Technical questions about the sound patterns of English.

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1answer
51 views

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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5answers
285 views

Are there any English words starting with an “ny” sound? [closed]

Plenty of English words have an "ny" sound (/nj/) in the middle, like onion and canyon. Are there any American English words that start with this sound? My native-speaker intuition tells me this is ...
133
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1answer
7k views

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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1answer
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 ...
8
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1answer
133 views

Is there any Saxon word that contains /ʒ/?

Is there any Saxon (native) word that contains /ʒ/? All words containing that sound I can think of such as genre, garage, luge, vision, visual, etc. are from French.
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0answers
33 views

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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1answer
79 views

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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0answers
52 views

'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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1answer
161 views

Which words have a long vowel before the suffix -ic?

In many cases in English, vowels followed by a single consonant are pronounced short (also called lax) when followed by the suffix -ic or -ical, even if they are long in other related words. Some ...
12
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1answer
204 views

What accents pronounce “quarter” as “korter”? Which other words can drop /w/ before /ɔr/ like this?

Many people drop the "w" from words like "dwarf," changing the pronunciation from /dwɔrf/ to /dɔrf/. This has led to the re-spelling "dorf" being used in some informal contexts, e.g. "Dorf Fort." My ...
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1answer
57 views

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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1answer
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: ...
6
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2answers
128 views

“Initial” is pronounced “inishal,” so why isn't the verb “initiate” pronounced “inishate”?

Trying to answer a recent question about the pronunciation of the consonant "c" in the word word appreciate made me realize something I'm ignorant about: although I've read in a fair amount of places ...
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2answers
487 views

What source explains the different pronunciations of “hol” in “alcohol” and “hollow”?

According to Merriam-Webster, the pronunciation of alcohol is "ˈal-kə-ˌhȯl" while the pronunciation of hollow is "ˈhä-(ˌ)lō." Why are they pronounced with different vowels? I think I've figured out ...
4
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1answer
192 views

Why are there no English nouns starting with “th” pronounced as /ð/?

I just saw a claim that there are no nouns in English that start with "th" pronounced as /ð/, and I am convinced that is correct for at least Received Pronunciation, General American and Australian ...
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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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1answer
109 views

Why and when was the trilled R in middle English replaced by the modern untrilled one?

Most linguists agree that the letter R in middle English was trilled, but why and when did people replace it with untrilled one like ⟨ɹ⟩ in "red", or even become "almost" silent like in "her (British ...
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3answers
480 views

'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 ...
3
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1answer
70 views

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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1answer
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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1answer
169 views

What do you call an interfix that has semantic meaning?

At university I was introduced to various affixes; prefix, suffix, interfix. The latter, I was told, could be created by putting an adjective in the middle of a word, thus interrupting it; abso-...
4
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1answer
160 views

So, “carrots too” (/ˈkærəts tuː/) can sound like “Carrot Sue” (/ˈkærət suː/), right?

Look at this video at 1:09 (Source). The man said "carrots too" /ˈkærəts tuː/ but it sounds like he said /ˈkærət suː/. The /t/ got omitted completely. However, I don't see people omit /t/ in "stamp" /...
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2answers
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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2answers
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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2answers
350 views

Strong /strɔːŋ/ → stronger /strɔːŋɡər/ - Why do we have to put an extra /g/ in front of /ər/? Is it a rule?

Ok, see this in the dictionary: Strong /strɔːŋ/ --> Stronger /strɔːŋɡər/ Why do we have to put an extra /g/ in front of /ər/? But "/sing" /sɪŋ/ & "/singer" /ˈsɪŋər/ do not adhere to that rule. ...
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1answer
134 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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2answers
939 views

How could “iota” become “hooter”?

We say we do not give a hoot or care a hoot when we do not care very much or at all. On the "hoot" that we do not give, Etymonline has this to say: [...] Slang sense of "smallest amount or ...
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2answers
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
167 views

/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 ...
2
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2answers
82 views

'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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2answers
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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0answers
40 views

Were -y- and -g- pronounced similarly in Early Middle English?

