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

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6
votes
2answers
2k views

Consonant transposition: Why is “Wednesday” pronounced “Wensday”?

It appears like a couple of consonant sounds have been transposed. How, why did that happen?
-4
votes
1answer
65 views

How are new words created? Centuries ago there was no organization that created new words [on hold]

some of the words are so hard to pronounce for me like unequivocal,inadvertently,or entrepreneur, whoever created entrepreneur probably had been drunk with a vibrating tongue.Google is a new word ...
14
votes
3answers
685 views

Why are Leicester & co pronounced as they are?

What is the origin of the pronunciation of words like Leicester, Gloucester, Worcestershire? Presumably, the pronunciation predates the spelling but what is the history here? What language do the ...
-2
votes
1answer
41 views

How does one properly pronounce 'enunciation'? [on hold]

Is enunciation ever pronounced with a 'y' sound at the beginning?
-1
votes
1answer
26 views

What phonetic phenomenon is with /mps/ of the word 'palimpsest'? [on hold]

What phonetic phenomenon is with the sequence of sound /mps/ for the word 'palimpsest'? What's the academic term of that?
34
votes
4answers
5k 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, ...
0
votes
2answers
94 views

Variations in the pronunciation of “the”

Although there are rather simple rules determining the pronunciation of "the", native speakers quite often deviate from these rules (including, e.g., TV shows). According to the Longman Pronunciation ...
5
votes
1answer
158 views

Why are only some “u” words pronounced with a glide in American English?

In most words with a long U that doesn't start a syllable, it is pronounced /uː/. Examples: student, reduce, introduce. However, in some words (such as music, mule, human) it is pronounced /juː/. I've ...
1
vote
2answers
193 views

The proper way to say “Mocha” the coffee drink

I have noticed that most of the time when I go to Starbucks and order a mocha, the cashier doesn't seem to understand unless I repeat it. I am trying to think why is that the case since it is a very ...
4
votes
2answers
148 views

Where do people pronounce “ank” as /eŋk/ vs. /æŋk/?

Let's use "bank" as an example. Some Americans pronounce it /bæŋk/, using the vowel of TRAP. Others pronounce it /beŋk/, using the vowel of FACE. Where are these two pronunciations found?
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Pronunciation of “nomenclature”

"Nomenclature". OED has two pronunciations for it: nə(ʊ)ˈmɛŋklətʃə (nuh-men-cla-cher) and ˈnəʊmənˌkleɪtʃə (nomen-clay-cher) I use the former of the two, albeit without any real reason. ...
32
votes
8answers
32k views

Is “forte” pronounced “fort” or “for-tay”?

I've always heard people say something like "Pronunciation is not my [for-tay]" ... but I feel that I've heard that the correct pronunciation is "Confusing people is my [fort]" What is the ...
10
votes
4answers
608 views

Are there any words in English pronounced with /e/ at the end?

In first-language English pronunciation (Australian, British, American, etc., not Indian, Malaysian, etc.) are there any words with the /e/ (or /ɛ/) sound in "bed" /bed/ at the end of a word? As a ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Linking confusion

I just want to ask a quick question that is confused to me, in the verb phrase: "picked out". When I link these words together, I say "pick tout". However, my English teacher told me that is not ...
5
votes
1answer
4k 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.
0
votes
1answer
84 views

What is a good way to learn about words whose pronunciations are very different from how they are spelt

It is embarrassing to be caught mispronouncing an aphonetic(?) word whose pronunciation is not intuitive. Are there any comprehensive word lists (may be the 5000 popular words that are commonly ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

What's this? What is it? Pronunciation constraints

Can anyone give a cogent, simply described explanation of why the verb BE in: What is it? ... doesn't seem to be able to be contracted with the subject: What's it? * Compare the sentences ...
9
votes
4answers
868 views

Is there any shorter pronunciation of W than double-U?

When spelling, every letter in the Alphabet is pronounced by a single syllable, with the only exception of W being pronounced "double-U". (Fun fact, in German it's approximately pronounced like the ...
8
votes
3answers
8k 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
3answers
8k 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 ...
64
votes
11answers
18k views

When should I use “a” vs “an”?

In the following example, is it appropriate to use a or an as the indefinite article, and why? He ate __ green apple. I know that in the case of just "apple", it would be "an apple," but I've ...
5
votes
10answers
11k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
164 views

Difference between IPA ɚ, ɹ, and ɝ

Wanting to be more Californian and trying to correct my accent, I'm looking at the sound for mother, in the North America column. What is the difference between IPA symbols for ɚ, ɹ, and ɝ. (ɝ is not ...
2
votes
2answers
528 views

What pronunciation does Google dictionary use?

