This tag is for questions about the sounds, intonation, and stress of how words are uttered or produced.

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3
votes
1answer
472 views

pronunciation: question about dictionary phonetic symbol

I was looking up the word "meditative", and in one dictionary, the fourth letter "i" is pronounced "ə", but in another dictionary it is pronounced "ɪ". I don't know which phonetic symbol I should ...
4
votes
2answers
303 views

What is retraction in pronunciation?

As in: [I]n English /t, d, n, l/ are retracted before /r/. [emphasis added] —Wikipedia, “Allophone”
7
votes
5answers
822 views

Regional pronunciation of “calliope”?

I’m watching Auction Kings and a lady from Atlanta (who does not have much of a southern US accent) is putting a calliope up for auction. What caught my attention was the way she pronounce it: ...
13
votes
3answers
786 views

What was going on with “quha”, “quhat” and the like in Scots and English?

From the Dictionar o the Scots Leid: Quha, Quhay, interrog. and rel. pron. Also: qwha, qha, qua, qwa, wha, vha, hua; qhaa; quhaw; quhai qwhay, whay, quay; quhae, whae; quhe, quhey, qwhey. ...
6
votes
1answer
335 views

Pronunciation of “-thwaite”

Planning a trip to Huddersfield the other day, I happened across the nearby villages of Linthwaite (pronounced lin-fit) and Slaithwaite (pronounced slow-it, or slaw-it depending who you ask). Thinking ...
0
votes
1answer
930 views

“The /ðə/ United States” or “The /ðiː/ United States”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the pronunciation of “the”? How to correctly pronounce the the in The United States? Is it the the that’s pronounced /ðə/, or is it the the that’s ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

What's the name of this pronunciation guide

In dictionaries I see two guides for pronunciation. for example, for the word "ambiguity":  [am-bi-gyoo-i-tee] AND /ˌæmbɪˈgyuɪti/ I know the second one is named IPA. My question is, is there a ...
0
votes
1answer
565 views

How does one pronounce /oʊ/ in /oʊvərˈsiz/ in American English?

Today when I checked the Oxford American Dictionary for the pronunciation of overseas, I got this in IPA: /oʊvərˈsiz/. According to my understanding, the /ʊ/ phoneme is pronounced o or something like ...
1
vote
3answers
179 views

How should the first “o” in “operator” be pronounced?

I've always been taught that a vowel before a double consonant following another vowel should have a short sound. Conversely, there are many situations where a vowel preceding a single consonant and ...
-2
votes
1answer
268 views

Pronunciation of 'Superman'

How do you pronounce the word, Superman? For example the pronunciation of man seems equal in American and British English. But this is not the case for Superman. It seems that in American English, it ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Pronunciation of “Einstein”

Why is Einstein pronounced with a s instead of sh, while the ei is pronounced ine? This looks inconsistent.
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does a silent “-e” at the end of a word lengthen vowels?

There's a common pattern in English spelling where "short" vowels are pronounced as "long" vowels with the addition of a silent "e" at the end of the word. E.g. bit → bite mat → mate pet → pete ...
3
votes
3answers
385 views

Why is service pronounced the way it is?

Why is service pronounced the way it is and not like device even though the last 4 letters of the words are identical? I would think that if they end the same way, the same pronunciation rules should ...
0
votes
1answer
460 views

What are some good ideas to practice /s/ sound in conversation? [closed]

I have been learning English for seven months. I know the basic grammar rules of final /s/, for example, she like*s* ..., he love*s* ..., and so on. In Thai language, we don't have /s/, /k/, /t/, and ...
2
votes
4answers
477 views

How to pronounce “linearly”?

