I always fear my conversation sounds like this:
— What would you like to drink, sir?
— I will take some cock, thanks.
Any tips on how to pronounce Coke so it is not mistaken for anything? :)
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Coke is pronounced /kəʊk/ in British English and /koʊk/ in American English. Cock is pronounced /kɒk/ in British English and /kɑk/ in American English.
As you can see, it is the vowel sounds that are different. The two sounds are distinguished in two ways: (1) by one being a diphthong and the other being a monophthong, (the vowel sound changes quality in a diphthong and remains stable in a monophthong), and (2) the position of the tongue is different. The “long O” sound of Coke is a diphthong, whereas the “short O” sound of cock is a monophthong, and it is pronounced with the tongue in a lower position. Here is a vowel diagram for British English:
As you can see the vowel sound of Coke starts with the tongue in the position for /ə/, which is in a middle neutral position, and it moves up and slightly back to the position for /ʊ/. The vowel sound of cock, on the other hand, is pronounced with the tongue very low and very far back in the mouth, and it doesn’t move during the production of the sound. The differences in American English are similar.
Here is a page discussing all the pairs of words in English that differ only by these sounds, which suggests that this sound pair is a frequent difficulty for non-native speakers of English. I would suggest looking up those word pairs in an online dictionary, like Merriam-Webster and listening carefully to the recordings for each pair of words to hear the differences between them.
What would you like to drink, sir? — I will take some cock, thanks.
Maybe it's the "take" as well. "I'd like a coke" or something.
Sorry but it's very difficult to teach pronunciation via typing words into a computer so it's hard to make a suggestion, except if you exaggerate the vowel enough "coke" will not sound anything like "cock" to a native speaker.
is a list of minimal pairs for this vowel pair.
I can see how this can be a problem...
The difference between cock and coke is this (at least the best I can do in writing):
the "o" in c*o*ck is an "open" O. (your lips are pretty opened when you pronounce it : "r*o*ck", "s*o*ccer", "c*o*ffee"...)
the "o" in c*o*ke is more complicated. It's the combination of two sounds : a "closed" o (lips almost closed, not used a lot by itself in the english language) immediately followed by a "u" sound ("t*o* d*o*", "p*ooh*", "L*ou*isiana"...)
For future reference, the sound of the "o" in "c*o*ke" is the same as these : "r*o*se", c*o*de, cr*o*w, gr*o*w, rainb*o*w, cl*o*se, wind*o*w...
EDIT : You shouldn't say "I'll take a coke", you should say "I'll have a coke". Take isn't used properly and it adds misunderstanding to the mispronunciation.
Everyone is giving detailed, technical answers. How about I give you a mental substitution for the word instead? Think of the spelling as Coak or Coh-k instead. Make sure it's a long "o" pronounced like "oh". That should fix the issue once you practice using it. It took me a long time to stop pronouncing Aqua (ah-coo-wah) as Akwa (ak-wah), so I sort of understand your issue.