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

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0answers
1k views

Why do certain words have the same type of spelling but different pronunciation? [duplicate]

There are words like 'but' , 'cut' etc pronounced in the same way, but 'put' is pronounced differently. Put has the same structure as but and cut (One 'u' between two consonants). So why is it ...
5
votes
1answer
342 views

Relaxed Pronunciation

As a court reporter & supervisor for 34 years our rule of thumb in the transcription of evidence, many people relax their pronunciation whilst on the stand, such as "gotta, kinda" but we've always ...
2
votes
1answer
746 views

Words with pronunciations more complex than spelling

The word mischievous is sometimes pronounced with a long e sound between the v and the last vowel (mis-chee-vee-us), although this is controversial. Is there a name for this type of word, where the ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Accent on second syllable for “preference”

Dictionaries say that the word "preference" has got the accent on the first syllable. In a film the actor Jonny Lee Miller pronounced it with accent on the second syllable. It was not the first time ...
-3
votes
0answers
18 views

Which is the best English pronunciation or Text to Speech software? [migrated]

I am trying to improve my English pronunciation and I would like to know about the best solution / software available, which accepts English words / sentences as text input, and thus I can listen to ...
3
votes
2answers
105 views

Which rules define how to pronounce a consonant? [closed]

My question might appear silly and pointless to some, but I find it pretty interesting myself. If we look at the word 'circus', it has 3 consonants and 2 vowels. However, the 2 c in the words are ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Pronunciation of “automata” [closed]

Automata theory is a study in the fields of theoretical computer science and mathematics. See this Wikipedia page for more information. What is the pronunciation of the word automata? Is it ...
2
votes
2answers
697 views

Why do people keep mispronouncing my name, Divine?

My name is Divine--like the English word, "divine". There are no tildes, no accent marks, no umlauts, or funky letters like æ...nothing shady going on here. Yet every time someone reads my name, i ...
13
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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 ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Pronunciation of “lorry”, “worry” and “sorry”

I have always pronounced lorry as "lur-ee" (as if to rhyme with worry), for as long as I can remember. Everyone else I know pronounces it as "lor-ee" (as if to rhyme with sorry). Which one is ...
108
votes
2answers
9k views

Why is “bicycle” pronounced differently from other obviously related words?

The word bicycle is pronounced /'baɪsɪkəl/ (bahy-si-kuhl), like sickle. However, the words unicycle and motorcycle both have the -cycle pronounced as /-'saɪkəl/ (sahy-kuhl). Is there some sort of ...
5
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5answers
2k views

How do you pronounce the H in “an historian”?

A lot of people I know argue that you should use the article "an" before words such as "historian", "history", "hotel", "hospital", "heretic". I don't want to debate whether or not this is correct or ...
34
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9answers
9k views

How are 'marry', 'merry', and 'Mary' pronounced differently?

The way I pronounce these words is the same. Similarly for other words like these: I pronounce ferry and fairy the same, carrot and caret. Yet, dictionaries show different pronunciations for these ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Plural forms which end in -x such as tableaux

Words borrowed from French and ending in -eau originally had plural forms which appended an -x rather than an -s. For e.g., the plurals of tableau, beau, and plateau were tableaux, beaux, and plateaux ...
1
vote
1answer
242 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is “great” pronounced as “grate”, but spelled with “ea”?

Great is one of the few common English words in which "ea" is pronounced /eɪ/ (ay). Why is this pronunciation associated with this spelling? As an aside, I remember from researching for my answer to ...
1
vote
2answers
783 views

How to tell how a vowel should sound like in words?

Why does the 'A' in the word "cat" sound different to 'A' in the word "car"? If I want the 'A' in a foreign name like 'Pardis' to sound like the 'A' in cat, how should I write it?
5
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3answers
3k views

how to pronounce “twenty” correctly?

Well, I usually say "twenny" instead of "twenty" (not "twendy" even). I recently noticed that I never heard the same from any native english speakers during any talks I ever had with them. Recently I ...
5
votes
2answers
266 views

pronunciation : Vine vs Vineyard

Why vin in vine sounds similar to vice, but vin in vineyard is similar to that in the name Vincent? I would expect since both vine and vineyard are related to grape in some way, they probably should ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Why is “one” pronounced as “wan”, not “oh-ne”?

Why is one pronounced as "wan", not "oh-ne"? Why are the spelling and pronunciation of one so strange? In French, one is written as un, and pronounced as "oe" (with nasal sound). The sound is similar ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is “bade” pronounced “bad”?

Dictionary.com doesn't even allow for the pronunciation "beyd", which is how I thought it was pronounced until very recently. Forbade is similarly pronounced, though the dictionary generously gives ...
26
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5answers
15k 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 ...
12
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6answers
2k views

How would you spell “Tehran” in English for it to be pronounced “correctly” (i.e. as in Persian)?

Native English speakers do not pronounce the h in Tehran so it is pronounced like "Teran". But in the original pronunciation in Persian the h is pronounced, resulting in /tehˈɾɒːn/. Is there any ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Are “flower” and “flour” always homophones?

