Technical questions about the sound patterns of English.

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4
votes
2answers
520 views

What is the articulatory logic behind the “a/an” rule in English?

Is there some articulatory reason behind why we choose to preface consonant sounds with the article a and vowel sounds with an? The reasoning I've read in the comments somewhere, I don't remember ...
3
votes
4answers
5k views

Do phonetic symbols have names in English?

I know diacritical marks have names in English: cedilla, umlaut, etc. Are there names for phonetic symbols too? How does one call the "sh" sound which is referred to by the integral sign /∫/? Or the ...
3
votes
3answers
823 views

Correct pronunciation of “TT”? [closed]

A single t between vowels sounds like a d to me (or like an r in my language, Brazilian Portuguese). May I say the tt spelling the same way, or does that only work for a single t?
3
votes
2answers
17k views

Semi-vowels in English [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is “Y” a vowel? Why are 'w' and 'y' called semi-vowels in English?
3
votes
2answers
180 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
661 views

What is a “sounds like” thesaurus called?

A dictionary contains word definitions. A thesaurus contains words that mean the same (synonyms). I'm looking for a name for a word dictionary that will give you rhymes (or "sounds like") of a word. ...
3
votes
1answer
700 views

Why does the letter “a” correspond to /ɪ/ in words like “image”, “private” and “surface” (American English)?

In American English, in words ending with -age, -ate and -ace, the ‹a› correspond to /ɪ/ (short i). Examples: image, village, damageprivate, senate, separatesurface, preface, palace (It should be ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

American English Pronunciation of “o” sound long or short?

I'm always confused about how to pronounce words with letter o in spelling. For example, in the word boss, I always pronounce the o as short o, when in fact it is long o. Collar is short, but I always ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Pronunciation of final T sounds in English

What's the word to describe the phenomenon of the final 't' sound becoming a stop without aspiration, vs. how it sounds at the beginning of a word? Does any one particular dialect/accent of English ...
3
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
112 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
310 views

Words like “threshold”?

Threshold is pronounced like "thresh-hold" as noted in this question, however, what is interesting is that there is only one h in the word, and it serves two phonetic roles (being part of sh and as a ...
3
votes
1answer
248 views

Are English speakers reluctant to use /l/ in a consonant cluster mid word?

A relative of mine recently went on a rant regarding the pronunciation of 'jewelry' (as joo-la-ree) and 'realtor' (as ree-la-ter). It reminded me of the oft criticized pronunciation of 'nuclear' and I ...
3
votes
1answer
219 views

How many syllables were in 3ps endings with -th

When reading the King James Version of the Bible, we often hear, e.g., "maketh" pronounced in two syllables. Is this an accurate reflection of the pronunciation of that word when it was commonly used? ...
3
votes
2answers
305 views

AmE Phonetics: T-voicing after <l>

Cut to the chase: While listening Eminem's track Headlights I've noticed a kinda voicing process in the sentence "You're still beautiful to me" around 1:13 on the song, where the preposition seems to ...
3
votes
1answer
734 views

Pronunciation of voiced “th” triggers a consonant shift of “d” and “r”

There is a class of words, mainly such as the, this, that, these, those, though, although, then, there, thus, the archaic thou, thee, thy, thine, thyself, thence; which I always find myself ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Sounds of the letter a

How can I know, precisely, when to differentiate the sounds of the letter a, like in: apple and vault?
2
votes
2answers
615 views

Can vowels be combined in English without forming diphthongs?

Usually all combinations of vowels in English function as diphthongs. Are there any combinations of vowels in English that do not function as diphthongs? if there are no such examples - I would be ...
2
votes
3answers
116 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
672 views

Why does the pronunciation of “U” vary in English?

The letter U is pronounced differently in different words such as Umbrella and Utensils, as well as when it is Used inside of words such as stUdent and stUdy. Can I please have a grammatical ...
2
votes
3answers
556 views

Is final /n/ sound reduced / nasalized in American English?

