Questions about vowels in English.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
1answer
233 views

Pronunciation of “great” vs. “treat” [closed]

Why is great pronounced /greit/ while in other words the ea is pronounced differently? Take treat, for example: /tri:t/. Why are two words with the same number of vowels and consonants and the same ...
-3
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there are more vowels in the American English than in British? [closed]

car, father, jarring ■ man, lad, mast A British guy would pronounce the vowel "a" equally in all these words. But an American would give one sound for the first three words, and the other ...
-1
votes
1answer
142 views

Pronunciation of 'Commentary'

I hear sometimes a longer version (reading fully the ending '-tary), and other times a version as if ending in '-try'. Why is that? Are these choices a matter of dialect? What other examples can be ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

What is THE shortest English verb?

I have heard that two letter verbs are the shortest verbs in English. Is this totally true? Are any of the letters official recognized as verbs?
-1
votes
1answer
652 views

Pronunciation of “Oceania” in British English

How is Oceania properly pronounced in British English? Is it /ˌəʊʃɪˈɑːnɪə/, or /ˌəʊʃɪˈɑːnə/? I know a lot of people who use the latter, but I have always been taught the former.
1
vote
1answer
264 views

Why are we supposed to say the “a” as an “e” in “any” and “many”?

I speak Australian English, but I seem to pronounce the words many and anything differently from how the vast majority of people here do so. I pronounce it using an a sound rather than an e sound ...
1
vote
1answer
886 views

How to pronounce '-ing' followed by a vowel

I'm getting into English recently and I'm a little confused by the way people pronounce a word that starts in a vowel right after a word ending in -ing. For example: You have to bring it up now? ...
0
votes
1answer
192 views

“Boneular” vs. “bonular” [closed]

My knowledge in morphology and orthography is lacking. I would like to know how to spell the neologism boneular, from bone (or Backbone, a programming library used for creating Web applications) and ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the most common letters used in pairs after others in the English alphabet? [closed]

I have a question which is somewhat similar to What are the most common consonants used in English? (on wikiHow). What are the most common seven letters that come second in pairs after consonants and ...
-2
votes
1answer
3k views

“Bazaar” vs. “bazar”

Which of bazaar or bazar is better to use for the domain name of specialised marketplace? Both are available according to the dictionaries. Any advice which of these two is better to use in the URL? ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

difference between American and British /ӕ/ sound

When I presented British /ӕ/ sound to three Korean English-familiar persons online - they are doing answering English-related questions activities [case 1; case 2], and asked what sound it’s like /ӕ/ ...
5
votes
1answer
7k views

What exactly is the “schwa” sound?

What exactly is the "schwa" sound? As a non-native speaker, I hear this sound as not being a pure and clean sound. I mean I know that every vowel sound may vary depending on whether the syllable is ...
0
votes
3answers
543 views

Coining new words from existing ones: Duplicate last letter?

I am trying to invent a word by taking an existing word and turning it into a noun a person can be called who is interacting with an object. The trouble I ran into was the initial word's ending. ...
1
vote
2answers
716 views

What is the i with a dot on top and dot on bottom called?

I was watching a foreign film and I saw a "i" with a dot on the top as usual and a dot on the bottom. What is it called and is there a way I can find it and type it? More details: It was a ...
3
votes
1answer
231 views

What is modifying the “i” in Thumbelina and Carolina to alter its pronuciation?

While helping my daughter read (she is 5) we encountered two names in a story, Thumbelina and Carolina. The way I've come to pronounce the last four letters of "Thumbelina" is "LEE NAH" and the same ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Can we call something a “word” if it doesn't have a vowel? [closed]

It seems self-evident to me, but in the heat of a Scrabble game (no surprise), my opponent claimed that "sh" was a word. I think it's a diphthong, but the printed dictionary definition of "word" ...
5
votes
0answers
74 views

Why do you write “receive” with “ei” but “retrieve” with “ie”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it true that “I before E, except after C”? Both words are similar in pronunciation but different in spelling. Why is it that receive is written with ei but ...
0
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

What do the letters ï and ô mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the distinction between “role” and “rôle” [with a circumflex]? What is the significance of the “ô” character in “rôle” in this work? What is the standard rule ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Long vs. short vowels in English words of Latin origin

Is there any way to determine if a vowel is short or long in English words of Latin origin? I've noticed that u is usually long in Latin words (e.g., Jupiter) but what about other vowels?
7
votes
1answer
860 views

Sound changes of “wild” and “wilderness”

I'm having a heated a discussion with a friend and we cannot really get on the same level. In the original pronunciation of the word wild, the "i" was the short sound that we have in the word ...
4
votes
2answers
878 views

Pronunciation of Bank, Tank, etc.: Bay-nk, Ray-nk or Baen-k or Raen-k?

