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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

-1
votes
1answer
67 views

Why are there silent letters? [duplicate]

Why do we put letters in some words which are silent in pronunciation? If they make no sound then why we waste space in words? For example: "Knife"; 'K' is silent "Doubt"; 'b' is silent etc.
11
votes
10answers
6k views

How to pronounce GUID [closed]

How do you pronounce "GUID?" Is it one syllable or two?
6
votes
2answers
352 views

Should I pronounce little as ['lit(ə)l] or ['lid(ə)l]

I guess some people may give a down-vote to my silly question, but I still want to make it clear, at least for myself. Since English is not my first language, I watch a lot of online videos learn the ...
29
votes
4answers
59k views

Why are there two pronunciations for “either”?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an individual who told me that pronouncing the word "either" is wrong when pronounced like \ˈī-thər\ instead of \ˈē-thər\ , but I didn't argue the point ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Pronounciation of “string”

According to Wiki "string" is pronounced as /stɹɪŋ/. However, all of my acquaintances have split opinions about the 'g' at the end. I'm of a mind that the 'g' is pronounced, e.g. two strings, not two ...
2
votes
3answers
569 views

Why the extra syllable in words like these ending in -r and -l?

First-off, I'm not a native speaker. I've noticed that a lot of words ending in -r and -l are pronounced as if they had an extra syllable. Especially when they have a -ee- or -ai- sound. Consider ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Is it acceptable in American English to pronounce “grocery” as “groshery”?

I caught myself pronouncing the "c" in "grocery" as an "sh" sound. Is this commonplace/accepted, or is it perhaps geographic? Does this occur with "c" in other words? As background, I was raised in ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Pronunciation of the word “helmet”

Which pronunciation is correct? If both, which one is used more commonly? /ˈhelmɪt/ or /ˈhelmət/
6
votes
1answer
154 views

Letter 'Z' pronounced as 'Izzard' : how widespread and where?

I read at Which is the correct way to refer to the letter "Z" — "Zee" or "Zed"? that the letter Z is pronounced : 'Izzard' (/ˈɪzərd/) in Scottish English. as ...
2
votes
2answers
136 views

What is the origin of the word “What”?

Where does the word what come from? Why do we say wot when it's spelt the way it is?
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Why is the word “Cyrillic” pronounced with a soft “c”?

Why is the word "Cyrillic" pronounced with a soft "c" at the start of the word, when the pronunciation of the word in Russian and Mongolian sounds more like a hard "c"?
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Pronouncing the letter z [duplicate]

The letter z is often pronounced as zee. How do we know when to pronounce z as zed or zee ?
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Self conscious when pronouncing “R's”

I remember taking special reading classes in 5th and 6th grade for this, but basically I have trouble pronouncing words that use the letter 'r'. I don't really know why this is as I am fine with all ...
6
votes
3answers
817 views

Exercises for pronouncing the r

I'm a dutch programmer working in a international team where English is the main language. In my native language I have pretty decent articulation. However, when speaking English I have a lot of ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Why /t/ after /k/ sometimes is pronounced like a mild aspirated T but sometimes is pronounced like unaspirated T?

See this word: doctor /ˈdɑːktər/, the /t/ in this case seems to be like a mild aspirated T (that is there may have a bit air coming out of your mouth) Source. But expected /ɪkˈspektɪd/, the /t/ in ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Why in the song “I miss you” by Blink-182, the singer pronounces something like “yad” instead of “head”? [closed]

In the phrase "You're already the voice inside my head", the pronunciation the singer uses for "head" is bit confusing, I was wondering if it was a "slang" or other particular way of pronunciation of ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Is there a word for knowing the definition, but not the pronunciation of a word?

The word chimera for example. When encountered for the first time in a book, it comes with a description of the beast. There is however no help on its pronunciation. So in your mind, you may ...
2
votes
1answer
677 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
39 views

pronunciation of Ammonoids and Trilobites [closed]

How do you pronounce ammonoids and trilobites? These are ancient sea creatures.
-3
votes
1answer
121 views

Correct pronunciation of the word “Radchaai” [closed]

I'm currently reading the wonderful novel "Ancillary Justice" by Ann Leckie, and there's a political force who's name is "Radch" and everything that belongs to them is said to be "Radchaai", like "...
0
votes
1answer
168 views

Which words have a long vowel before the suffix -ic?

In many cases in English, vowels followed by a single consonant are pronounced short (also called lax) when followed by the suffix -ic or -ical, even if they are long in other related words. Some ...
1
vote
1answer
234 views

Words pronounced with stress patterns like in “politics”, “lunatics”, etc.?

Could anyone please give a list of words pronounced with no primary stress immediately preceding the suffix -ic, such as in "politics", "lunatic", "arithmetic"? Also, is there an absolute stress ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

'O' Pronunciation

I noticed recently that my friends and I pronounce words like "forest," "orange," and "florida" differently. For example, I noticed that there seem to be three ways that people pronounce these words: ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

When did “legend” stop being pronounced “LEE-gend”?

Nowadays, we pronounce the word legend as "LEDGE-end" (IPA: /ˈlɛdʒənd/). But it looks like at least some people used to pronounce "legend" as "LEE-gend." In A General Dictionary of the English ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

The /r/ sound in “drawing” in British English? [duplicate]

One of my pet peeves is that, in the UK, many people seem to mispronounce the word "drawing". The correct pronouciation is /ˈdrɔː.ɪŋ/. Why then, do so many people allow that /r/ to creep in to give /...
0
votes
0answers
63 views

vowel sound in “stair” pronounced similarly as the “eɪ” diphthong in “fake”?