When my 6-year old daughter spells words phonetically, she regularly drops final 'n' at ends of syllables, after vowels, like "rabo" for "rainbow", "lach" for "lunch". This made me wonder, are we ...
2
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
98 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
votes
2answers
230 views

Words with multiple allowable pronunciations

Long time listener, first time caller. I was chatting with some friends, and GIF and nuclear came up. GIF is pretty unique, we considered, as we allow both /dʒɪf/ and /gɪf/ for its pronunciation. ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “a/an” an example of liaison in English?

French there is a process called liaison, where final consonants are omitted unless the next word starts with a vowel. Would it be accurate to say that the English indefinite article (a/an) is an ...
2
votes
2answers
782 views

What’s the difference between /ӕ/ and /ɑ/?

. . . alibis . . . appetite . . . rather . . . Mark . . . [audio source] The first two a’s are different in their phonetic symbols in the dictionaries from the other two, but I can’t differentiate. ...
2
votes
1answer
97 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
246 views

Why do people pronounce “f***ing” like “f***en”? [duplicate]

I'm not a native English speaker so I might not be exactly accurate with this, but whenever people (e.g. in films) say fucking, it sounds something like fucken. There's no "g" at the end and instead ...
2
votes
1answer
309 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
64 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

How many syllables does “Science” have?

The pronunciation of the word science seems to vary based on which part of the world you're in. I have heard it pronounced "sai-ens" and "saains" (think "signs"). I have check the dictionary, but ...
1
vote
1answer
657 views

Two types of sound for letter L?

Consider two words, for example, lot and all. The phonetic symbol of l in the two words are the same, which makes me wonder why the sound of l in the first is considered to be the same as in the ...
1
vote
1answer
218 views

AmE Phonetics: < I don't n-> /aʊn/ [closed]

Cut to the chase: While listening to the record 2.0 Boys by Slaughterhouse I've noticed that Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden pronounce such sequence of sounds — namely "I don't know" around 1:55 and ...
1
vote
1answer
56 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
96 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Pronunciation of 'Arguable'

I know that the proper pronunciation of 'arguable' is /ɑr gju ə bəl/. I do not doubt. But it often bothers me when reading this word, that it somehow sounds like 'argu r able'. While not sure, I ...
1
vote
3answers
337 views

Is there such a variety as "Standard Black English”, spoken by educated African Americans, or is it just a racist phrase?

Standard Black English – (1980, coined by Orlando Taylor) The Standard English of black Americans. Taylor points out the fact that most educated African Americans speak “standard black English”. ...
1
vote
1answer
449 views

Nasalization in IPA

I am learning IPA to learn the English pronunciation. When "n" is inserted after a vowel and it is not followed by another vowel, how to know if /n/ is pronounced or it is only a mark to nasalize the ...
1
vote
1answer
256 views

Is there a systematic difference between /a:/ in BrE and /æ:/ in AmE?

so another question I have is that whether it is systematic (a regular pattern) between /a:/ in BrE and /æ:/ in AmE or not. There are words that a pronounced differently like dance or rather. I have ...
1
vote
2answers
557 views

Difference between ɒ and ɔ: in terms of sound?

Are they same, like, allophones? To me, they sound like same?
1
vote
0answers
144 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
111 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
145 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

What is the word for inserting additional letters when pronouncing a word?

A while back I ran across a word that described the act of inserting additional letters or sounds when a person pronounces a word (which results in a mispronunciation). What is the word that has this ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

How to pronounce the final “s” in plural nouns

Could you please help find which word below is pronounced differently from the rest with regard to the final s? caves marks exams days I choose number 2, marks.
0
votes
3answers
8k views

What words have “‑ei‑” (except in “‑cei‑”) pronounced [i:]?

The rule is that written ei is pronounced [i:] only after the letter c — or that what is pronounced [i:] is written ei after the letter c only. Here are exceptions I’ve found so far: foreign ...
0
votes
2answers
291 views

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

Is the diphthong [ai] in 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" ...
0
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
748 views

When we will use soft and hard sound in 'c'? [closed]

Sometimes we use the soft sound, and sometimes the hard – but why? Is there any rule?