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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
2answers
390 views

Differing pronunciations of “divisive”

I've always pronounced it dɪˈvaɪsɪv (rhymes with incisive). Today at his press conference, President Obama pronounced it dɪˈvɪsɪv (rhymes with dismissive). I've heard the latter pronunciation off ...
18
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
462 views

Phonetic term for switching first two letters in a word

I read a grammar book a few years ago and remember coming accross a term for switching the first two letters in a word. I cannot for the life of me remember what the term is. An example would be the ...
6
votes
2answers
549 views

How do we pronounce the acronym CMYK?

How does one pronounce the acronym CMYK, in the color model sense. If there is more than one pronunciation, how popular is each of them?
104
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
78
votes
26answers
6k views

How to read “E = (mc)²” so as not to mistake for “E = mc²”

According to one of the questions already asked on EL&U, “E = mc²” is read as E equals M C squared. How do we read “E = (mc)²” so that it is not mistaken for “E = mc²”?
10
votes
5answers
821 views

Looking for a minimal triple

I am looking for a minimal triple for a particular set of phonemes. By minimal triple, I mean three actual English words that differ in one and only one phoneme between them. Examples therefore ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

How are invented names like 'scrypt' pronounced that include nonstandard abbreviations?

In technical contexts, I often come across terms that are invented names where some underlying meaning is not spelled out but can be inferred. This inferred meaning would often be lost if one tried to ...
5
votes
4answers
7k views

-ing vs -in' ending

I wonder if the "g" in the -ing forms is pronounced. When I hear it it seems as if it's not pronounced sometimes or just slightly, though sometimes I've been told that I should pronounce "g" for ...
-1
votes
1answer
105 views

Why don’t “snow” and “plow” — well, or “plough” — rhyme? [duplicate]

They (sometimes?) have the same ending when spelt but don’t rhyme when said. Why is that?
7
votes
2answers
134 views

Why doesn't blood sound like \ˈblüd\? [duplicate]

The pronunciation of blood is \'bləd\ while words such as moon and spoon (with double 'o') are pronounced as \ˈmün\ and \ˈspün. Why isn't blood pronounced like \ˈblüd\ ?
1
vote
3answers
336 views

Pronunciation of “banal” in British English?

How is "banal" properly pronounced in British English? I know three ways to pronunciate banal but I don't know how to write them here.
1
vote
2answers
300 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?
30
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
200 views

How is “Suzanne” pronounced? [closed]

I want to know how to pronounce the name, Suzanne. I check dictionary but I don't find anything please help me right now
2
votes
3answers
568 views

French speaker here — How to pronounce “r” and “l”?

I'm a French speaker and actually I have some problems with the sounds l , r and o in lawyer. Do you have any advice for me on how to place the tongue and so on?
1
vote
3answers
6k views

Pronunciation of “err”

I use to pronounce this word so that it rhymes with 'her', but recently I've been told to pronounce it like "air". Which pronunciation was it originally, and which pronunciation was correct?
5
votes
2answers
183 views

Is *th* ever used not as a thorn outside of portmanteaus?

Pretty much every occurrence of th I can think of see are pronounced as /θ/ or very similar sounds (sometimes slightly closer to f or s). Still, does th appear in any English word pronounced as two ...
0
votes
2answers
138 views

How do we pronounce the camera company name “Canon”?

How do we say Canon - the camera company name? Is it Keh-nun or Keh-non?
1
vote
0answers
325 views

Why are Kansas and Arkansas pronounced differently? [closed]

Arkansas is typically pronounced like so: “ahr-kuhn-saw”   IPA: [ˈɑɹkənˌsɔː] However, Kansas is typically pronounced like this: “kan-zuhs”             IPA: [ˈkænzɨs] Why are these two ...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

Different ways of saying Aluminium [closed]

this is a very short question but me and a couple of friends have been discussing this for a little. Does anyone know why Americans and British people especially insists on saying "Aloominum" and ...
9
votes
3answers
14k views

How to pronounce “halcyon”?

I grew up thinking this word was pronounced HALK-YON, having learned it from books and never hearing someone speak it. I recently heard somebody mention it for the first time, and they pronounced it ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

British pronunciation of “plait”

Having only seen this word in writing, I assumed it's pronounced "plate". howjsay (whose author is british) suggests the pronunciation that rhymes with "flat", but also offers the "plate" one. This ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are almost all vowels pronounced “i” in New Zealand English?

One thing I always notice when I'm hearing Kiwis speaking English is the fact that almost every vowel turns into /ɪ/. Here's a video which illustrates the point (listen to them when they speak ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

Is there a quick and easy way to pronounce “W” letter? [duplicate]

I mean, there is a well known 'substitution' for number "0" with 'ou' sound. Like, '107' in military communications will be pronounced as 'one-ou-seven'. Is there similar kind of substitution for ...
20
votes
10answers
19k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Is a schwa ever stressed?