I generally use the "define" Google search tool to find what a word means, and how it should be pronounced correctly. Unlike websites like thefreedictionary.com, Google doesn't tell you what ...
12
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is “women” pronounced the way it is?

As far as I know, it is the only word where wo is pronounced as wee. What is the reason for this? Does it have to do with the origin of the word?
5
votes
5answers
9k 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
vote
2answers
119 views

How do you pronounce 'vegan'?

Theoretically, there are four possible pronunciations of 'vegan' due to two syllables constituting this word, namely, 've'('vee' or 'vay'?) and 'gan'('gun' or 'gen' as in 'generate'?). The online ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Pronunciation of “influence” [closed]

What's the correct pronunciation of "influence"? Specifically, which syllable is stressed? I always thought it was INfluence, but recently I heard it pronounced inFLUence by some people. Which one is ...
49
votes
4answers
15k views

In the word “Scent”, is the S or the C silent?

So I saw a post on a funny pictures site... "In the word "Scent", is the S or the C silent?" And I thought I could ask about it here. In particular, how does the pronunciation of "scent" differ ...
7
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
370 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"?
0
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
12
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a rule for the correct pronunciation of words starting with “ex”?

The following words are pronounced starting with an iks / igz: extent [ɪkˈstent] expect [ɪk'spekt] exterminate [ɪk'stɜːmɪneɪt] external [ɪkˈstɜːn(ə)l] exhaust [ɪg'zɔːst] examine [ɪg'zæmɪn] ...
57
votes
11answers
26k views

When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?

A basic grammar rule is to use an instead of a before a vowel sound. Given that historic is not pronounced with a silent h, I use “a historic”. Is this correct? What about heroic? Should be “It was a ...
13
votes
2answers
33k views

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

Why is the letter l silent when pronouncing salmon properly?
1
vote
3answers
317 views

Why are “some” letters silent in English? [closed]

There are many such words that we all know about, but please explain why the makers of the English language made up words with silent letters?
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Literary and colloquial readings in English?

Some Chinese languages have the concept of Literary and colloquial readings, where the pronunciation of words, if you will, change between literary readings and vernacular readings. Does English have ...
14
votes
6answers
4k views

What is the commonly accepted pronunciation of FAQ?

I hear FAQ(s) pronounced like a word in "FACK(s)", while I go letter by letter. In usage, what is more common? (Similar to SQL vs Sequel)
1
vote
0answers
45 views

How is cereal pronounced? [closed]

Which of the following ways is cereal (as in breakfast cereal) pronounced? Serial, as in a serial number or Se-real, where the "ce" is "se", not "see" (short "e").
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Recommended pronunciation of international English for foreigners

There are some differences in the pronunciation of English in USA and in UK. Furthermore, there are differences in the pronunciation in different areas of the same country. Examples: "go" is ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Nasalization in IPA

I am learning IPA to learn the English pronunciation. When "n" is inserted after a vowel and it is not followed by another vowel, how to know if /n/ is pronounced or it is only a mark to nasalize the ...
4
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does “contrary” have two different pronunciations?

I have the impression all Anglophones pronounce contrary with stress on the second syllable (cont-RARE-ee) when applied to a person's actions or disposition, as in: Mary Mary quite contrary, How ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

What determines the pronunciation of the prefix 'arch-'? [duplicate]

In the case of an archbishop, or archvillian it is pronounced arch. In the case of archetype, it is prounounced ark-e-type In the case of an archenemy I think you would say ark - enemy Is it simply ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

What's with the 'heigth' pandemic?

Recently I've noticed that many people are pronouncing the word 'height' as /haiθ/ That's right, heigth. I've only ever heard this pronunciation mistake in the last few years. Maybe it's just ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Pronunciation of “butcher” [closed]

I was born in the East Midlands where we say “coop of tea” instead of “cap of tea”, and we sit on “grass” rather than “grarse”. I've been arguing with some Londoners about how to pronounce the word ...
0
votes
3answers
55 views

some questions about pronunciation [closed]

I notice that some words have the same prefix but are pronounced differently; for example: precision, preference, prescription, etc. Are there rules about pronunciation that you apply when you find a ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Are actors taught to roll their “r”'s?

A particularly prominent example of a rolled r user is the actor Jeremy Brett, who played "Sherlock Holmes" in the 1980s Granada adaptations. I've noticed that several other actors, especially from ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

How to pronounce meijer [closed]

There is a supermarket called Meijer near my house, how do you pronounce 'Meijer' ? Does it sound like 'mire' ?