As the title states, how do I pronounce the word "Linearly"? I did some Google searching on this but I was not able to find any guidance.
1
vote
0answers
665 views

Words without vowels and vowels pronunciation [closed]

i Like to list out the common English words which doesn't have following 1.words without usage of vowels(e.g sky) 2.words doesn't have vowel 's pronunciation(e.g sky comes with 'i' pronunciation) ...
5
votes
1answer
431 views

words pronounced with their letters reversed

Why are some words pronounced as though their letters were reversed? For example, why is bible pronounced “buy-bel” and not “bib-lee”, or Favre pronounced “far-vuh” and not “fav-rah”?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Looking for a minimal triple

I am looking for a minimal triple for a particular set of phonemes. By minimal triple, I mean three actual English words that differ in one and only one phoneme between them. Examples therefore ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there any shorter pronunciation of W than double-U?

When spelling, every letter in the Alphabet is pronounced by a single syllable, with the only exception of W being pronounced "double-U". (Fun fact, in German it's approximately pronounced like the ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you pronounce “Lowe” in “Lowe's”

How do you pronounce "Lowe" in "Lowe's", the home improvement store in U.S.? How is it pronounced when it is in a person's name? Is it pronounced in the same way?
1
vote
1answer
460 views

Is there a software that can help my speech and grammar [closed]

Is there a software that can help me to improve my speech and grammar?...like learning the past participle,present participle and etc...also in constructing the sentences...or if there is no software ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Any rule for pronouncing “e”?

I hear three different sounds for the letter e in precious, bean, and Peru. Is there a rule that covers the different pronunciations that a written letter e can represent in speech?
8
votes
2answers
621 views

“Non-rhotic” is to R-droppers as “non-?????” is to L-droppers

Certain speakers of English have a tendency to “drop” L’s that occur after a vowel but before another consonant, as in balm, calm, golf, gulf, palm, wolf, and many more. Often these aren’t ...
8
votes
1answer
413 views

What does the phonetic symbol after the comma mean here?

I was checking the Pronunciation of enshrine from ODO which lists: Pronunciation: /ɪnˈʃrʌɪn, ɛn-/ Does it mean that there are two different accepted pronunciations?
-1
votes
2answers
558 views

How to pronounce 3:1 ratio? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do I pronounce “ratio 1:1”? What is the correct pronunciation of 3:1 (as a ratio)? I know this might be simple enough to be answered by any native ...
3
votes
1answer
606 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Rules for removing last vowel when adding “-able”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When to drop the 'e' when ending in -able? Both are correct for these words: sizable, sizeable sharable, shareable takable, takeable But these words are ...
2
votes
1answer
263 views

Should I use period pronunciation when reading poetry aloud? [closed]

I find that when I read older poetry, the rhyme scheme is sometimes broken and I assume that the problem comes from changes in pronunciation over time. For example, Poe keeps up a pretty impressive ...
2
votes
0answers
59 views

When do we pronounce “the” as “the” and when as “thi” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the pronunciation of “the?” I am not from the UK or the US, English is not my mother tongue. I pronounce "the" as "the" (with e sounding like the ...
3
votes
2answers
187 views

How to pronounce acronyms with apostrophes?

Simple question: How do you pronounce acronyms when they're used with apostrophe to express possession? For example: In the NIH's high-risk, high-reward programmes, “if an idea isn't developing ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is “go” spelled with the same vowel as “do” and “to” since it is pronounced differently?

These two-letter words ending in -o are pronounced with the vowel /oʊ/: bo, go ho, jo, lo, no, so, and yo whereas do and to are pronounced with the vowel /uː/. Is there an explanation for the ...
3
votes
2answers
939 views

What is the correct spelling of the Arabic name سعد in English?

I need help in how to spell the Arabic name (سعد). I previously asked the question Sa'ad : Correct spelling in English and French; however, it got closed. I added a youtube video describing how ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Variations in the pronunciation of “ea”

Perhaps this is more of a Linguistics question, so I apologize if this is not posted in the right place. Why is it that these words in English sound so different? earth   = /ɜrθ/     “urth” hearth ...
7
votes
2answers
674 views

When does the name prefix “Mc” take stress?

