Phonetics (pronounced /fəˈnɛtɪks/, from the Greek: φωνή, phōnē, 'sound, voice') is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign.

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How do you pronounce these Greek letters in English dictionary definitions?

Dictionary definitions for the English language usually have the word spelled out in Greek letters to indicate how the word is pronounced phonetically. Examples highlighted: What are these Greek ...
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discerning /æ/ and /e/ sounds

As I am a foreigner, I have great difficulty differentiating the sounds /æ/ and /e/ . When spoken softly, it becomes almost impossible for me to discern the sounds. Such as this one from movie ...
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Why are the vowels in Christ and Christmas different? (and other strange diphthong behaviour)

Why are certain words pronounced with diphthongs on their own but with monophthongs in compounds? For example: Words pronounced with diphthongs on their own: Michael, Christ, wise, drive Their ...
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If a word has multiple pronunciations, how do I know which one is more commonly used? [closed]

When I tried to remember English words, I met some words that has multiple pronunciations, how do I know which one is more commonly used? Or should I remember them all? For example, prospect, as verb ...
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82 views

Why does /tər/ (/ˈdɑːktər/ doctor or /ˈsɪstər/ sister) in American Accent sound like /trə/?

I feel like /tər/ (/ˈdɑːktər/ doctor or /ˈsɪstər/ sister) in American Accent sound like /trə/. I couldn't find this info on the internet. It seems that when we curl up the blade of the tongue too ...
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What is the Jones Method?

My coteacher told me the following about it. It was adopted into Japan in the early 1900s for IPA which was so complicated for Japanese to speak precisely. Every Japanese word sticks vowels onto ...
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34 views

How could rhythmic regularity be present in normal speech? [closed]

I understand that English is a stress-timed language and so stressed syllables occur at regular intervals. Would speech only be considered as having rhythmic regularity if isochrony was present? I ...
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What is the phonetic realization of a sequence of “voiced-voiceless” or “voiceless-voiced” obstruents of the same place of articulation?

What is the phonetic realization of a sequence of "voiced-voiceless" or "voiceless-voiced" obstruents (especially sibilants) of the same place of articulation? For example, /zs/ as in "Mrs. Stratford",...
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Why /t/ after /k/ sometimes is pronounced like a mild aspirated T but sometimes is pronounced like unaspirated T?

See this word: doctor /ˈdɑːktər/, the /t/ in this case seems to be like a mild aspirated T (that is there may have a bit air coming out of your mouth) Source. But expected /ɪkˈspektɪd/, the /t/ in ...
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'O' Pronunciation

I noticed recently that my friends and I pronounce words like "forest," "orange," and "florida" differently. For example, I noticed that there seem to be three ways that people pronounce these words: ...
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48 views

Is peppermint tea autological [closed]

Basically as the question says. Is peppermint tea autological because it tastes pepperminty. I know they are different words but phonetically they are identical. If not, is there another word which ...
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2answers
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Pronunciation of Mid-Word American English T + D

I'm a native speaker of American English but have a very muddy sounding voice that I'm trying to improve. In my pronunciation the mid-word t/d sound, as in buddy, sweater, or under, is particularly ...
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Could you explain the differences among voiced stop, voiceless unaspirated stop & voiceless aspirated stop?

Look at this picture for explaining various mechanics of pronunciation with the vocal cords. Source: wikimedia commons I don't understand it much. Here is what I understood -voiced stop: your ...
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60 views

Will we pronounce /t/ like a true T when /t/ is at beginning of a word but the syllable containing T is unstressed?

This website said The t is a regular, aspirated t sound when it is the first sound of a word or a stressed syllable A regular T is the one that is clearly aspirated. So, my question is that: ...
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146 views

How can I teach an English speaking person to say my name correctly (Kjetil) [closed]

I have a purely Norwegian name, Kjetil. It is old norse and means "kettle" or "helmet". A couple of times now, aquaintances and new friends have asked me in chat or person how my name is really ...
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2answers
60 views

Relationships between Grammar and Phonetics

When I look at some grammar rules such as: With (He, she and it) we add (es) to verbs ending with (sh, o, ch and ss) in present simple, and so on. I wonder if there is a link between grammar and ...
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4answers
232 views

How to position the tip of the tongue when pronouncing /s/ & /z/?