Sometimes in words which have the ɛ sound followed by an "r" as in "stair", "their" "bear", "where" I hear them pronounced like "steɪəɹ", ðeɪəɹ etc. with the "eɪ" as in "fake", "lake","make" and not ...
0
votes
0answers
92 views

The pronunciation of the letter r in British English

For me as a german speaker, the English "r" sound is one of my most hated sounds in the English language since they're barely any other languages who use this r. I know that the British r is not ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

Words with a leading silent w

My eldest is a beginning reader. Yesterday we read one of my favorite books, The Wreck of the Zephyr. He pointed at wreck and asked me why that one looked like it said "wuh-reck." I explained that ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

An 'h' or a 'h' when just saying the letter? [duplicate]

I know for words starting with the letter 'h' the usage of "A" vs. "An" depends on how its pronounced. A - Before a word start­ing with a pro­nounced, breathy “h,” use “a.” Examples: A hotel; A ...
1
vote
0answers
83 views

“hundred” and “pretty” pronounced respectively as [ˈhən-dərd] and [ˈpər-tē]

Merriam-Webster's A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English gives [ˈhən-dərd], [ˈpər-tē], [ˈtem-pə(r)-ˌchu̇r], [ˈse-kə(r)-ˌterē], etc., as alternate ways to pronounce "hundred," "pretty," "...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

Pronunciation of Mid-Word American English T + D

I'm a native speaker of American English but have a very muddy sounding voice that I'm trying to improve. In my pronunciation the mid-word t/d sound, as in buddy, sweater, or under, is particularly ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

The schwa sound with word “have”

When I looked it up in the dictionary, two versions of pronunciation for word "have" was listed. hǽv and həv. hǽv is the one that I am most familiar with. But this həv with the schwa sound... when ...
0
votes
2answers
115 views

Pronunciation of the name, “ Leonhard Euler ”

In almost every source I know, Euler has been pronounced as /ˈȯi-lər/ . Nevertheless, in a number of books translated to other languages, it is mentioned as: /ˈjuːlər/ . I doubt in it incorrectness, ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

't' pronounced as 'ch'

In some words, the pronunciation of t is actually closer to ch, as in fortune. Is this is a recognized phenomenon in English pronunciation? Does it have a name? What other prominent examples can be ...
12
votes
4answers
25k views

Why is “sherbet” pronounced “sherbert” so much?

This has often stumped me. Not being a world-traveler, I don't know how widespread this pronunciation is, but if anyone knows: where did the r come from?
12
votes
1answer
218 views

What accents pronounce “quarter” as “korter”? Which other words can drop /w/ before /ɔr/ like this?

Many people drop the "w" from words like "dwarf," changing the pronunciation from /dwɔrf/ to /dɔrf/. This has led to the re-spelling "dorf" being used in some informal contexts, e.g. "Dorf Fort." My ...
6
votes
3answers
13k views

How common is pronouncing the past tense of beat as /bet/?

Personally, I pronounce the past tense of "beat" (to win at a game) as /biːt/, to sound identical to the infinitive. However, I have heard a few people under the age of 30 and from either the west or ...
0
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
88 views

Why do nouns and verbs which are stressed differently all exhibit the same variation?

I recently stumbled upon an interesting quirk regarding words that are both nouns and verbs. They seem to all follow the same stress pattern. Here are a few examples: NOUNS I have a really long ...
0
votes
4answers
88 views

The pronunciation of “cult” and “coat”

I feel that they are very similar in the USA by a number of people (some other ones pronounce it like "caught"), how the native people distinguish them, if no context is given? In British English, ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Pronunciation of UI

I heard someone pronounce UI as yooey. I guess this comes from the pronunciation of GUI, which is gooey. How common is this compared to yoo-eye and user-interface?
3
votes
1answer
191 views

The word “mine”: Anyone else use a velar nasal /maiŋ/ for “belongs to me” meaning, but still /main/ for “explosive”/“coal mine”?

I think I naturally distinguish these words: mine (ie "belongs to me") /maiŋ/ mine (ie "explosive" or "coal mine") /main/ I vaguely remember noticing this years ago, but I was only just reminded of ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does the word “garage” have so many different pronunciations?

Whenever I'm teaching private students and we are faced with the word garage, I hesitate a little. Italians have borrowed the term garage, which they pronounce /gaˈraʒ/, to stand for the room/...
3
votes
6answers
5k views
1
vote
1answer
122 views

Is there another way than [ɜr] to pronounce the grapheme “or” in words like “world” in AmEng?

It seems like I've lost count of the number of times that I've noticed some native speakers of American English pronounce the grapheme "or" in words like "world" as [oʊr] or [ɔr] rather than [ɜr]. ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Hard “i” Soft “i” [duplicate]

I teach ESL Conversation classes to adult learners. They know that some words have a hard "i" and some a soft "i". Once I pronounce the words for them, it is just a question of remembering. But how ...
3
votes
2answers
128 views

Joule Pronounced “Jowl”

In Linus Pauling's book, "General Chemistry", in one of the annotations in the first chapter, he writes the following about the word "joule": " Usually pronounced to rhyme with howl." I have not found ...
11
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

Is there a rule for the position of the accent (stressed sound) in words ending with -ative?

For example, can declarative be pronounced similar to declaration for the accent (stressed sound)? I thought before that sometimes the position of the "accent", or the stressed sound of a word, ...