English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I generally use the "define" Google search tool to find what a word means, and how it should be pronounced correctly. Unlike websites like thefreedictionary.com, Google doesn't tell you what pronunciation it's using. I'd like to learn the British pronunciation, rather than the American one (or at least be aware of which one I'm being taught). Would any one know what pronunciation Google provides?

I've looked around the forum and found a question on what phonetic symbols Google Search uses. I think my query is a little different.

share|improve this question
Knowing Google, it's quite possible that it gives you American pronunciation in the U.S. (I can confirm it does) and British pronunciation in the U.K. Can anybody in the U.K. check what pronunciation they get? – Peter Shor Jan 16 '13 at 4:19
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Google uses American pronunciation.

One of the most noticeable differences in pronunciation between AmE and BrE is that when words like hot, cop, cot, etc. are pronounced,

the o is pronounced as "ah" in AmE while it is pronounced as ɒ in BrE.

Here is a complete guide to learn British pronunciation (phonetic alphabet included) by BBC.

If you would like to hear how words are pronounced in British English, you may want to use the British Macmillan Dictionary. (But don't confuse yourself with the American Macmillan Dictionary, there is a small difference between their URLs.)

share|improve this answer
Thank you for the answer. I'll go look at the British Macmillan dictionary. – FranciscoD Jan 17 '13 at 7:17
@FranciscoD Welcome! I'm glad that it helps. – user19341 Jan 17 '13 at 7:28
But www.google.co.uk gives phonetic symbols corresponding to the British pronunciation. Unfortunately, the sound still gives the American pronunciation. – Peter Shor Sep 2 '14 at 23:27
.co.in gives phonetic symbols corresponding to the British prounciation. I also noted that .com google is not giving audio pronounciation for many words. For example, try searching for 'pretentious' in .co.in, .co.uk, and .com – pinkpanther Apr 22 at 20:31

I can confirm Google uses American Pronunciation.

I searched for lambaste and the American pronunciation [lam'beist] was used where in British English it's [laem'baest] — hated it, really put my nose out of joint.

share|improve this answer
Hello, Tony. This might make a valid comment, but it's not really what is required for an 'answer'. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 2 '14 at 20:03
The OED has /læmˈbeɪst/, which surprised the heck out of me. I was sure it was /ˈlæmbæst/. – tchrist Sep 2 '14 at 23:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.