Is there a word in RP (Received Pronunciation) where the stressed vowel sound is a schwa?
4
votes
2answers
391 views

Pronunciation: “use” versus “use”

Compare pronunciations: "I want to use the bathroom" (yoos) "I made use of the bathroom." (yus) My poor attempt at creating a phonetically descriptive syntax is supposed to convey that, with the ...
10
votes
1answer
549 views

Etymology and pronunciation of arch-, archi-

The prefix arch-, archi- “chief, principal; extreme, ultra; early, primitive,” derives from Latinized Greek arkh-, arkhi-, the combining form of arkhos “chief.” Usually, arch- is pronounced like ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you pronounce “Lowe” in “Lowe's”

How do you pronounce "Lowe" in "Lowe's", the home improvement store in U.S.? How is it pronounced when it is in a person's name? Is it pronounced in the same way?
1
vote
1answer
108 views

The pronunciation of 'Hawaii'

Apparently some parts of the US routinely pronounce the name of our island state as 'Hawaya.' At first, I thought this was just incorrect, but apparently it's a regional usage. Where do they call it ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

pronunciation of “afraid”

I know /əˈfreɪd/ is the schoolbook version of pronouncing "afraid". However, I constantly find myself pronouncing it like /əˈfred/ instead. Is it just a natural thing to do when speaking or does it ...
12
votes
2answers
21k views

Why is the “L” silent when pronouncing “salmon”?

Why is the letter l silent when pronouncing salmon properly?
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the correct pronunciation of “regex”?

The term regular expression is often shortened to regex. What is the correct pronunciation of the g in regex? Is it like the g1 in gallium, or is it like the g2 in giraffe? I’ve heard it said both ...
1
vote
1answer
207 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 ...
2
votes
7answers
3k views

If enough people say “supposably” instead of “supposedly”

"Supposably" sounds awful (to my ear) and I'm surprised at how often I hear it said. How often would it have to be used within the general population for it to become an acceptable alternative ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How to stress any word properly?

Personally I think stress is one of the hardest things. There are thousands of words around, so most likely I cannot remember all stress-marks of every word then pronounce them exactly. Is it so ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is the “J” in San Jacinto pronounced like an English “J” instead of an “H” in Texas?

Many Spanish words taken into English have a "J" sounding like "H", but San Jacinto follows a different rule: San Jose La Jolla San Juan Jiminez Why is San Jacinto not pronounced San Hacinto in ...
12
votes
10answers
15k views

What is the correct pronunciation of the word “solder”?

I have been listening to a podcast where the host pronounces the word solder as "sodder" or "sod-der", even "saw-der". Same thing happened when the lecturer of one of my EE classes pronounced the word ...
3
votes
1answer
402 views

Why is the “a” in “have” a short a sound?

As far as I'm aware, every word of the form consonant-a-v-e has a long a sound - cave, Dave, fave, gave, lave, nave, pave, rave, save and wave - every word except have. What is the story behind this ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

Why do we pronounce “disease” like that?

What is the rule of pronunciation in this case? Why do we say like if there was an "e" in place of the "i"?
3
votes
2answers
886 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

The differency between “run” and “wrong” from pronunciation [closed]

I know that the two words "run" and "wrong" say differently technically. But actually they always sound the same to me from movies and the native speakers. Are here any tips that I can identify them ...
3
votes
2answers
203 views

If a letter isn't pronounced but affects pronunciation of other letters, is it still 'silent'?

The 'e' in paste isn't pronounced on its own, but changes the pronunciation of the 'a'. In that case, is the 'e' still referred to as silent?
7
votes
2answers
37k views

How do you spell “Aye Yai Yai”

The phrase that's spoken when someone is hand-wringing about a thorny problem. Speaker One: Uh-oh -- we have to reformat ALL THE DOCUMENTS! Speaker Two: Aye Yai Yai, that's a lot of work! "Aye ...
1
vote
2answers
6k views

How do you pronounce “mayor”?

I have been split between two pronunciations of "mayor". Most of the people I talk to pronounce it "mair" (like the horse). But if you look on Dictionary.com the main pronunciation is "mey-er". I ...
5
votes
7answers
690 views

The + vowel sound

I've been told that when "the" is proceeded by a vowel sound, like "apple" or "hour", it's pronounced as "thee" and not as "thu". But after listening to a couple of songs, I noticed that sometimes ...
7
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
246 views

Pronunciation and meaning: “wind” and “wound”

I find it curious that there exist two words spelt wind ("a breeze" vs. "to turn") and two words spelt wound ("an injury" vs. the past participle of wind), and that the words in each pair are ...