This website says, when making /s/ & /z/ sound, the tip of the tongue should be close to the upper backside of the top front teeth. But this video says, when making /s/ & /z/ sound, the tip ...
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112 views

Do we have any English dictionary that shows precisely both letters and diacritics?

Dictionary uses IPA to depict the sound. However, most of them do not include diacritics, and thus it is very hard for learner to distinguish the sound. See this quote from Wiki IPA symbols are ...
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5answers
121 views

How do I find examples where phonetic spelling is useful? [closed]

My son is learning English as a second language. Of course the phonetic alphabet is something they have to learn. Now he keeps telling me that it is a completely pointless endeavour, because he knows ...
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3answers
138 views

/ə/ in a stressed syllable?

According to this description of the English phonotactics, the schwa /ə/ doesn't occur in stressed syllables. But Cambridge Dictionary Onlines, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and Longman ...
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Why is /e/ generally transcribed as 'ay'?

I’ve seen pretty often in phonetic transcriptions for English speakers who weren’t familiar with the IPA the phoneme /e/ or /ɛ/ transcribed as ay: Here "lejos" (/'le.xos/) is transcribed as lay-hoss1....
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'Sag' and 'slant': Is the vowel /æ/ the same in both words?

/sæg/ /slænt/ Transcriptions from Cambridge American English Dictionary Both the words' IPA transcriptions have an /æ/ symbol. Do those two /æ/s sound the same? Are they both short or ...
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Is Lana's “Yup!” a triphthong?

At some point in the Archer series, Lana starts saying very emphatic Yup!s. I was recently wondering about triphthongs and whether they occur in English, and found the Wikipedia entry had only a few ...
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Theoretical Phonemes [closed]

I have been looking at IPA recently and I was wondering if there are any sounds that can theoretically be created by humans but do not exist or have not existed in any known languages. Or maybe a ...
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141 views

Night rain vs Night train, gemination?

The Wikipedia article on gemination claims that gemination of /t/ is the distinguishing factor between the pronunciation of the two phrases night train and night rain. In my whole life, I've almost ...
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61 views

Aspiration of plosives in final position and word boundaries

In a sentence like It is a cat, is it? I'm not sure what kind of aspiration the various /t/ should have. I guess the first one in "it" would be weakly aspirated, as it's followed by a stressed ...
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228 views

Can you hear the difference between 'Writer' and 'Rider'? Why?

Apologies in advance for the slightly blog-like nature of this question. The Background Some of the comments in relation to this question here: Unvoiced /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ in word final position ... ...
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In which vowel do the diphthongs [aʊ] and [aɪ] start?

Surfing the web, I found the following explanations on how to produce the diphthongs [aʊ] and [aɪ]: "/aʊ/ as in all the words of "How now brown cow!". The starting position is the vowel sound /æ/ as ...
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2answers
269 views

Unvoiced /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ in word final position

It seems to me that both /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ become voiceless (or almost) when they occur in word final position. Is this true? Examples: age, wage, courage, judge garage, sabotage, collage, mirage Does ...
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schwa sound in IPA?

I have a small problem in schwa sound: When I used Oxford online dictionary and searched "fossil", Its pronunciation is /ˈfɒsl/, but the Cambridge Dictionaries Online gave me: /ˈfɒs. ə l/ As you can ...
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133 views

Linking /r/ and elision

In one of my lectures after learning about several processes of connected speech (namely assimilation, elision and linking) we were faced with a transcription exercise with which I have slight problem ...
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179 views

Detecting vibration in voiced and voiceless English sounds

I heard people saying that if you put your finger on your throat you would be able to feel voiced sound vibrates and voiceless sound doesn't. I tried it but both sounds seem the same to me. So did I ...
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3answers
119 views

Does the [ɒ] in “not” sound different from the [ɒ] in “hot”?

I would like to know why the [ɒ] in not often sounds different (more rounded) than the [ɒ] in hot, father, or car in American English. I know that in British English the vowel in not is an [ɔ], but I'...
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/ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ as phonemes?

