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/ˈkwestʃən/ or /ˈkwesʃən/ or both? The dictionary says that it should be pronounced like "kwes+chun", but our teacher says "kwes-shun", and insists that both pronounciations are acceptable. He does the same for "suggestion". Is that really true?

  • Actually, a very similar question was asked earlier, but it didn't mention [ˈkwesʃən]: How to pronounce 'question' – sumelic Feb 5 '18 at 7:58
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    If one has consumed a mild overdose of ethanol, your teacher's pronunciation may be appropriate. Do not drive or operate machinery while speaking this way, however. – Rob_Ster Feb 5 '18 at 11:41
  • @sumelic That post didn't have a decent answer, so I've rectified that with a Wiki one. The wrong answer at the top needs downvoting. – Araucaria Feb 5 '18 at 14:43
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I'm a native english speaker with a slight east London accent. I pronounce it kwes-chun, as do most people I work with.

I have only heard question pronounced kwes-shun after the speaker has consumed vast amounts of alcohol and is slurring their words. Additionally, posher accents are more clipped and it can sound like kwes-tee-un, same as kwes-chun but with less "ch".

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In all standard dialects of English, question is pronounced /ˈkwɛs tʃən/.

The closest case to pronouncing question with the sh-sound rather than the ch would be how some speakers drop the t-sound in actual so it's pronounced /ˈæk ʃu əl/. This is simply one unvoiced stop (t) assimilating to another (k).

Speakers of AAVE (African American Vernacular English) often drop final-t in words like breakfast, so if quest is pronounced ques', then que-shun shouldn't be far behind.

Be that as it may, the standard pronunciation of question still obtains, regardless of what you're teacher says, and it isn't /ˈkwɛs ʃən/ or /ˈkwɛ ʃən/.

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    The LPD, the phoneticians gold standard of pronunciation dictionaries, gives both /ˈkweʃʧən/ and /'kwestjən/ as common alternative standard pronunciations of question. – Araucaria Feb 5 '18 at 14:42

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