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

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9
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5answers
2k views

How can I practice pronouncing “Coke” so it is not mistaken for another word?

I always fear my conversation sounds like this: — What would you like to drink, sir? — I will take some cock, thanks. — ROFL. Any tips on how to pronounce Coke so it is not mistaken for ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

British upper-class pronunciation of words like “what” and “when”

More from the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. I've noticed in these sort of movies, when some very upper-class speakers talk, like the lawyer in the series, Mr. Tulkinghorn, they have ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

Regional differences in pronunciation of “either/neither” in the US [duplicate]

Where in the US do people pronounce the words "either/neither" the same way as the English do ? Is it a regionalism or are those who pronounce it that way few and far between across the country ? ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is “bream” pronounced as “brim”?

Every time I catch an Acanthopagrus australis, commonly known as a yellowfin bream, I wonder why its name is prounced "brim", (as in the same way you would pronounce the brim of a hat). ...
1
vote
3answers
92 views

Dialect “rules” and the pronunciation of individual words

Consider an American actor who is tasked with mastering British Received Pronunciation for an upcoming role. If he has a talent for vocal mimicry, as many actors do, he should have no trouble picking ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Does emphasis ever change the fundamental pronunciation of a word?

A friend of mine has a theory that changing the emphasis from one syllable of a word to another never really affects the "core" pronunciation. So for instance, consider the word umbrella. The ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

Why do English people pronounce 'sixth' as 'sicth'? [duplicate]

It's common practice in Ireland (and the US as far as I know) to pronounce the x in the middle of sixth: six-th [sɪksθ]. However, I've noticed from visits to England as well as watching British ...
0
votes
3answers
158 views

Rationale behind pronunciation of “subtle”

I've read pronunciation, yet I'm still irresolute about the exposition/logic behind the pronunciation of subtle. Why is the b not pronounced? subtle = subtil(e) in French, in which the b is ...
3
votes
1answer
199 views

Is /e/ a new trend for /æ/ in America?

paranoid /ˈperəˌnoɪd/ Is there a trend that /æ/ makes a transition to /e/ in America? When I first came across the pronunciation in Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s (2008 version), I ...
2
votes
3answers
81 views

How to pronounce “80x86”, “Linux 2.6”, and “Figure 3-1”?

As a foreiner, I have been confused with such a simple question: How to pronounce "80x86", "Linux 2.6", and "Figure 3-1"? Thanks in advance.
1
vote
3answers
3k 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?
4
votes
4answers
12k views

Pronunciation of 'aunt' in the US

I was under the impression that all Americans pronounced aunt like the insect, ant (/ænt/), or relatively similar sounding variants such as the southern aint (/eɪnt/). According to both Webster and ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

How to identify the sound of an “A” without altering the spelling of the word?

I have the word "Carr" (short for the name Carrie). Is there a way to write the 'a' so that a person reading the word 'Carr' would pronounce it like care ('kær), opposed to pronouncing it like car ...
17
votes
5answers
10k views

How is SQL pronounced?

When I was learning SQL, I remember reading that it should be pronounced just like the word sequel; however, I worked with a bunch of techs who seemed to prefer S-Q-L. Is there a proper convention for ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

REpeat and DEfense

The words "defense" and "repeat" are more and more frequently being pronounced DE-fense and RE-peat; i.e., with the accent on the first syllable rather than the second. They seem to have originated in ...
7
votes
5answers
623 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: ...
1
vote
2answers
88 views

Why does Business read like busyness?

This is a bit weird, but the word business reads like busy-ness, but it sounds like biz-ness. Why is that? What happened to the i?
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Pronunciations for “Either” [duplicate]

In general, EFL students are taught the two main ways of pronouncing the determiner "either" are the British [ˈaɪðə] and the American [ˈiːðər] varieties. However, I've repeatedly heard from specific ...
0
votes
3answers
404 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?
0
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the correct pronunciation of the name Ceri?

Is it incorrect to pronounce the name Ceri — which is of Welsh origin I think — as seri instead of keri?
93
votes
123answers
31k views

What words are commonly mispronounced by literate people who read them before they heard them?

Quite a few words are mispronounced by under-educated people, or people learning English as a second language. Some words are often mispronounced by quite educated people who read, and began reading ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Do onomatopoeias have more intrinsic meaning than other words have?

I was taught that words are arbitrary sounds used to represent an abstract concept. In the case of onomatopoeias, are they not so arbitrary? For example the word "buzz" roughly sounds like a bee ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Pronunciation of words ending with “‑ae”

For example, Styracaceae, Suidae, Sulidae, Sylviidae, Symplocaceae, etc. I don’t know how to pronounce them correctly.
5
votes
2answers
779 views

Why is quixotic pronounced as it is?

Since "quixotic" was coined with Don Quixote as its basis, why is it pronounced "kwicks-OTT-ick" when it should by rights/origin be pronounced "Key-HO-tick"? It even sounds more onomatopoeiatic the ...
5
votes
9answers
26k views

Is there a rule in British English about how to pronounce “either”?

There are two common pronunciations of "either": British /ˈaɪðər/ and American /ˈiːðər/. If Americans are more or less consistent in this regard, then the Brits seem to be freely using both. In fact, ...
1
vote
3answers
113 views

Pronunciation of 'A' [closed]

When a sentence begins with the letter A, e.g., A parent called me about his child. does it matter how the A is pronounced? Is it 'A' parent or 'ah' parent?
4
votes
2answers
501 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
106 views

When does 'gi' sound like 'ji'?

