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

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2answers
332 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
741 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
717 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
589 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
291 views

How to understand the pronunciation of “nod” and “node”?

As we know, "nod" pronounces /nɒd/ while "node" pronounces /nəʊd/ (In US style?). So why does the extra "e" change the vocal of letter "o" entirely? My mother language is Chinese, therefore, it ...
7
votes
5answers
899 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: ...
0
votes
1answer
924 views

/u/ and /uː/ in pronunciation

What is the regularity of appearance of /uː/ and /u/ (or /ʊ/ in RP)? How can I be most sure deducing from spelling alone, that, say, "ooze" is pronounced /uːz/ and "wool" as /wul/? I know that English ...
0
votes
0answers
51 views

Regional pronunciation of “houndstooth” as “houndsooth”

I have always pronounced "houndstooth" as ˈhau̇n(d)z-ˌtüth , the exact same way I would pronounce the phrase "hound's tooth". Recently, I was told that the pronunciation should be "hound sooth", ...
0
votes
1answer
266 views

Pronunciation of the words 'height' and 'weight'

Why is "height" an "weight" pronounced differently, when the spellings are so similar? Is there any logical explanation or it evolved that way?
4
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2answers
2k views

Please explain the pronunciation of “indict.”

The word indict is not pronounced as it is spelled (big shocker in English, right?). It looks like it should be pronounced in-dikt, but it is pronounced in-dite. Why is it pronounced like this? Are ...
1
vote
0answers
1k views

Why do certain words have the same type of spelling but different pronunciation? [duplicate]

There are words like 'but' , 'cut' etc pronounced in the same way, but 'put' is pronounced differently. Put has the same structure as but and cut (One 'u' between two consonants). So why is it ...
5
votes
1answer
362 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
826 views

Words with pronunciations more complex than spelling

The word mischievous is sometimes pronounced with a long e sound between the v and the last vowel (mis-chee-vee-us), although this is controversial. Is there a name for this type of word, where the ...
3
votes
2answers
195 views

Which rules define how to pronounce a consonant? [closed]

My question might appear silly and pointless to some, but I find it pretty interesting myself. If we look at the word 'circus', it has 3 consonants and 2 vowels. However, the 2 c in the words are ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Pronunciation of “automata” [closed]

Automata theory is a study in the fields of theoretical computer science and mathematics. See this Wikipedia page for more information. What is the pronunciation of the word automata? Is it ...
2
votes
2answers
823 views

Why do people keep mispronouncing my name, Divine?

My name is Divine--like the English word, "divine". There are no tildes, no accent marks, no umlauts, or funky letters like æ...nothing shady going on here. Yet every time someone reads my name, i ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Rhyme in Elizabethan sonnets

In sonnets from the Elizabethan period, "move" rhymed with "love" although they don't today. Recognizing that changes in spelling rarely keep up with changes in pronunciation, how were "move" and ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Pronunciation of “lorry”, “worry” and “sorry”

I have always pronounced lorry as "lur-ee" (as if to rhyme with worry), for as long as I can remember. Everyone else I know pronounces it as "lor-ee" (as if to rhyme with sorry). Which one is ...
108
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you pronounce the H in “an historian”?

A lot of people I know argue that you should use the article "an" before words such as "historian", "history", "hotel", "hospital", "heretic". I don't want to debate whether or not this is correct or ...
34
votes
9answers
11k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Plural forms which end in -x such as tableaux

Words borrowed from French and ending in -eau originally had plural forms which appended an -x rather than an -s. For e.g., the plurals of tableau, beau, and plateau were tableaux, beaux, and plateaux ...
1
vote
1answer
334 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
vote
2answers
885 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?
5
votes
3answers
4k views

how to pronounce “twenty” correctly?

Well, I usually say "twenny" instead of "twenty" (not "twendy" even). I recently noticed that I never heard the same from any native english speakers during any talks I ever had with them. Recently I ...
5
votes
2answers
440 views

pronunciation : Vine vs Vineyard

Why vin in vine sounds similar to vice, but vin in vineyard is similar to that in the name Vincent? I would expect since both vine and vineyard are related to grape in some way, they probably should ...
10
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is “bade” pronounced “bad”?

