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Questions tagged [consonants]

Questions about English consonant sounds.

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11 votes
2 answers
978 views

Can American ‘bought’ sometimes sound like ‘bop’?

In American English, I’ve noticed that the word bought sometimes sounds like bop when followed by a word starting with a bilabial consonant, such as [p], [b], or [m]. For example, She bought me a car ...
AehkGuu's user avatar
  • 315
2 votes
1 answer
173 views

American 'n' sound is sometimes retroflex?

In American English fast speech, I observed that the 'n' sound in certain words containing -rn- consonant clusters such as 'learning' and 'burning' appear to be pronounced as a voiced retroflex nasal [...
AehkGuu's user avatar
  • 315
1 vote
0 answers
39 views

American 'd' sound is sometimes retroflex? [duplicate]

In fast-paced American English speech, I've observed that the 'd' sound in certain words containing -rd- consonant clusters such as 'hurdle' and 'border' seems to be pronounced as a voiced retroflex ...
AehkGuu's user avatar
  • 315
4 votes
0 answers
121 views

Assimilation of /ʃ/ to [ɕ] before bunched [ɹ̈]

I noticed an odd phonetic phenomenon in my own speech that I initially assumed was widespread; then I asked @tchrist about it and he seemed to think it was highly unusual, which made me curious. IANAP ...
alphabet's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
1k views

Are there any English words starting with a silent vowel requiring "a" before it (not "an")?

Title says it all. We all know there are instances of the other way around, such as "an hour," but I'm curious if any exist. I couldn't think of any. Like "a orange" if "...
borgsandwich's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
610 views

How did words like rubbish, ribbon and cabbage get "BB"?

Certain words that have double B in Modern English didn't have "BB" in the word they are derived from. Rubbish: "c. 1400, robous, from Anglo-French rubouses" (Etymology Dictionary)...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
337 views

Why does the diphthong /aʊ/ not occur before /k/, /m/, /p/, /b/, /g/ etc?

I have noticed that the diphthong /aʊ/ occurs before certain consonants. We have: /aʊd/ in loud /aʊt/ in out /aʊs/ in house /aʊn/ in town /aʊtʃ/ in pouch /aʊl/ in owl BUT, we don't have /aʊp/, /aʊb/,...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
57 views

Why is "sure" pronounced with a "sh" consonant (voiceless postalveolar fricative [ʃ])? [duplicate]

A recent ELL HNQ post about "sure" put a question in my head: Wait, why is "sure" pronounced the way it is? The initial consonant is a voiceless postalveolar fricative [ʃ] as ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,172
0 votes
1 answer
895 views

Is there a rule why the correct spelling for "Marketing" is not " Marketting"? [duplicate]

I have always assumed that you doubled the consonant when the vowel preceding it is short. bet and betting for example; Why is this different for market and marketing?
Anon's user avatar
  • 191
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why doesn't English employ an H in front of Ares?

While watching the movie The Martian, a question arose regarding the name Ares: Greek Gods were metaphrased into Latin when Romans took over. Ares (from the Greek Άρης) was now named Mars, and so on. ...
gsamaras's user avatar
  • 515
5 votes
1 answer
353 views

Can a plosive consonant in a word be pronounced as an unreleased consonant?

ESL teachers always tell people to suppress the normal release of the consonant "p b k g t d" if it's at the end of a word and the next word also begins with a consonant. But what about words with a ...
Adrian GUO's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

On the velar nasal /ŋ/ sound followed by /k/

I'm a non-native speaker and I have always pronounced all words with syllables ending in 'n' followed by a /k/ sound with the velar nasal /ŋ/. For example: think / increase (v+n) / income / ...
BazAU's user avatar
  • 216
4 votes
2 answers
903 views

Can you link the [ʃ] sound and [s] sound?

How do you pronounce "English Speakers"? Do you treat sh and s as similar consonants?
DamonL's user avatar
  • 81
2 votes
2 answers
973 views

Pronunciation: vowels before dark L (Any accent)

To native speakers of English, how do you compare a vowel before a dark L and one without a dark L. Example words: gold, goal, sold, soul, hole, hold, bowl, bold go, so, ho, bow(noun) . pool, ...
Yordan Grigorov's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
890 views

Is the first syllable of "acknowledge" pronounced with /g/ by any notable amount of speakers?

