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

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8
votes
2answers
605 views

Pronunciation: ‘lousy’ vs. ‘mousy’. Why?

Inspired by comments on Proper use of the word “lousy”?: The word lousy is traditionally pronounced with a /z/ sound, as though it were louzy.* Contrastingly, the word mousy is always pronounced ...
3
votes
4answers
307 views

About the 't' in 'listener'

The 't' in 'listener' is not pronounced, and these kinds of words always make me misspell them. Instead of memorizing each of them, can you give me some advice/insight/cause? How common are these ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

“ē” and “iː”: I want a tutorial

My English textbook use “iː”, and I find some online dictionaries use “ē”. Where can I find information about this phonics system?
3
votes
3answers
382 views

Pronunciation of “spring”

I found this text on the internet: We must polish the Polish furniture. He could lead if he would get the lead out. The farm was used to produce produce. ... There was a bow tied in the ...
9
votes
4answers
8k views

“zh” vs. “j”. Are these pronounced in the same way?

I've seen some Chinese words like "YUEZHONG". Also in some other languages like Persian and Arabic I've seen words written with "zh". Are these two sounds pronounced in the same way? Is there any word ...
22
votes
6answers
13k views

Reason for different pronunciations of “lieutenant”

While Americans (and possibly others) pronounce this as "loo-tenant", folks from the UK pronounce it as "lef-tenant". Why?
21
votes
11answers
28k views

What is the correct pronunciation of the word “ma’am”?

Back in the day, the word ma’am (when addressing the Queen) was always pronounced “marm”. British TV shows from before the 80s confirm this. In the movie The Queen, we are told that the correct ...
17
votes
1answer
17k views

Why is “ask” sometimes pronounced “aks”?

We've recently moved from New Zealand to New York City, and have noticed that many people (most of whom have good English) pronounce "ask" as "aks". For example: Could you please go aks her ...
3
votes
0answers
1k views

“An RPG” or “a RPG”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word X-Ray? Hello people, English is not ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Pronunciation of “applicable”

Do you pronounce the word like... Ap-PLIC-a-ble Or: APP-lic-a-ble And if so, is there a difference between the two?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are many TV personalities beginning to pronounce “daughter” as “dotter”?

I have noticed the changing of proununciations of words with -au and -aw by TV presenters which is spilling over into everyday speech. For example “dotter” for daughter, “otto” for auto, “jah” for ...
26
votes
5answers
17k views

Why are Greek letters pronounced incorrectly in scientific English?

In Greek, for example, the letter β is pronounced "veeta", but in science, people use "beta". Some other offenders are η "eeta", ι "yiota", μ "mee", ν "nee", π "pee", τ "taf", χ "hee", ψ "psee". I ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

How to pronounce LINQ?

How to pronounce LINQ? Or should I just say L-I-N-Q? (LINQ is a .NET extension for queries.)
7
votes
8answers
3k views

How to pronounce GUID

How do you pronounce "GUID?" Is it one syllable or two?
18
votes
7answers
11k views

What is the correct pronunciation of “AJAX”?

I have wondered for a while about how I should pronounce "AJAX" (asynchronous JavaScript and XML). I usually say "I-acs", as in the Amsterdam football club, but should I say "a-jacs" (as it looks in ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

What is the pronunciation of mutinous?

What is the pronunciation of mutinous? I looked at the pronunciation reported in a dictionary, which uses /ˈmjutn=əs/ as American English IPA transcription, but I don't understand which sound should ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Most difficult word to pronounce [closed]

This question is mainly for all those that are not speaking English as their first language. For me there has been some words that are difficult to pronounce correctly. Maybe saying word aloud gives ...
15
votes
2answers
11k views

How do I know when a word with “ch” is pronounced hard or softly?

I'm hard-of-hearing, so when I read, I pronounce things phonetically because I don't hear a lot of soft sounds (like /sh/). To my surprise over the years, I've been continuously corrected on words ...
10
votes
4answers
690 views

“I park my car in the yard”

What is the origin of the different pronunciation of words like park, yard, cartoon, margarine in American and British English? In other words, why doesn’t British English generally pronounce the r ...
7
votes
2answers
9k views

Is there a difference in meaning when pronouncing paytronizing or pahtronizing?

I am not a native speaker of the language and I was recently corrected when pronouncing patronizing "paytronizing" when meaning condescending. I was told it is wrong to pronounce it that way; however, ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Pronunciation of verbiage and foliage

To my ear, the former should be pronounced "vurb-ij" and the latter "fohl-ee-ij" (the endings may vary among "aj", "edge" and "ij"). I occasionally hear people say "vurb-ee-ij" and often hear ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Pronunciation of voiceless alveolar fricative /s/ as ʃ (/sh/) in slang?

Observed some words get pronounced with a /sh/ rather than /s/ in certain situations. Stripes as "Shtripes" (from some "The Wire" episode) Screw it as "shcrew it" (from a rap song) In both ...
20
votes
4answers
18k views

What is the correct pronunciation and spelling of “asterisk”?

Every now and then I get caught out by a spellchecker around the word asterisk. I can accept that this is the correct spelling, however I hear a lot of people pronouncing it as asterix also. Is it ...
21
votes
6answers
76k views

Data pronunciation: “dayta” or “dahta”?

I hear "dayta" more often, but what's the correct pronunciation?
12
votes
5answers
2k views

How to pronounce “E = mc²”

How do we pronounce E = mc²? This is a physics equation.
24
votes
7answers
15k views

Why is “primer” pronounced with a short “i” sound?