Dictionary.com doesn't even allow for the pronunciation "beyd", which is how I thought it was pronounced until very recently. Forbade is similarly pronounced, though the dictionary generously gives ...
26
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

How would you spell “Tehran” in English for it to be pronounced “correctly” (i.e. as in Persian)?

Native English speakers do not pronounce the h in Tehran so it is pronounced like "Teran". But in the original pronunciation in Persian the h is pronounced, resulting in /tehˈɾɒːn/. Is there any ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Are “flower” and “flour” always homophones?

Flower and flour are said to be homophones. However, considering the number of different pronunciations (/flaʊə/ like BrE sour, /flou(-ə)r/ like AmE sour, /flɑː/ (forvo) like BrE car, etc.) floating ...
11
votes
3answers
14k views

Pronunciation of “a”

I'm really confused about the pronunciation of the letter "a". Why is there a difference when it is used in a sentence and when "a" is single? When it is single, we read it like dwelling on it, like ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is baba ghanouj pronounced with a final “sh” sound?

Baba ghanouj is a delicious Middle Eastern dip made from roast eggplant and garlic. I've found the name spelled a multitude of different ways on the internet, but there are two peculiar things about ...
1
vote
1answer
372 views

Unnecessarily Using a Long “E” Sound in Plurals Whose Singular Form Ends in “S”

Singular "analysis" becomes plural "analyses". The e has a long sound because otherwise the two would sound the same. This seems to be a pretty solid rule for nouns whose singular form ends in "is" ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Pronunciation of “esplanade” and “promenade”

Checking Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary shows that the British and American pronunciations for each of esplanade and promenade differ. Also the way the ending is pronounced for each dialect ...
0
votes
3answers
642 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?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does “ow” have two different sounds

Why is it that the "ow" in now makes the aʊ sound while "ow" in snow makes the oʊ sound? Has this always been, was it spelled differently and then changed, or was it spelled this way but the sound ...
2
votes
2answers
285 views

Why does the pronunciation of “U” vary in English?

The letter U is pronounced differently in different words such as Umbrella and Utensils, as well as when it is Used inside of words such as stUdent and stUdy. Can I please have a grammatical ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Is there any convention for pronouncing proper nouns?

Is there any convention as to how proper nouns with origins outside English should be pronounced? I have heard claims to the effect that "a proper noun can be pronounced however you wish"; is that ...
2
votes
5answers
279 views

Is Missouri called /mi.'zuɹ.ə/ outside of Missouri?

Here in Missouri, most people born here pronounce the state as /mi.'zuɹ.ə/ (instead of /miz.'uɹ.i/ or something like it). This is a lot more noticeable in the south/central, rural parts of the state. ...
9
votes
1answer
9k views
2
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2answers
2k views

The pronunciation of “ate”

I was talking to some friends and I said "I ate (/et/) chocolate yesterday...". Then my friend corrected me: "you ate (/eit/) chocolate...". I repeated my sentence with the /eit/ pronunciation and we ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is “sauté” spelled with an accent and “repartee” not?

Why are these words spelled differently? They have the same sound at the end, right?
20
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4answers
16k views

Why are there 3 different ways to pronounce “oo”?

My German colleagues were laughing at the way I pronounce google, and it led to a discussion. With words like google, yahoo, poodle and loose, the oo has a sound similar to the German ü sound. With ...
1
vote
3answers
1k 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?
3
votes
1answer
170 views

Algorithm to determine if an “e” in a word is silent

I'm working on a software that requires me to know if an "e" in a word is silent or not. I thought of using Artificial Intelligence and pattern recognition to determine if the "e" is silent. The AI ...
37
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is “cupboard” pronounced with a silent “p”?

According to Google at least, the word "cupboard" originated in late Middle English as denoting a board that held cups. Since then, the word has evolved to mean a kind of cabinet. My question is, ...
2
votes
1answer
854 views

Why is the pronunciation of 'ch' different in chamber and chameleon? [duplicate]

Sometimes ch is pronounced as /k/, as in chorus/chameleon. Sometimes as /tʃ/, as in chamber/chalk. Why is it so?