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
vote
1answer
84 views

pronunciation of PYRamid vs. pyRAMidal

This recently came up in my geometry class: why is pyramid pronounced PIR-uh-mid, while pyramidal is pronounced pi-RAM-idal? From what I can tell, they both have similar roots and etymologies, so ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What’s the word for the habit of writing “play’d” or “revolv’d”?

I’m working on an 18th-century manuscript, and I’m trying to explain to others the use of ’d in past tense verbs. Is there a word that encompasses the usage of ’d in early 18th-century manuscripts? ...
1
vote
1answer
51 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

Aspirated letters vs. Silent letters

How are aspirated letters different from silent letters when pronouncing a word?
9
votes
4answers
11k views

The pronunciation of buoy

How did the word buoy come to be pronounced "BOO-ee" in most of the US? The British pronunciation "BOY" as in the word buoyancy or buoyant (which both countries pronounce the same) seems to be pretty ...
1
vote
1answer
301 views

Is Standard American Accent an old British Accent before 17th century?

I heard that American accent is like British accent before 17th Century. About 17th century, in Britain, there was a movement of changing the accent, which creates a new Standard British accent ...
7
votes
1answer
352 views

Syllable — Phonetic Online List/Dictionary with word examples

Is there a homepage or online tool that gives you a list of, let's say, the 2000 most common syllables sorted by their international phonetic alphabet spelling? (e.g. /sɜː(r)/ = the first syllable ...
7
votes
4answers
538 views

Why do people often say 'hambag' for 'handbag'?

Edit The comments here are full of disbelievers! "I've never heard handbag pronounced that way. Which country are you from?" Oh ye of little faith! So - I've attached a couple of examples here ...
2
votes
3answers
497 views

Is the 'th' sound usually reduced in spoken English?

I am working on my accent and pronunciation. I use American Accent Training and it says that in spoken English, speakers usually run words together. For example, "Run them all together" turns into ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

Different pronunciation of the suffix '-ege-': 'allege' vs 'renege'?

1. What are some terms that relate to this phenomenon? I want to beware of similar cases. 2. What are the reasons?
1
vote
1answer
343 views

how do you pronounce URL?

When pronouncing URL, I say (roughly) "you-are-ell." A colleague insists that (roughly) "earl" is more common. Is there a widely accepted pronunciation? Within the computer world or without?
1
vote
3answers
242 views

Older and Odor - Pronunciation

I know the only difference between the two is that "Older" has an "L" sound. But I want to know if that "L" is obvious to native speaker? Or it could be easily mistaken.
0
votes
2answers
175 views

Stress shift amongst speakers from India

I've noticed that speakers from India shift the stress in some words such as 'adjective', 'sentence' or 'tendency'. They normally stress the second syllable and not the first one as most people are ...
61
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is Sean pronounced Shawn?

I've always had this question about the pronunciation of Sean. Is Sean a word from another language? Is it actually not pronounced Shawn and instead it's some sound between Shawn and Seen? Also, why ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Allophones of /ə/

In (non-rhotic) British English there seem to be two major allophones of the phoneme /ə/. The first which can be heard in potato, career or the weak form of from as an [ə]. However, there's also a ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

How is the word “Cactaceae” pronounced?

I was wondering how the word Cactaceae, which is the botanical taxon for the Cactus family, is pronounced. I searched for "Cactaceae pronunciation" and found the following pronunciations: ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

Great Vowel Shift reversed. Is it appropriate? In what region this accent is typical? [closed]

I have been just pointed out that Google translator's GB English speaker pronounces vowels quite differently from the language standard. I made a comparison with Lingvo Online dictionary, which has ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

911: nine one one vs. nine eleven [closed]

The US emergency telephone number 911 seems to be almost always pronounced as nine one one whereas the Porsche model is typically pronounced as nine eleven One reason I can think of for ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

What's the correct pronunciation of 'improcerous'?

The word improcerous means 'low' or 'short in stature'. How is it pronounced?
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Do you pronounce the T ending sound?

As I was taught in school and , the T ending sound of words is unvoiced and should be pronounced with air, but recently I met a friend from the US, those aired T sounds were missing from her speaking, ...
6
votes
10answers
1k views

Does Santy (Santa) exist outside Ireland?

It's common at this time of year for adults to ask small children What's Santy bringing you? (awkward as this is for those of us who don't celebrate Christmas). Is this pronunciation of Santa unique ...
1
vote
4answers
206 views

Understandable songs to learn English [closed]

I am not very good at speaking and listening English. Can someone please suggest some songs, which have clear pronunciation of English words, to listen and understand the songs too and also I can use ...
17
votes
6answers
11k 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
1answer
58 views

Does articulation (can't you) as [kæntʃ u: siː] a bit of conversational, not official style?