Let us take, ginger, we actually pronounce it as 'jinjer'. But take, giggling, we pronounce it as it is. There are numerous examples of this, and this confuses me a lot. So, how do I come to know ...
3
votes
1answer
336 views

Participle of “center/centre” in UK English — “centring”? Seriously?

As an American, I was never shocked to see the word "center" spelled as "centre." It didn't bother me at all. Honestly. But then I saw the participle of it spelled as "centring" as opposed to ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

How did the Australian accent come about?

Can anybody tell me how the Australian accent came about? It seems strange to me that it is not more like an English accent taking into account that the first and the majority of settlers were ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Why “qu” is pronounced “qw” (as in quit, question) [duplicate]

Or to put it the other way, why qu is not spelled qw, as qwit, qwestion, for quit, question.
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Term for words that have different pronunciations depending on the part of speech

Is there a general term for a word that has different pronunciations depending on which part of speech it is taking on in a sentence? For example, "attribute" here is used as a noun She has many ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference in [ə] pronunciation at the end of a word in British and American English

I grew up speaking American English (San Diego to be specific). When I hear someone who speaks British English say a word that ends in [ə], like banana, I hear a weak but distinct 'r' sound attached ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

Pronunciation of the prefix “tri”

I know that English pronunciation is rather arbitrary. There are still some "rules" that even with many exceptions are useful for non-natives like me. I'm puzzled about the pronunciation of the very ...
-1
votes
4answers
74 views

How do you pronounce grimace? [closed]

How do you pronounce grimace? My parents taught me a long time ago to say gri-MACE. Then the Burger King character Gri... came along.
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Why English does not have diacritics to distinguish between words with different meanings and pronunciations

It just occured to me that there are words in English that have two different meanings, two different pronunciations and are written exactly the same. For example "present" can be interpreted as the ...
3
votes
2answers
80 views

Pronouncing th after r in Standard American English: /ɹð/

I natively speak Flemish (Dutch). We trill the R. I just had a 7-lesson course (over video chat with an American lady) to improve my accent towards Standard American English. According to the test I ...
0
votes
3answers
406 views

Why does English spoken by a native Spanish speaker sounds pleasant but not so pleasant when spoken by a native Indian/Arabic/Chinese? [closed]

When in fact, both are non-English speakers and are at same level of understanding of English language. Could there be any etymological reason behind this? Added later- As i can see, people are not ...
-1
votes
2answers
83 views

Is it technically incorrect to speak English using speech sounds of native language(which is not English)?

Consonants "t" and "p" are not unvoiced in my native language, which is Hindi. So I pronounce "Paint" with voiced "p" and "t", is it technically correct? It is acceptable, I know. But is it correct?
5
votes
9answers
9k views

How does one pronounce “nihilism”?

I have heard this word pronounced somewhat similar to [the River] Nile-ism as well as similar to Neal-ism. The former is obviously because of the German or possibly Russian pronunciation, but how ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

How do you read “tr”? [duplicate]

I've got this little doubt over the pronunciation of "tr" in words (trial, attraction, actress). I recognized two ways of reading it - either as ch (like CHoose) + r or as t (as in Ten) + r, which I ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Pronunciation: is there a reason why 'gn' in 'reigning' is pronounced [n] while in 'regnant' it is pronounced [gn]?

Both 'reigning' and 'regnant' are related to the same Latin noun 'regnum'. Why is 'gn' is pronounced [n] in the first word but [gn] in the second?
2
votes
3answers
60 views

How do Americans pronounce the word 'progression'?

In British English, we pronounce the word 'progress' as pro—gress. Whereas in American English it's pronounced as prog—ress. So how would Americans pronounce the word 'progression'? It ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

How to know how to pronounce an “-e” ending based on spelling?

I’ve always wondered how the -e word ending should be pronounced: For example (correct me if I’m wrong), the words apache, Adobe, Skype, etc. have the -e ending pronounced like in the word be. ...
5
votes
1answer
95 views

What syllable is stressed in “complex”?

I've read somewhere that if complex is an adjective, its second syllable is stressed (com-plex), while for noun, the first one (com-plex). But e.g. this link says that adjective can also sound as ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

Do you still pronounce the “g” in “language” and “English”?

I'm hearing more and more people pronounce "language" as laŋ-wij instead of laŋ-gwij. The same goes for the word "English" (ˈiŋ-lish instead ofˈiŋ-glish). How prevalent has this pronunciation become ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

Is the “-b” to be pronounced in the word “limb”? What about “thumb”? “Crumb”?

I'm confused about the differing pronunciations of words that end in "-b". For example, I remember being told by some of earliest teachers that the "-b" in limb was meant to be silent, and one ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Pronunciation of “r”

How would you describe the pronunciation of r to somebody who speaks English as second language?
10
votes
5answers
7k views

How does one pronounce the '@' symbol?

How can I pronounce @ symbol: At / At the rate? Can I use it in a sentence? Please explain with an example.
2
votes
5answers
249 views

How To Classify A Way Of Speaking Other Than Pronunciation Or Accent?

When you hear certain people talk, there's something distinct about the way they speak that you insist is not their accent. It's not even the pronunciation (e.g. can't vs. cahn't). It's also not their ...