While I was trying to think of examples for an answer to Vun-Hugh Vaw's question about voicing voiceless consonants in American English, I considered the word "acknowledge", which I think I can ...
herisson's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
436 views

Is the voicing voiceless consonants common in the US?

I don't know if I should trust my non-native ears, but I've heard a couple of people (Katie from CollegeHumor is the first one come to mind) who say "thank you" with a voiced "th" instead of the ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
  • 5,401
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

The pronunciation of "th" in "with" in British RP

I enjoy socialising with people! How do you pronounce “th” in “with”? It’s too confusing for me. When I looked it up in a dictionary, it was with a voiced sound like in "brother or the," but it ...
Cherry Blossom's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
20k views

Is there a word spelled with a silent B at the start?

My dad and I were playing a game in the car where we picked a letter and then each alternated saying a word that started with that letter. We did it with b, for example, it might go: Dad: bath me:...
auden's user avatar
  • 125
0 votes
1 answer
216 views

Glottal stop "t" in English pronunciation [duplicate]

I am a new learner concerning English sounds. Could someone help me? Does the letter t at the end of word but this word being connected with next one, is it also pronounced like a glottal stop? For ...
Alaa Mustafa's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
109 views

What happens phonetically in "words that"?

Could you explain to me what happens from the linguist’s point of view when the sounds meet in the speech?
Logan Xav's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
364 views

Renaissance pronunciation of "thither": θiðr or ðiðr?

I've seen the thread on voiced/unvoiced "thither," but it doesn't quite answer the question. It seems like maybe the word began falling out of regular speech right around the time initial "th" was ...
Marc Adler's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
223 views

does the /d/ in the [nd] combo tend to be unreleased?

I'm asking about north-American English. In words like "refund", "band" and "diamond", is the /d/ is fully released (as an un-aspirated /d/), or stopped, like the /nt/ combo? (different can and ...
David Haim's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is the "ng" sound often pronounced simultaneously with the "n" sound?

Don't native speakers in some regions pronounce [ŋ] simultaneously with the [n] sound in order to connect it without releasing the "g"? For instance, can the word "singer" instead of sɪŋ·ər, be ...
Alex1751's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
1k views

Are "mmm" and "hmm" the only words in the English language without vowel letters? [closed]

Somebody told me that "hmm" and "mmm" are the only words in the English language without a vowel. Is that true? If not, please provide counterexamples. No acronyms please. I am not looking for ...
RichS's user avatar
  • 145
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Silent consonants in words like lawn, dawn [closed]

Is it w or wn?I have no idea,kindly help me out? What about in words like rogue,does ue or u count as silent consonants although they are clearly vowels?
user466377's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why is the word "folks" pronounced [foʊks]?

Why is the word folks sound like it’s pronounced [foʊks] rather than [fɔɫks]? It’s as though people are thinking it’s spelled fokes.
Shimmy Weitzhandler's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

/z/ + /ð/ = /zdð/?

I was wondering what exactly happens when the common English speaker* pronounces /z/ and /ð/ right after, for example , the word - combo "is this ...". Honestly, for me it's almost impossible to ...
David Haim's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
432 views

How do Americans pronounce "it would", "it was", etc.?

How do you pronounce "it would", "it was", etc. in American English? That is, how do you pronounce the T when it precedes a semi-vowel such as "w"? Is there a stop T or ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 616
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Yod coalescence across words - only with "you(r(s))"?

I'm asking specifically about Yod* coalescence when connecting two words together. Some very (neat) phenomenon in American English is to "fuse" you/r/s when the word ends in t/d/z: I was thinking ...
David Haim's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
399 views

Blending Two Individual Words Together That Share the Same Consonant Cluster

I've noticed that this phenomenon is common in fast speech. I have searched and searched on the internet for the official name for this, but I cannot seem to find it. Here are some examples: With ...
user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do dictionaries transcribe the nasal in 'think' and 'language' with /ŋ/, yet 'input' and 'inbox' with /n/, not /m/?

In English, coda nasals assimilate to the following consonant, so 'n' in "in mail" and "own goal" is pronounced with [m] and [ŋ] respectively, right? If so, then why do most dictionaries transcribe ...
Nardog's user avatar
  • 1,852
1 vote
2 answers
213 views

Can the /t/ and /v/ sounds be dropped in "what," "that" and "of"? [closed]

Is it ok to drop the 't' sound in these example: wha that (what that) tha the (that the) & the 'v' (like in the the word 'of') sound matter o fact (mater of fact) of course, to a native ...
user1586's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

About a consonant between 2 vowels, "/ˈteɪ·lər/" or "/ˈteɪl·ər/"?