What is the standard US pronunciation for words such as the following: Bank Rank At least in my dialect of US English (Inland Northern), the following seem like close transcriptions: Bank: ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Words using all possible vowels [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a word that contains all the vowels? Is there a word in English that contains the 5 letters that are exclusively vowels (a, e, i, o, u) as well as the 3 letters ...
35
votes
9answers
16k 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

Pronunciation of “catch”

I was curious about the different pronunciations of the word catch; more specifically, the difference between /kætʃ/ and /kɛtʃ/. The Oxford dictionary lists both pronunciations as correct; is this ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Pronunciation of “Nevada” [closed]

People in the state of Nevada insist that it should be pronounced /nəˈvædə/ (with the vowel of TRAP)—this "issue" always comes up during campaigns—while much of the country typically pronounces it ...
8
votes
3answers
32k views

Is it “flotation” or “floatation”?

Is the difference between flotation and floatation a US/UK difference or something else? I think I did see floatation in some physics book.
2
votes
1answer
230 views

Waiteen for waiting

While it's reasonably common for people to drop the g in words such as waiting, hating, and dating, I seem to be stumbling upon a number of Americans additionally drawing out the final syllable of ...
4
votes
5answers
93k views

How do we differentiate long vowels from short vowels in English

I was finding a school for my toddler. I saw this new theory called long vowels and short vowels The teacher talk about apple, which she read something like "eiple" and the hat, which she claims use ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
12k views

Any rule for pronouncing “e”?

I hear three different sounds for the letter e in precious, bean, and Peru. Is there a rule that covers the different pronunciations that a written letter e can represent in speech?
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is “go” spelled with the same vowel as “do” and “to” since it is pronounced differently?

These two-letter words ending in -o are pronounced with the vowel /oʊ/: bo, go ho, jo, lo, no, so, and yo whereas do and to are pronounced with the vowel /uː/. Is there an explanation for the ...
4
votes
4answers
79k views

How Many Diphthongs Are There In English?

I was talking to a person who said that there were only two. I think she said that the "ou" in house is one of the two. I told her that the way the letter "i" is pronounced is a diphthong, and she ...
11
votes
2answers
51k views

Is “imbedded” a valid spelling of the word “embedded”?

I have seen this used on our marketing materials: The technology imbedded in this solution will help improve productivity. I was going to flag it as a spelling error, however Googling provided ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Do Americans pronounce “Ellen” and “Alan” in the same way?

Do Americans pronounce "Ellen" and "Alan" in the same way? I am especially concerned with the first vowel. EDIT: Here is a quote that may be a case in point: Being a Brit also, the names "Ellen" ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is it 'speaking'/'speech' instead of 'speeking'/'speech' or 'speaking'/'speach'?

Why is it speaking/speech instead of speeking/speech or speaking/speach?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Distinctive features of English diphthongs

I am looking for a table of distinctive features for English dipthongs along the lines of that available for other vowels here. I don't trust my purely book learned linguistic skills to produce an ...
2
votes
3answers
845 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?
10
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
659 views

Can vowels be combined in English without forming diphthongs?

Usually all combinations of vowels in English function as diphthongs. Are there any combinations of vowels in English that do not function as diphthongs? if there are no such examples - I would be ...
4
votes
2answers
23k views

Longest English word without a vowel sound

I am not an English student, by discipline I am physicist, so am asking this question in innocence. I searched Google for the longest word without a vowel sound and I get these results: The ...
2
votes
2answers
210 views

“Vowels have no attack”

What is the linguistic meaning of this sentence? Vowels are always voiced, and have no attack of their own.
7
votes
2answers
881 views

Where did “sorry” get its vowel sound?

Sorry has two pronunciations in my dictionary: ˈsärē and ˈsôrē. The first is the one I am interested in because, as someone pointed out to me, the or pattern in English is nearly always pronounced as ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the overlap between “Y” and “I”?

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 ...
15
votes
4answers
7k views

Pronunciation of “er” in “farmer” vs. “earth”

I'm confused about the difference in pronouncing "er" in words such as "farmer" and "earth". I hear them the same, but they have different phonetic symbols. Is there any difference in pronouncing "er" ...
11
votes
3answers
15k views

Why doesn't “ninth” have an “e”, like “ninety”?

Is it just because "ninth" has only one syllable? That wouldn't make sense, though, because saying "NINE-ith" wouldn't be worse than saying "NINE-e-tee". If we were used to "nineth", we would have ...
3
votes
2answers
424 views

Why do “able” and “haste” have long a's?

(There are others, such as table, paste, and baste.) The rule I've heard is that a vowel is made long when succeeded by a consonant and then another vowel. Some words treat double consonants as a ...
1
vote
0answers
73 views

“An” versus “a” before a bracketed word that starts with a vowel followed by a non-bracketed word that doesn't start with a vowel [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement Which of the following is right/preferred: The request is fulfilled by an (ideally) close by node. or ...
2
votes
2answers
15k views

Are W and Y vowels? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: When is “Y” a vowel? Is the 'w' in 'cow' a vowel or a consonant? Are W and Y vowels? I learned it depends on the conditions. But I don't ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Is the 'w' in 'cow' a vowel or a consonant?

Is the w in cow a vowel or a consonant? Assuming it is considered a vowel, would it likewise be so in how? I learned that the vowels are "a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y." If w can be a vowel, what ...