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

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4
votes
1answer
387 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Term for words with identical spelling but different meaning and different pronunciation

What do you call words with identical spelling but different meaning and different pronunciation? A couple examples are bass and resume.
3
votes
5answers
5k views

How are these Brazilian Portuguese names pronounced in English?

How are these Brazilian (Portuguese) names pronounced in (U.S.) English? João Gilberto Astrud Gilberto Bebel Gilberto Vinicius de Moraes Antonio Carlos Jobim Vivo Sonhando
23
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
11answers
32k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is “k” added to “panic” when suffixes added (as in “panicky”)?

When adding any suffix to the word "panic," a "k" is added after the "c". Examples: panicked, panicking, panicky. Why is this the case? Are there any other English words that do the same? I'm also ...
7
votes
2answers
548 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\ ?
2
votes
2answers
692 views

Pronunciation of “the” before a long u sound

All my life I have been hearing and pronouncing /ði/(unstressed) in "the US", "the UK" and "the UN", but I'm not sure that was correct. How do you pronounce "the" before a long u sound? I searched ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the term for a shortened word that is pronounced based on phantom letters?

I'm only posting out of curiosity. But recently I've begun to wonder what you would call a shortening of a word that only sounds correct when spoken, and the pronunciation cannot be inferred from its ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Why is “sew” pronounced as “so”?

Why is sew (/səʊ/ or /sō/) pronounced similar to so rather than to few or sue? Looking at its etymology, Old English siwian "to stitch," earlier siowian, from Proto-Germanic *siwjanan (cf. Old ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

Hwat, hwere, and hwy?

In which English accents do they put an h before every word that starts with wh? Example from Youtube. Notice his pronunciation of whisky.
21
votes
11answers
26k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Difference in [ə] pronunciation at the end of a word in British and American English

I grew up speaking American English (San Diego to be specific). When I hear someone who speaks British English say a word that ends in [ə], like banana, I hear a weak but distinct 'r' sound attached ...
6
votes
10answers
43k views

Is there a rule in British English about how to pronounce “either”?

There are two common pronunciations of "either": British /ˈaɪðər/ and American /ˈiːðər/. If Americans are more or less consistent in this regard, then the Brits seem to be freely using both. In fact, ...
2
votes
3answers
489 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, ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Pronunciation of “Einstein”

Why is Einstein pronounced with a s instead of sh, while the ei is pronounced ine? This looks inconsistent.
3
votes
3answers
583 views

Correct pronunciation of “TT”? [closed]

A single t between vowels sounds like a d to me (or like an r in my language, Brazilian Portuguese). May I say the tt spelling the same way, or does that only work for a single t?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How to pronounce Louis Armstrong

I think the standard Irish/British pronunciation is as in Louis the king. But musicians seem to say "Lewis". I've heard people say Joe Louis as in the king as well. Is this wrong?
1
vote
1answer
1k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a rule for how to pronounce words such as “dance”, “prance”, “castle”?

Is there a grammatical rule for the pronunciation of words such as dance, castle and prance? I believe the British English pronunciation is "ah", while in American English it is a short "a" sound.
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Pronouncing the “N” as separate syllable at the end of words like “known” and “pattern”

Over time, I have heard people pronounce the "n" on words like "known" (NO-en) and "pattern" (PAT-r-en), as though it were a separate syllable. The instances of my hearing such have been rare ones, ...
9
votes
2answers
443 views

Why doesn't the silent “e” work on “infinite”? [duplicate]

Why doesn't the silent "e" work on the word "infinite"? What I mean is, why does mate have a long "a", but infinite has a short "i"?
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How to pronounce terminal “-al”

I'm confused about how to pronounce -al at the end of the word. These words end with -al and are pronounced without a "ə" sound. dig·it·al /ˈdijitl/ men·tal /ˈmentl/ These words also end ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Pronunciation of vowel in vague as [æ] instead of [eɪ]

I have a friend who pronounces the vowel in plague, vague, and bagel as [æ] instead of the standard [eɪ] (so plague rhymes with flag, for instance). Interestingly, he apparently can't tell the ...
1
vote
1answer
395 views

Why is “me” pronounced like “me” but “ne” is not pronounced with the same e sound?

Why is "me" pronounced like "me" but "ne" is not pronounced with the same e sound? According to a professor, "ne" is pronounced like "nuh". Why is it like this? And more generally, does there exist ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

How to pronounce to differ spatial from special?

It always bugged me that I do not know how to differentiate "spatial" from "special". I would just say "space" to be clear when "spatial" is the grammatically correct choice. Are the standard ...
2
votes
2answers
213 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?
4
votes
3answers
451 views

Why is service pronounced the way it is?

Why is service pronounced the way it is and not like device even though the last 4 letters of the words are identical? I would think that if they end the same way, the same pronunciation rules should ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does the pronunciation of the word “wife” [waif] change in the word “midwifery” [ˈmɪdˌwɪfərɪ]?