This word—used to mean an elementary textbook, not a painting material—annoys me to no end. Does anyone know why, exactly, "primer" is pronounced with a short "i" sound? I don't know why, call it ...
2
votes
1answer
523 views

Synonym: Medium or soothsayer

I don't know if many of you watched the new Matt Damon movie Hereafter. Near the end of the movie, the little boy who lost his twin brother meets Matt Damon in the Book reading room, and says ...
26
votes
2answers
12k views

What's the deal with “colonel”?

Why does the word colonel (as in military rank) have such a strange spelling compared to how it's pronounced (or vice versa, although I don't know how you would pronounce that)?
23
votes
6answers
26k views

Why is the “ph” pronounced like a “v” in “Stephen”? Is this the only word like that?

While I know how my name is pronounced, I've run into many non-native english speakers who have stumbled over this unique exception to English. Even in the female name, "Stephanie", the ph is ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Different pronunciation between Thomas and Theodore

Disclaimer: I'm no native speaker. Thomas gets pronounced with a starting "T" (the "h" is silent), while Theodore with a "Th". What rule is followed here?
2
votes
2answers
860 views

Talking in a “football voice”

English is not my native language, but normally when I listen to the radio I have no problem understanding what's being said. That's different when I listen to sports commentary, I really have to ...
16
votes
4answers
6k views

How to pronounce “favicon”?

Yesterday my boss called our design person on the phone and asked her about designing a /fave-eye-con/. She asked him to repeat it a couple of times, and then finally (after a convoluted explanation ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Pronunciation of “jsfiddle”

English isn't my native language. I don't trust my pronunciation too much. I don't know how to pronounce the domain name jsfiddle.net. There isn't any video about jsfiddle, so I can't learn the ...
9
votes
6answers
18k views

Is it true that Chinese speakers have troubles with 'r's and 'l's in English words?

It is such a sterotype that Chinese speakers mix up 'r's and 'l's that I always assumed it to be true. Is this the case and, if so, why? The tongue position is totally different.
5
votes
11answers
2k views

Fun and enjoyable ways to practice pronunciation?

English is not my native language and I'm really proud of being able to write it quite well. I have lots of problems with pronunciation though. In Finnish most words are pronounced the same as they ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Difference in meaning and prononciation of urbane and urban

I encounter these two words pretty often, both orally and in writing. What is the difference between two, and how to pronounce, say in USA?
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Pronunciation differences between “finite” and “infinite”

In my experience, "finite" is pronounced (IPA) ˈfaɪnaɪt while "infinite" is ˈɪnfɪnɪt. In general, the prefix "in" negates an adjective, but does not change the pronunciation. Based on this, I would ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

“supposed to” or “suppose to”?

What is the actual spelling/pronunciation? What is the origination of this phrase?
2
votes
5answers
3k views

UK emphasis on the second syllable vs US emphasis on the first

Why do some British speakers of English emphasize the second syllable of words such as con-TRO-versy. One British woman I knew (living in Oxford) did this to many words including (unbelievably) the ...
-2
votes
3answers
360 views

Why “who is” sounds “whiz”?

Please elaborate, when we say "who is", why does it sound "whiz"? Also one more example I would like to include: why "visit us" sounds "visi-tas"?
11
votes
5answers
9k views

How should I pronounce “Worcestershire” as a rhotic English speaker?

I'm aware that the English county of Worcestershire is pronounced in Britain as ['wu:stəʃə], more or less. However, this is a non-rhotic pronunciation, and it feels very unnatural for me to use this ...
0
votes
0answers
392 views

“A” or “an” with words beginning with the letter H [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “A historic…” or “An historic…”? I am wondering when it's correct to use a/an with words beginning with the letter h. For example: ...
20
votes
5answers
18k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
9k views

Pronunciation of “Blessed”

Is there any difference in meaning or usage when pronouncing "blessed" with two syllables rather than one syllable? Two: bles-id [blɛsəd] One: blest [blɛst]
7
votes
4answers
23k views

Is it wrong to pronounce “pizza” as “peedtza”?

I was extremely mocked by colleagues (good humor) when I said the word "pizza" in the middle of the conversation. Given my accent, the way I pronounced it was closer to "peedtza", with a slight ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Why does “ow” have two different sounds

Why is it that the "ow" in now makes the aʊ sound while "ow" in snow makes the oʊ sound? Has this always been, was it spelled differently and then changed, or was it spelled this way but the sound ...
7
votes
2answers
22k views

What is the correct pronunciation and etymology of “corps”?

I tried looking up the word "corps" on dictionary.reference.com and it says it's pronounced "kawr", "kohr", "kawrs", or "kohrs", none of which match the way I've always pronounced it with the "ps" ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is baba ghanouj pronounced with a final “sh” sound?

Baba ghanouj is a delicious Middle Eastern dip made from roast eggplant and garlic. I've found the name spelled a multitude of different ways on the internet, but there are two peculiar things about ...
7
votes
5answers
21k views

Which is the correct way to refer to the letter “Z” — “Zee” or “Zed”?

So I am giving a presentation to an American audience tomorrow, and I have rather cluelessly labeled some components on a Powerpoint slide using the alphabet. When I talk about "component Z", I want ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

Aspirated letters vs. Silent letters

How are aspirated letters different from silent letters when pronouncing a word?