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

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2
votes
5answers
160 views

Why is “agnostic” pronounced “ag-gnostic” as opposed to “a-gnostic”?

Gnosticism, for example, is obviously not pronounced with a hard g. As far as I know the modern English use of agnostic is said to have originated with Thomas Huxley, who surely would have been aware ...
5
votes
1answer
271 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Why are the first syllables of “nature” and “natural” pronounced differently?

The two words nature and natural have the radical, why are they pronounced differently?
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Aspirated letters vs. Silent letters

How are aspirated letters different from silent letters when pronouncing a word?
6
votes
6answers
6k views

Pronunciation of “comparable”

I was talking to my boyfriend about this but I wanted to get some more opinions. "Comparable" can be pronounced as: COMP-er-uh-bul (which is how I usually pronounce it) Com-PAIR-ah-bul (which ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Are American vowels drifting backwards?

I have 2 young daughters who like many their age are currently obsessed by "Frozen". I watched it for the first time last night and actually ended up googling to work out whether Elsa's sister is ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

No coffee, no workee - meaning

No coffee, no workee What does that expression exactly mean? And how do you pronounce it?
1
vote
1answer
223 views

Why is “threshold” pronounced “thresh-hold”?

Why is threshold pronounced "thresh-hold"?
17
votes
4answers
2k views

New Zealand pronunciation of “women” vs “woman”

I have read in a number of places that the NZ pronunciation of "women" must be rather peculiar. Quoting from just one such place: For some years I've noted the tendency of Kiwis to pronounce ...
2
votes
3answers
307 views

How does one pronounce “hath” and “doth”?

Old English verb forms such as "hath" and "doth" are, I believe, normally pronounced with the /θ/ sound as in the word "think." But somebody once told me that that is actually a mistake. The words, ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the commonly accepted pronunciation of FAQ?

I hear FAQ(s) pronounced like a word in "FACK(s)", while I go letter by letter. In usage, what is more common? (Similar to SQL vs Sequel)
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a rule for pronouncing “th” at the beginning of a word?

Consider the th in thistle versus the th in this: the former is unvoiced, while the latter is voiced. Is there a rule or reason for the differences?
2
votes
2answers
103 views

What is the name for “pronunciation spelling”?

Dictionaries often have "pronunciation spelling" listed next to the word. For example: port·man·teau - noun \pȯrt-ˈman-(ˌ)tō\ What is the name for this alphabet/system? Is it a universal ...
3
votes
1answer
323 views

What is the IPA for “trade”?

Some of my students have a disagreement about transcribing the pronunciation of "trade" in American English. Some say it's (a) [t͡ʃeɪd] while others (and they point to dictionaries that support them) ...
-1
votes
6answers
138 views

How to pronounce number, say 1024, in programming world? [closed]

This is a 1024-byte length string. How to pronounce the sentence above? This is a one-thousand-and-twenty-four byte length string. or This is a one-oh-two-four byte length string.
0
votes
1answer
75 views

Pronunciation of CH [duplicate]

Why is ch pronounced as "Q", as in choir, and are there any other instances where ch is used as the letter "Q"?
2
votes
1answer
100 views

In a combination of two vowels (such as “ae”), what rule determines if the first (“a”) or second (“e”) is silent?

In a combination of two vowels (such as "ae"), what English rule determines if the first ("a") or second ("e") is silent? For example, in the word "praetor", the vowel "a" is silent but in the word ...
2
votes
1answer
289 views

Can I pronounce a “t” as a glottal stop in the word “Netflix”

I am talking American English now. Usually when a "t" comes at the end of the word "wheat" or before "n" or "m" sounds as in "mountain" and "treatment", the t sound is not pronounced and i pronounced ...
9
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Why isn't the tonic syllable in “varies” not the same as in “variety”?

I've always pronounced "varies" as /veəˈrɪz/ but recently heard someone say /ˈveərɪz/ in a video. I'm brazilian, so that causes me some confusion as I'm not used to speaking English on a daily basis. ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

How should an English speaker pronounce “vice versa”?

When using vice versa in spoken English, I tend to just completely Anglicise it and pronounce it vise VER-ser, with only one syllable in vice. The original would be something like VEE-cay VER-sa, but ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

How to pronounce “users' email”? [closed]

Minutes ago, I was reading an article "Yahoo, Google and Apple also claim rights to read user emails". As usual I was reading it out loud, and I was stuck at "Following the revelation that Microsoft ...
3
votes
5answers
47k views

How do we differentiate long vowels from short vowels in English

I was finding a school for my toddler. I saw this new theory called long vowels and short vowels The teacher talk about apple, which she read something like "eiple" and the hat, which she claims use ...
5
votes
1answer
192 views

the pronunciation of “get”

Both /gɛt/ and /gɪt/ show up in the Wiktionary. The etymology strongly suggests that the pronunciation /gɛt/ is older. What is the source of the pronunciation /gɪt/? Is it confined to certain ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Why not pronounce single characters the same way as they are pronounced in words? [duplicate]

We pronounce most of the characters as if they were words and not characters. For example,"C" is pronounced as "See" but when used in a word, we pronounce it as "K". This is the same case with other ...
1
vote
3answers
565 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?
8
votes
1answer
2k views

In IPA, what is the difference between ə and ʌ?

In all the examples I've seen they seem to be the same sound. Examples of ə: a in about a in comma Examples of ʌ: u in run o in won I am trying to decipher the difference between these sounds ...
23
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Is 'read' the only word that has the same conjugation with different pronunciation?

The past and present tenses of "read" are spelt the same but have different pronunciation. This question is related to the post Why are the past and present tenses of "read" spelt the same?.
9
votes
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
2k 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
18 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
165 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
107 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
525 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
259 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
219 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
117 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
4k 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?
0
votes
2answers
124 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
12k 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
78 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
692 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
100 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
89 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
470 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?
95
votes
123answers
35k 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
83 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
6k 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
2k 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 ...