Technical questions about the sound patterns of English.

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177 views

“Alcoholic” doesn't rhyme with “melancholic.” Why?

According to Merriam-Webster, the pronunciation of alcoholic is "ˌal-kə-ˈhȯ-lik, -ˈhä-" while the pronunciation of melancholic is "ˌme-lən-ˈkä-lik." OK, the title is an exaggeration: they can rhyme ...
4
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1answer
121 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
70 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 ...
5
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1answer
79 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 ...
5
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3answers
393 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
65 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 ...
10
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1answer
125 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 ...
3
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1answer
49 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; ...
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1answer
139 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
44 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
135 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
182 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. ...
3
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1answer
95 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
931 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
113 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
116 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 ...
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2answers
59 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
123 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
30 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, ...
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1answer
123 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
99 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 ...
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3answers
281 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
31 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
65 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
161 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 ...
0
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1answer
121 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
831 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 ...
2
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3answers
153 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 ...
1
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1answer
82 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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2answers
126 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 ...
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1answer
208 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
188 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
133 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 ...
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2answers
155 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 ...
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2answers
137 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
637 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 ...
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2answers
171 views

'confusion matrix' for English phonemes

Is there a measure of distance somewhere that tells me that certain phoneme A is more "distant" or "different" to phoneme B that it is to phoneme C in english? For example, that the phoneme /k/ is ...
0
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0answers
118 views

Morphemic versus phonemic approach to teaching the many sounds of “ou”

Is there a way I can explain the many sounds of the phoneme "ou" using the morphemic structure of words instead of the phonemic way?
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2answers
131 views

Why is “I believe in woman” ok? Or isn't it? (from Slade's “My Oh My”)

This first line of the song is I believe in woman, my oh my. I'm not a native speaker, but that sounds odd to me. I'd either expect women (I believe in women [in general]) or some kind of determiner ...
2
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2answers
128 views

Did the Great Vowel Shift on the long vowel /i/ occur in non-primary stressed syllables?

From the Wikipedia article on the Great Vowel Shift . Middle English [iː] diphthongized to [ɪi], which was most likely followed by [əɪ] and finally Modern English [aɪ] (as in mice). I think the ...
2
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1answer
115 views

Diminished “R” Phoneme in NE AmE & BrE

Q: New Englanders habitually mute or diminish the R phoneme (?) in many words, (park, car, Harvard, etc.). What is the name of this characteristic of their speech? So many of the patterns of New ...
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2answers
420 views

Is the diphthong [ai] on a non-primary stressed syllable a hypercorrection? [closed]

Is the diphthong [ai] on a non-primary stressed syllable a hypercorrection? Some American people pronounce the prefix "anti" like an-tie. For example, here's a pronunciation of "anti-Christian" ...
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0answers
66 views

Coalescence of /t/ and /r/ in 'train', 'tram', 'traffic' etc [duplicate]

Could we say that when saying the 'tr' in words like 'train', 'tram' etc, that the /t/ and /r/ often coalesce to make a sound which is more similar to 'tchr'? I myself definitely do this, but I have ...
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0answers
198 views

Is a syllable defined phonetically or etymologically?

Reading recent postings about syllables I've been struck and baffled by talk of the possibility that words may have a different number of syllables when they are written than when they are spoken. Is ...
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2answers
137 views

The pronunciation of the word “window”

As you know when the letter w placed at the end of a word, it is pronounced like 'oo' in the words book and could as seen on the chart below.It can be shown as /w/ or /ʊ/ too in dictionaries. I am ...
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1answer
174 views

Do we append consonants when linking words?

How should in an instant be spoken? [ɪ nə nɪn.stənt] [ɪn nən nɪn.stənt] If we use second version, then we append [n] before [ən] and before [n.stənt]. How do I correctly link words together when ...
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1answer
146 views

Do you pronounce the T ending sound?

As I was taught in school and , the T ending sound of words is unvoiced and should be pronounced with air, but recently I met a friend from the US, those aired T sounds were missing from her speaking, ...
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1answer
139 views

In English, can a whole syllable be aspirated?

Living in Merseyside, I've noticed a phonetic oddity that I can't find described anywhere [I did a Web search and found a transcript of Liverpool speech on a Liverpool University site, but no mention ...
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0answers
138 views

already , southern pronunciation ≈ [ʰɑɾi] “oddy”

Cut to the chase pals Could anybody confirm the southern pronunciation of "already" as something like oddy ? if so, What's its phonetic transcription? is there any eye spelling for it? I've noticed ...
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0answers
190 views

Affricate variations in English: t͡s d͡z?

the T between vowels change to t͡s in some english speakers? Usually when I heard "What's, that's" or similar constructions, where the T come with S, I always consider like a t͡s, so I really don't ...