt refers to at about 1:15. Both Wash and Mal say “interesting” with four syllables.
So I was curious as to what other people say, thus the survey. Me? Four syllables. I think. To be sure you’d have to ask someone who listens to me talk. I like to be correct but I don’t always know what is correct and I might not always be consistent. I always read it and think it as four syllables and if I just make a random remark (“Hmmm, that’s interesting.”) I know it’s always four syllables but it’s possible that in conversation I might sometimes say it with only three. I’m not sure.
As most of you know, I currently live in Oklahoma. I grew up in Texas and Arkansas and as an adult I have lived in several other states and I have known people from even more places so I’ve probably picked up speech habits from all over.
UPDATE: Interestingly, (hah!) though I pronounce “interesting” with four syllables, I pronounce “interest” with only two. (in trist) So I guess maybe “interesting” really is supposed to have only three syllables? Darn! It really feels like it should have four. (And next we really must address my excessive use of the world “really”.)