Questions about vowels in English.

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3answers
3k views

How to pronounce “aa” vowel pair? [on hold]

The word in question is "thraal", a species from the Dr. Who universe (http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Thraal) and coincidentally also a species from the Transformers universe ...
1
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0answers
38 views

Phonograms ey and ie

My son is using Spalding phonogram cards in his kindergarten class. I like them for the most part, aside from a few weird examples and explanations that aren't quite right, but that I can live with. ...
0
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2answers
2k 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.
20
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5answers
3k views

New Zealand pronunciation of “women” vs “woman”

I have read in a number of places that the NZ pronunciation of "women" must be rather peculiar. Quoting from just one such place: For some years I've noted the tendency of Kiwis to pronounce ...
2
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6answers
105 views

Polysyllabic Words

Can you list a few polysyllabic words that only have one vowel (not including y, since it is viewed as a vowel in some words)?
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1answer
60 views

Why do people write “Hellooo” instead of “Heeello” to show a prolonged sound? [closed]

I'm not a native English speaker, so I don't know what to search for on Google and similar. In chats I often read words like 'helloooo', or 'sureeee'. And as I understood it, it's meant to mimic the ...
11
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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 ...
4
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4answers
146 views

What is the use of “w” as Semi-vowel?

In English alphabet, there are five (5) Vowels- a, e, i, o and u. And there are two (2) more letters- y and w, which are called Semi-Vowels. In the word "cry", y is considered as Semi-vowel. So, ...
0
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0answers
42 views

Is Lana's “Yup!” a triphthong?

At some point in the Archer series, Lana starts saying very emphatic Yup!s. I was recently wondering about triphthongs and whether they occur in English, and found the Wikipedia entry had only a few ...
0
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1answer
51 views

Why “a UAE offical” and not “an UAE official”? [duplicate]

Per http://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/58121/want-to-verify-uae-visa/58124#comment119149_58124 I should've used "a UAE official" but I thought U is a vowel and before vowels "an" is used. Where ...
3
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0answers
58 views

Why is w considered a consonant? [duplicate]

I've always been taught that the character "w" in English was a consonant, except in very specific cases. However, on a recent trip to Wales, I learned that in Welsh it was considered a vowel. And ...
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2answers
6k views

Participle of “center/centre” in UK English — “centring”? Seriously? [closed]

As an American, I was never shocked to see the word "center" spelled as "centre." It didn't bother me at all. Honestly. But then I saw the participle of it spelled as "centring" as opposed to ...
14
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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 ...
25
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6answers
34k views

When is “Y” a vowel?

In school we are taught the vowels: A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y. Today's XKCD got me thinking about when the letter Y is considered to be a vowel. I understand (perhaps incorrectly) that in ...
0
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0answers
44 views

Proper pronunciation of the short a

When I hear the "short a" vowel pronounced it doesn't seem as fronted as it should. (I'm talking about the vowel found in words such as bad, lamp, clam, crash, usually transcribed with /æ/ in the IPA, ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Last names that are English words with an extra 'e'

I noticed that there are a lot of last names that have an 'e' at the end. The pronunciation usually isn't changed from that of the base word. Poole Steele Browne Clarke Why do English words not ...
1
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2answers
123 views

“Hwyl” - Is the letter “Y” counted as a vowel in this case?

While reading the answers and comments of When is "Y" a vowel? I thought of a few other words that seem to have "w" as a vowel but am not sure. In addition to "cwm" there is also "crwth" and ...
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8answers
6k views

The + vowel letter

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 ...
5
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1answer
3k views
2
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5answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
186 views

Roman alphabet vowel arrangement [duplicate]

Is there any significance to the pattern we get when the Roman alphabet (upon which English is based) is arranged by giving vowels a "lead" column (which I hope you will be able to see as a grid)? ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

How do you look up what lexical set a word belongs to?

(I mean phonological lexical sets, if that wasn't clear.) How do you look up what lexical set a word is in? Is there any sort of open database anywhere? Like, say I have the LOT/CLOTH merger, and I ...
0
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1answer
102 views

Are there any words with a hard “C” preceeding an 'I' in words starting with “ci”?

Are there any English words that are pronounced with a hard "keh" sound as their first syllable, and begin with the two letters 'ci' in their spelling? I ask purely out of curiosity, since I was ...
0
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0answers
70 views

What is 'MSTRKRFT' kind of stylistic notation?

Sometimes you see in popular culture the stylistic notation of removing the vowels. For example the electronic music duo MSTRKRFT; or an instagram tag bhnhfsvrtl (German ''Bahnhofsviertel'' for ''area ...
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1answer
202 views

Phonics, the letter “I” and its rules

Logo/Linguaphiles, I am in need of your guidance. What were you taught when it came to phonics of words that start with the letter "I"? When is a short/long "I" sound used and what are the rules ...
3
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1answer
132 views

Why are there two sets of vowels in English? [closed]

I'm a native Spanish speaker and I've been learning English for many years. They always taught us that there are two sets of vowels and we learned how to use them mostly by reading and practicing, no ...
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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? ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Are there any other English syllables without vowels, besides “thm”?

As far as I knew*, all English syllables have a vowel sound and all of them are spelled accordingly, except for "thm" as in rhythm and algorithm. Are there any others? And are there any etymological ...
0
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0answers
197 views

Words Listed by Vowel Sound

I'm working on a libretto for a vocal composition which makes use of vowel formants. It's important that all of the singers can produce exactly the same vowel sound, so I'm using IPA symbols. I'm ...
5
votes
1answer
160 views

Is /æ/ sound always same?

I have an issue with /æ/ sound. There is no such vowel sound in my native language, which is Russian, so it's quite problematic for me to master this sound. The main problem is I can't even HEAR it as ...
5
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
0
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1answer
156 views

Great Vowel Shift reversed. Is it appropriate? In what region this accent is typical? [closed]

I have been just pointed out that Google translator's GB English speaker pronounces vowels quite differently from the language standard. I made a comparison with Lingvo Online dictionary, which has ...
5
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0answers
73 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 ...
9
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2answers
513 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
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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 ...
0
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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 ...
0
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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 ...
35
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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 ...
1
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2answers
2k 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?
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2answers
3k 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 ...
7
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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?
23
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3answers
2k views

Why do written English vowels differ from other Latin-based orthographies?

Written English vowels differ from other Latin-based orthographies. Consider what the written vowels in the romance languages represent. Also, for example, consider this simple comparision between a ...
3
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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 ...
1
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1answer
262 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 ...
3
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1answer
416 views

Are vowels most often pronounced long or short?

English vowels can have two (or more, many more) different pronunciations: A : /eɪ/, mate or /ɑː/, mat E : /i:/, mete or /ɛ/, met I : /aɪ/, mite or /I/, mitt O : /oʊ/, mote or /ɒ/, moth U : ...
3
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1answer
123 views

How do Brits pronounce [ee] in “queen” differently to [i] in “pita”?

This explanation of Welsh pronunciation says Welsh u is pronounced like i in pita, whereas Welsh i is pronounced like ee in Queen. What's the difference?
5
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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 ...
8
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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.
7
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1answer
894 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 ...
2
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2answers
6k 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 ...