Mc (or Mac) is often used as a prefix in Gaelic-derived names. In one class containing most such names, prefixing Mc does not affect the position of the accent somewhere on the base name. Thus Mc is ...
2
votes
2answers
653 views

New Orleans Accent

I'd heard that New Orleans residents are more New York- than Southern-sounding. Recently, I saw some of the Khan Academy videos, and noticed that Salman Khan, who, as Wikipedia says, is from New ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Rhyme in Elizabethan sonnets

In sonnets from the Elizabethan period, "move" rhymed with "love" although they don't today. Recognizing that changes in spelling rarely keep up with changes in pronunciation, how were "move" and ...
3
votes
2answers
390 views

What is the word for obtaining a rhyme by mispronouncing a word using a regional dialect?

Take the lyrics: ... Now he lives in the islands Fishing the pilin's (instead of pilings) ... Is there a word that means to alter the pronunciation to achieve a rhyme (in song)?
0
votes
3answers
3k views

How do you pronounce “Gross”? [closed]

Is it "graws" or "grohs"? I've heard it pronounced both ways. Is it differently pronounced in American and British English? My guess is that it is.
1
vote
3answers
5k views

Pronunication of “Dijkstra”

I am a computer professional. I have heard the pronuciation of the word Dijkstra from various sources as di-kstra diji-kstra dik-stra Which is the correct way of pronouncing it?
9
votes
7answers
3k views

British pronunciation of “plait”

Having only seen this word in writing, I assumed it's pronounced "plate". howjsay (whose author is british) suggests the pronunciation that rhymes with "flat", but also offers the "plate" one. This ...
1
vote
1answer
734 views

How do native speakers guess the pronunciation of a word that they've never seen before? [closed]

How do native speakers guess the pronunciation of a word that they've never seen before ? Is there a general rule for that ? For example, someone said : Words that end in -ic or -tion will be ...
7
votes
2answers
435 views

History of pronunciation of “moiety”

Wiktionary shows the pronunciation of moiety as /ˈmɔɪ.ə.ti/, which I think agrees with the audio versions at merriam-webster.com and howjsay.com. (Be warned that both those links produce audio when ...
4
votes
3answers
724 views

Difference in starting pronunciations of “station” and “sun”

Why do some English speakers have different starting pronunciations of station and sun? Station is pronounced as e-station while sun simply as sun. Is the difference due to the fact that the second ...
80
votes
26answers
7k views

How to read “E = (mc)²” so as not to mistake for “E = mc²”

According to one of the questions already asked on EL&U, “E = mc²” is read as E equals M C squared. How do we read “E = (mc)²” so that it is not mistaken for “E = mc²”?
0
votes
2answers
495 views

Origin of pronunciation of “I”

When I began to study English in my high school (Moscow Institute of Applied Physics) I could not believe our teacher (or tutor?) that the English pronounce it as /aɪ/. I was all of shocked. In school ...
17
votes
6answers
71k views

How is “æ” supposed to be pronounced?

The Encyclopædia Brittanica still uses the symbol "æ". However, I still hear everyone pronounce it as "Encyclo pee dia", when their spelling suggests more along the lines of "Encyclo pah dia" or ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Pronunciation of “xeno-”

I actually want to present this question in two parts: 1) First of all, xenos comes from ξένος. Nevertheless, it is pronounced with "z" instead of "ks" (/ks/). How come? 2) Let's take the word ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Pronunciation of “quasi-”

How is the prefix "quasi-" pronounced? Are there any situations (e.g. depending on the word it prefixes or is part of) in which it would be pronounced differently?
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the differences in pronunciation of “borrow”, “burrow” and “burro” in American English?

What are the differences in pronunciation of "borrow", "burrow" and "burro" in American English? To me they all sound quite the same, especially when spoken quickly.
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Is there any convention for pronouncing proper nouns?

Is there any convention as to how proper nouns with origins outside English should be pronounced? I have heard claims to the effect that "a proper noun can be pronounced however you wish"; is that ...