[Etymonline:] Early Middle English pronunciations of -y- and -g- were not always distinct, and the word was confused in Middle English with various senses of Romanic-derived alloy and allege, ...
2
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1answer
236 views

Most common consonant sound (token frequency)

If the schwa is the most common sound (and vowel sound) in English, it makes me wonder for ages: what is the most common consonant sound in English, in regards to everyday use?
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1answer
109 views

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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3answers
474 views

Not fully pronounced oʊ (ō) sound in some words

Words like so, no, vocabulary, and don’t all contain the long o sound inside them. But I regularly hear native English speakers pronouncing the [oʊ] sound in these words (and some others containing ...
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0answers
42 views

English Alphabet and associated phonology/context

Does anyone know of a list of English (American or British) sounds in context (i.e., their generic phonology)? I'm looking for an equivalent of the following description of Portuguese letters and ...
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1answer
149 views

“relate better” vs. “better relate” [closed]

Please help settle a dispute (in my head). Which of the following phrases works better? Disregard the old "no split infinitives" rule. If either phrase is considered correct, which phrase rolls off ...
0
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1answer
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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1answer
152 views

Can vs that ( /kæn/ vs /ðæt/ )

I’ve finally decided to take a look at my English pronunciation and it is being an awesome new world. I am focused on Received Pronunciation (British Standard) and one question comes to mind for which ...
3
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2answers
1k views

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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3answers
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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1answer
106 views

Is tapping common in English?

From Bruce Hayes' Introductory Phonology, I am presented with the following phonological rule called tapping: /t/ -> [ɾ] / [+vowel] ___ [+vowel -stress] That is, /t/ has an allophonic realization as ...
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3answers
644 views

Why are “suffice” and “sufficient” pronounced so differently?

Today I heard somebody use a form of the verb "suffice" (which means "to be sufficient") pronouncing it like the verb "surface" without an r (and where that "a" makes more of an "i" sound). This ...
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2answers
133 views

UK English pronunciation of word “language” please?

What is the correct British English pronunciation of the word language please? Throughout my education in New Zealand and South Africa the first g was a soft sound as in bang? Here in Australia, on ...
3
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1answer
280 views

What is the term for when a word begins with the previous word's ending sound?

What is the term for when a word begins with the same sound as the previous word's ending sound? For example, there are three instances of this in one line of the lyrics to For the First Time in ...
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1answer
271 views

What are the types of the phoneme distribution? How to define them?

I was given a task to define the types of the phoneme distribution in these words: tea [tiː] – stay [steɪ] – try [traɪ] – twice [twaɪs] – little [ˈlɪtl] But I have no idea how to do that. Could ...
3
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1answer
166 views

Why are there two sets of vowels in English? [closed]

I'm a native Spanish speaker and I've been learning English for many years. They always taught us that there are two sets of vowels and we learned how to use them mostly by reading and practicing, no ...
0
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2answers
184 views

Pronounciation of w at the end of a word - and what does ʊ mean?

I noticed that when I pronounce words like Show or fellow I seem to drop the w and just say Sho or Fello. My countries English is similar to British English. I wonder if that is normal or if maybe I ...
3
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2answers
159 views

Do we need to put extra sound W or J in front of L in the case of /ei+L/ or /ee+L/ or /ai+L/ or /oo+L/ or /oi+L/ in American English?

Ok, let see the sale /seɪl/, that is from IPA but when speak American English, do we have to put /seɪ-jl/ (sound like sei jo) Similarly, feel /fiːl/ will become /fiː jl/ or mile /maɪl/ will become /...
2
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1answer
897 views

Words Starting with Double Consonants

Double consonants often appear in the middle or at the end of a word like: kitty, Eiffel, thriller, brilliant bass, guess, basketball However, I wonder if there are any words (including ...