Flower and flour are said to be homophones. However, considering the number of different pronunciations (/flaʊə/ like BrE sour, /flou(-ə)r/ like AmE sour, /flɑː/ (forvo) like BrE car, etc.) floating ...
11
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3answers
12k views

Pronunciation of “a”

I'm really confused about the pronunciation of the letter "a". Why is there a difference when it is used in a sentence and when "a" is single? When it is single, we read it like dwelling on it, like ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
261 views

Unnecessarily Using a Long “E” Sound in Plurals Whose Singular Form Ends in “S”

Singular "analysis" becomes plural "analyses". The e has a long sound because otherwise the two would sound the same. This seems to be a pretty solid rule for nouns whose singular form ends in "is" ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Pronunciation of “esplanade” and “promenade”

Checking Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary shows that the British and American pronunciations for each of esplanade and promenade differ. Also the way the ending is pronounced for each dialect ...
0
votes
3answers
608 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?
6
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4answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
194 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 ...
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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 ...
2
votes
5answers
238 views

Is Missouri called /mi.'zuɹ.ə/ outside of Missouri?

Here in Missouri, most people born here pronounce the state as /mi.'zuɹ.ə/ (instead of /miz.'uɹ.i/ or something like it). This is a lot more noticeable in the south/central, rural parts of the state. ...
9
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1answer
8k views
2
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2answers
1k views

The pronunciation of “ate”

I was talking to some friends and I said "I ate (/et/) chocolate yesterday...". Then my friend corrected me: "you ate (/eit/) chocolate...". I repeated my sentence with the /eit/ pronunciation and we ...
3
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2answers
1k views

Why is “sauté” spelled with an accent and “repartee” not?

Why are these words spelled differently? They have the same sound at the end, right?
19
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4answers
14k views

Why are there 3 different ways to pronounce “oo”?

My German colleagues were laughing at the way I pronounce google, and it led to a discussion. With words like google, yahoo, poodle and loose, the oo has a sound similar to the German ü sound. With ...
1
vote
3answers
921 views

Why is soldier ˈsōljər? Where did the “j” come from?

Just a pronunciation question. Is it a vestige of the spelling battle between i and j, where in English the j lost out to the i, but with soldier we retained the sound?
3
votes
1answer
158 views

Algorithm to determine if an “e” in a word is silent

I'm working on a software that requires me to know if an "e" in a word is silent or not. I thought of using Artificial Intelligence and pattern recognition to determine if the "e" is silent. The AI ...
36
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is “cupboard” pronounced with a silent “p”?

According to Google at least, the word "cupboard" originated in late Middle English as denoting a board that held cups. Since then, the word has evolved to mean a kind of cabinet. My question is, ...
2
votes
1answer
673 views

Why is the pronunciation of 'ch' different in chamber and chameleon? [duplicate]

Sometimes ch is pronounced as /k/, as in chorus/chameleon. Sometimes as /tʃ/, as in chamber/chalk. Why is it so?
2
votes
2answers
516 views

What is the pronunciation of “liceity”?

"Liceity", meaning lawfulness or legitimacy, is a word that seems only to be used to describe certain religious actions from the Roman Catholic point of view. The word is not present in any major ...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is the initial “ts” sound (e.g “tsunami”) pronounced as “s”?

Why is the word "tsunami" often pronounced as "sunami"? Can English speakers pronounce "ts"? Is it because the initial "ts" looks foreign?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What rules of English allow the first t in “patient” to make an sh sound?

What rules of the English language allow the first t in patient to make an sh sound? Why is it /ˈpeɪʃənt/ and not /ˈpeɪtənt/? Are there any other words where t behaves in this way?
7
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1answer
6k views

How did the pronunciation of the word “derby” evolve?

Brits say "dar-bee" for both the town and the race, but Americans pronounce it as it's spelled. Did Brits used to say "der-bee" too and that's why it's spelled that way but they changed over time? ...
1
vote
1answer
537 views

Pronunciation of the apostrophe

Is there a rule regarding the pronunciation (or lack of) of the apostrophe? I have seen this on tv: "Enchantress' wrath" pronounced as "Echantresses wrath" "Gus' schedule" pronounced as ...
0
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3answers
167 views

How can a written language develop with unspoken letters? [duplicate]

English is a language in which you write quite a few letters that you do not pronounce, or you write letters in one order and pronounce it in another. For example, centre. It is pronounced ...
27
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4answers
1k views

Why are Leicester & co pronounced as they are?

What is the origin of the pronunciation of words like Leicester, Gloucester, Worcestershire? Presumably, the spelling predates the pronunciation but what is the history here? What language do the ...
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?
22
votes
4answers
8k views

Why are “sugar” and “sure” pronounced with an SH?

As far as I know, those are the only two. They should be pronounced Soogher and Soor, shouldn't they? I looked them up on Dictionary.com, and their etymologies reveal no trace of an SH, except where ...