I'm hearing it in songs sometimes, but I can't remember such pronunciation on English class. Is it some kind of american english or more local dialect? First 'lyrics can't you see' result from ...
7
votes
3answers
536 views

Name for people who cannot pronounce one particular sound

Is there a word in English for the inability to utter a specific sound like the rolled R for instance? In my language, there is a name for people who can only pronounce the uvular/guttural R instead ...
3
votes
2answers
69 views

Pronunciation of “practical” and “miracle”

I just checked from the Cambridge online dictionary, I found out that written pronunciations of "practical" and "miracle" are /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/ and /ˈmɪr.ɪ.kl̩/ I've always thought "cal" and "cle" ...
26
votes
2answers
11k 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)?
21
votes
4answers
7k views

Why are 'student' and 'suspend' not pronounced as written?

I am a Chinese student beginning to learn English. I am curious to know why the word student is pronounced with the sound of d instead of t. Likewise, why is the sound of b used instead of p when ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

Is it affected to pronounce the “h” in wh- words such as “what”?

Almost no one does it except professors and cosmopolitans. Though some books will say that "what" should be pronounced "hwutt" and not "wutt", is it really recommended for us, the common folk, to ...
6
votes
3answers
470 views

Whence came the different varieties of long /i/?

What is the origin of “long long /i/” before voiced consonants (the [ai] of wide, while, & tribe) versus “short long /i/” before unvoiced consonants (the [ʌi] of white, wife, & ...
4
votes
8answers
30k 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
84k views

Pronunciation of “cache”

I have been pronouncing the word "cache" as kaysh. I know a few people who pronounce it more like cash, cashay or even catch. After consulting a few dictionaries, it turns out that the correct ...
5
votes
1answer
576 views

“PRETTY good” and “pretty GOOD”, which one is better? [closed]

Speaking-wise, the difference between [ PRETTY good ] and [ pretty GOOD ] is the stress. I wonder would it convey a different feeling when people say [It's PRETTY good] and [It's pretty GOOD]
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Pronunciation of “quasi-”

How is the prefix "quasi-" pronounced? Are there any situations (e.g. depending on the word it prefixes or is part of) in which it would be pronounced differently?
3
votes
1answer
223 views

Are English speakers reluctant to use /l/ in a consonant cluster mid word?

A relative of mine recently went on a rant regarding the pronunciation of 'jewelry' (as joo-la-ree) and 'realtor' (as ree-la-ter). It reminded me of the oft criticized pronunciation of 'nuclear' and I ...
1
vote
2answers
124 views

Why a “chef” is a shef but a chair is not a shair" [closed]

I am unable to understand, why the sounds in english are not commonly spread. I looked into the IPA on google and could not understand, why the sounds change. e.g. chef vs chair.
5
votes
5answers
5k views

Is there a difference in pronunciation between “wood” and “would”?

My friends and I were debating whether would and wood are pronounced differently. Are they?
9
votes
5answers
1k views

How should “often” be pronounced?

I heard people saying "Of-fen" as well as "Of-ton". Till now I have been using the first one but few days ago I had an interviewer who pronounced often "Of-Ton" while interviewing.
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is a Scot's accent so difficult for Americans to understand? [closed]

When I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, the locals could understand me just fine, but I was flummoxed by their accent, which did not remotely sound like English to me. Necessity forced me to request that ...
0
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
23k views

How does one correctly pronounce the letter 'H': “Aych” or “haych”?

What is the correct sound of the letter H when reading the alphabet - is it 'aych' or 'Haych' ?
4
votes
4answers
9k views

Pronunciation of foreign words in American vs. British English?

One of the differences between modern US English (hereafter referred to as "American English") and British English is the way in which we pronounce foreign words, particularly those of French origin ...
1
vote
0answers
120 views

Why do the first and last “t” in “taste” sound different?

When I listened to the audio pronunciation of "taste" /teɪst/, I noticed that the first and last "t" sound different: the first "t" sounds like [tʰ] while the second one sounds more like [tsʰ]. Words ...
20
votes
6answers
74k views
1
vote
2answers
233 views

Pronunciation difference in The and A [duplicate]

When should 'the' be pronounced 'thuh' and when 'thee'? I heard that 'the' should be used as 'thee' before vowels and in some particular cases. All other cases should employ 'thuh'. What are the ...
5
votes
2answers
749 views

Are heteronyms unique to English and why do they exist?

Heteronyms are words with identical spelling and unique definition and pronunciations. For example, read (I have read that book; I will read that book), close (The door is close; I will close the ...
4
votes
5answers
15k views

How is 'via' pronounced and where did these variations come from? [closed]

Over the years, I've heard people say 'v-ē-ə', 'v-ī-ə', and sometimes the 'uh' is an 'ah' sound. (edit- It has come to my attention that 'via' was once a 'wee-ah' from Latin, but I don't feel like ...
4
votes
3answers
875 views

How should “aargh” really be pronounced?

The common interjections "argh!", "aargh!", "aaargh!", etc., is pronounced, as far as I know, the same as "aaa!" For most of my life, however, I (and I imagine many other second language speakers) ...
5
votes
10answers
13k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
447 views

What is the proper pronunciation for Kipling's character-name “Mowgli”?

Does the first syllable rhyme with “glow” or with “how”? It is no use appealing to the Hindi for “Little Frog” or anything else, since Kipling confessed to making ...