I recently found out that the word wife is pronounced differently in the following examples: wife [waif] / midwife [midwaif] / but midwifery [ˈmɪdˌwɪfərɪ] This appears to be another inconsistency ...
18
votes
3answers
40k views

Why is the word 'bologna' pronounced like 'baloney'?

Why is the word 'bologna' (as in a bologna sandwich) pronounced so differently from the way it's spelled? The word 'lasagna' isn't pronounced 'lasagney'... The American sausage is derived from a ...
16
votes
2answers
45k views
3
votes
1answer
8k views

Why is “lawyer” widely pronounced “loyer”?

This pronunciation phenomenon appears to be more widespread than I'd thought. I've always pronounced lawyer as it's spelled (law-yer), but I've often heard people say loy-er instead. It's not ...
11
votes
5answers
619 views

Pronunciation of “often” [duplicate]

How should often be pronounced in formal speech? "off-ten" or "of-fen"?
6
votes
2answers
256 views

“Lessen, poisoned gulls, ditcher wander hair annulled furry tell a boarder Slipping Booty?”

This is the prelude to an article published in Sports Illustrated magazine on August 17, 1959: Lessen, poisoned gulls, ditcher wander hair annulled furry tell a boarder Slipping Booty? Hoecake? ...
1
vote
8answers
1k views

Is there a difference between “bitter” and “better” in pronunciation?

I was wondering if there was any difference between "bitter" and "better" in pronunciation? My assumption is that one is pronounced with a soft "d" as in "better" and the other one with a hard "t" as ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What loan-words keep their native pronunciation?

Being a non-native English speaker I recently discovered that for some words you don't use English pronunciation. For instance you seem to be omitting the l's when saying tortilla. Yet this isn't ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to pronounce family names?

Does anyone know a tool to look up names like Rumbaugh? Sometimes I hear something like "rumba" or even "rambo". Is there a dictionary where I could look up the correct pronunciation?
5
votes
8answers
11k views

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

I have always used both "root" as in route 66 and "rooter" as in the networking device. The latter has gotten me funny looks often, however I could not bring myself to accept the inconsistency. Today ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

“Lambast” or “lambaste”

I looked up both lambast and lambaste in several dictionaries, but came up with no conclusions about which one is AE and which BE (if this distinction can ever be made). Moreover, the different ...
2
votes
1answer
565 views

How to pronounce “often” [duplicate]

At the website where people pronounce words from their languages, the page for the word often gives 15 accounts. 13 people pronounced it with silent t (ofen), and only 2 with strong t (ofTen). But ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

In what dialects does “often” rhyme with “soften”?

I believe in most English dialects soften is pronounced without a t sound. In some dialects, often is similar, but in others a t sound is quite evident in often. I'm interested not only in which ...
11
votes
5answers
9k views

How should I pronounce “Worcestershire” as a rhotic English speaker?

I'm aware that the English county of Worcestershire is pronounced in Britain as ['wu:stəʃə], more or less. However, this is a non-rhotic pronunciation, and it feels very unnatural for me to use this ...
0
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Should pronunciation of the r in “heart” be the same as r in “rabbit”, in UK English?

My 5 yr old daughter was given a task by her teacher to "find as many things as she can that have the sound r" with examples of rabbit, barrow, and ruler (all r's were underlined in the 3 words). ...
1
vote
2answers
328 views

pronunciation rule for grapheme “a” in words like “nefarious,” “variation” and “temporary”

English pronunciation / spelling guides appear to state that the letter/grapheme "a" is pronounced either as the "short a" with IPA symbol /æ/, as in "mat" or the "long a" with IPA symbol /eɪ/, as in ...
14
votes
1answer
736 views

Is the pronunciation of the letters “Y” and “I” supposed to be identical?

My son and I were reciting the Spanish alphabet recently. "Y" is i griega, which means "Greek i." This got me thinking about the English letter Y and its function in our alphabet. All of the words ...
1
vote
1answer
712 views

How to guess the pronunciation of some inconsistencies in English?

I’m not a native English speaker, and I have a lot of problems when is comes to pronouncing words like archive, archon, zealot, heal, health. Why is the ch sometime pronounced like a k? Why is the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

American English Pronunciation of “o” sound long or short?

I'm always confused about how to pronounce words with letter o in spelling. For example, in the word boss, I always pronounce the o as short o, when in fact it is long o. Collar is short, but I always ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

How to know how to pronounce an “-e” ending based on spelling?

I’ve always wondered how the -e word ending should be pronounced: For example (correct me if I’m wrong), the words apache, Adobe, Skype, etc. have the -e ending pronounced like in the word be. ...
8
votes
2answers
585 views

Pronunciation: ‘lousy’ vs. ‘mousy’. Why?

Inspired by comments on Proper use of the word “lousy”?: The word lousy is traditionally pronounced with a /z/ sound, as though it were louzy.* Contrastingly, the word mousy is always pronounced ...