How many does the word "fire" have?
One? Two? One and a half?
(Sold! To the ineffective auctioneer!)
As a child, I always felt it seemed to take more than one, but not quite two.
Does it depend on where you're from?
I grew up in the Northeast, pronouncing it with what, at times, seemed closer to two: "fie" plus "er."
And then heading further south, you might find people pronouncing it more like "far," which seemed closer to one syllable.
So, two in the North, one in the South?
Even though it might take a Southerner twice as long to pronounce that one syllable?
The most important question: does an area's dialect affect how many people generally make it out of a burning building?
Though I imagine when it's literally "feet to the fire" time, people might end up shortening however many syllables it is down to just one letter: "F!" **
An Ounce of Prevention.
Pronounce of Prevention.
* And what about "fiery"?
Two? Three? One and a half? (Sold! It's a recession sale! Everything must go, including making sense!)
** Also, "run!" is definitely just one syllable.
A good bit of evolutionary linguistic luck.
(Humans using a twelve-syllable word for "run!" are long extinct.
Unfortunate, given the clear intellectual advantage that could have served them well if applied more appropriately.)