I found this rule in dictionary. If a consonant is between 2 vowels, then a delimiter is put after the consonant if the previous vowel is strong & but a delimiter is not put after the consonant ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 4,775
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Why are "malign" and "malignant" pronounced differently? [duplicate]

Why are malign and malignant pronounced differently? What is the rule that separates that pattern from, say, sign and signage?
Geoff M's user avatar
  • 11
5 votes
1 answer
8k views

Is the pronunciation of 'th' as in think 'f' specific to a native speaker's variety of English?

I'm asking this because I heard two people say fink* instead of think & bof* instead of both: a non native university teacher of English and a native speaker of English. If it's not a speech ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Name for letter U in words like 'suede' and 'penguin'

What is the letter U called when it says the /w/ sound in words like suede and penguin? I've read that y and w are semivowels but the U in suede and penguin doesn't really conform to the definition of ...
Lexia's user avatar
  • 47
2 votes
3 answers
14k views

Examples of lenition and fortition usage

The latest XKCD comic is titled Intervocalic Fortition. The latest Explain XKCD says: The linguistic processes of lenition ("weakening") and fortition ("strengthening") refer to a sound becoming, ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why isn't the ‘P’ in psychology pronounced? [duplicate]

Why is the initial letter of some of the words like pneumonia, and psychology not pronounced?
Dinesh Joshi's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

What is it called when you use the same first consonant in different words - Example follows [duplicate]

I'm going blank here, so forgive me for what should be simple. The search engines weren't helpful. I tried to search. Example: The finicky felines finished their food. I'm drawing a serious blank ...
h4ckNinja's user avatar
  • 121
78 votes
9 answers
33k views

How is y’all’dn’t’ve pronounced

According to Wikipedia, y’all’dn’t’ve is a valid contraction. I am having difficulty pronouncing the L-D-N-T-V consonant cluster, especially since there is no vowel at the end (silent E). Y’all’dn’t’...
Adám's user avatar
  • 926
4 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why is there a double "ll" in "bell"?

I am trying to understand some of the idiosyncrasies of the English language. One is the use of double consonants. Why does the word bell have two letter L?
Maria's user avatar
  • 41
2 votes
4 answers
2k views

Pronunciation of "to" as [tʃu:]

After doing some research, I have noticed I have been saying the word "to" as [tʃu:], while most dictionaries and sources say I should pronounce it as [tu:]. But I have the impression that "to" is not ...
Rogger Alves's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
320 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 ...
Dam Son's user avatar
  • 31
22 votes
1 answer
9k views

Why is "fridge" spelt with a 'd' but "refrigeration" spelt without one?

The question is in the title, why does the word, refrigeration not have a 'd' in it when fridge does?
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 503
3 votes
3 answers
6k views

Is "question" pronounced with an "s" or with an "sh" sound?

In all dictionaries the word question is pronounced /ˈkwɛst͡ʃən/, with the sound /t͡ʃ/ (like the ch in church) corresponding to the written ‹ti›. I wanted to know if any phonological change happens ...
Englishfreak's user avatar
  • 1,798
3 votes
2 answers
677 views

'Travel' - Place of articulation of /t/

What is a place of articulation which best fits the initial consonant of the word travel? It looks like the first sound is /t/ therefore it should be alveolar, but in the Longman pronunciation coach (...
Dirty Hippy's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
SophArch's user avatar
  • 945
6 votes
3 answers
8k views

L in the middle of a word: dark l or light l?

I find it easy to pronounce words like full (/fʊl/, dark l) and light (/laɪt/, light l), but when the letter l appears in the middle of a word, things become tricky. I can hear different ...
Stan's user avatar
  • 398
2 votes
4 answers
12k views

Why "house" /haʊs/, but "houses" /ˈhaʊzɪz/? "s" changes to "z"?

OK, "house" /haʊs/, but "houses" /ˈhaʊzɪz/ Source Why does "s" changes to "z"? I thought it should be /ˈhaʊsɪz/.
Tom's user avatar
  • 4,775
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

how to pronounce "t's" sound, as in "it's" or "that's"

Currently I'm studying English pronunciation and having a hard time pronouncing the t's sound such as it's and that's. I thought that "t's" sounded the same as the "ch" sound but one of my friend said ...
Umar Aham's user avatar