From what I understand on phonetics/phonology, /ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ can simply be considered as allophones of /ɪr/, /er/, /ʊr/, but most traditional dictionaries treat them as distinct phonemes. Is that ...
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2answers
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'Travel' - Place of articulation of /t/

What is a place of articulation which best fits the initial consonant of the word: "travel." It looks like the first sound is /t/ therefore it should be alveolar, but in the Longman pronunciation ...
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148 views

“Hwyl” - Is the letter “Y” counted as a vowel in this case?

While reading the answers and comments of When is "Y" a vowel? I thought of a few other words that seem to have "w" as a vowel but am not sure. In addition to "cwm" there is also "crwth" and ...
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How do you pronounce “I'm going to buy a cat tomorrow.”, in a natural sounding sentence. (in your accent)

I'm going to buy a cat tomorrow. Specifically, I'm asking those whose natural accent does not include glottal stopping for a post-vowel t. Are there two consecutive t sounds between cat and tomorrow,...
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31 views

In phonetic transcription of Australian English, is the schwa (ə) ever nasalised?

In linguistics we've been looking at phonetic transcriptions. In words that have been reduced in conversation (i.e. /ænd/ has become [ən]) is the schwa nasalised? I know that in Australian English "...
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219 views

How widespread is labialization of [ʃ] and [ʒ] in 'dish' and 'beige'?

I'm reading The Sounds of Japanese (Vance 2008), which is an introductory textbook in Japanese articulatory phonetics. The first chapter lays out some basic concepts in phonetics, and although the ...
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189 views

The pronunciation rules of words which begin 'Com-, Col-, Cor-' or 'Con-' [duplicate]

What is the standard rule, if there is one, for pronouncing words beginning with the prefixes com-, col-, cor-, con-? Very often these words have an /ɒ/ vowel, like in the word hot - in Gen American,...
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740 views

So, should “Thailand” be pronounced as /ˈtaɪ.lænd/ or /ˈθaɪ.lænd/? [closed]

OK, I searched on the Internet and found that online dictionaries give the following pronunciation of Thailand as /ˈtaɪ.lænd/. Cambridge English Dictionary says noun /ˈtaɪ.lænd/ Oxford ...
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How many phonemes are in the word “queen”?

I am in the process of digging into phonemes as a way to help teach our son to read. I don't remember ever having formal instruction on the role of phonemes in speech, and I am actually having a lot ...
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What is the difference between /ɚ/ (farmer /ˈfɑːr.mɚ/) & /ɝ/ (bird /bɝːd/)?

Ok, look at this vowel diagram of English language, you will see /ə/ & /ɜ/ are the central vowel. Both has the middle of the tongue raising in the middle of the mouth, except that /ə/ has to raise ...
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333 views

Confused about sound /a/ & /ɔ/ in English Vowel diagram and in English dictionary?

Given this vowel diagram: Could you explain the difference between: /a/ as in five /faɪv/ /ɑː/ as in RP arm /ɑːm/ /ɒ/ as in RP hot /hɒt/ /ɔː/ as in RP law /lɔː/ Is /ɒ/ the same as /ɔː/? ...
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What is the correct transcription of 'wikinames'?

I thought that this is [ˌwiki'neimz], but do I really need to indicate primary stress, since names contains only one syllable?
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184 views

Missing sound: final skt letters

I've noticed that many Americans in movies usually omit letter k when it falls between s and t sounds at the end of any word like in asked, tasked, Can we generalize that as a rule, so the word ...
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2answers
1k views

unreleased final consonant sounds [closed]

At school I learned the unreleased final consonant sounds: b, d, d, k, p, t My first question is, what does unreleased mean in this context? My second question He played well and ran fast. ...
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65 views

Is it optional to voice the final letter and linking sound?

I am learning English and I like to observe how people say it. Most of time, I hear "but I" as "buttai", "out of" as "outtof" In this case, the T is pronounced. However, I also hear when people say ...
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159 views

Stress mark on BE monosyllabic words

Where should I put the stress mark on the word BE in a transcription?? /'bi/ or /bi'/??? In my opinion is the first option, but my teacher marked it as incorrect.
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142 views

Should I use the weak or the strong form in this sentence for the word “as”?

"Went straight up as if from a factory" <---- for the word "as" in this sentence should I say it like /æz/ or like /əz/ ?