Questions tagged [consonants]

Questions about English consonants.

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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)...
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1 answer
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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/,...
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3 votes
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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 ...
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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?
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11 votes
3 answers
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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. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
955 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 / ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Can you link the [ʃ] sound and [s] sound?

How do you pronounce "English Speakers"? Do you treat sh and s as similar consonants?
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2 votes
2 answers
638 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, ...
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3 votes
2 answers
532 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 ...
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2 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
14k 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:...
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1 answer
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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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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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?
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1 answer
328 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1 vote
4 answers
885 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 ...
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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?
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3 answers
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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.
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8 votes
1 answer
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/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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
307 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
369 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
956 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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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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?
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4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
819 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 ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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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, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
3k 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?
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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 ...
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75 votes
9 answers
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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’...
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4 votes
2 answers
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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?
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2 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
314 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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22 votes
1 answer
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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?
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3 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
570 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 (...
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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 ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
4 answers
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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/.
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0 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Pronunciation Deleting /t/ Between Consonants [duplicate]

When I pronounce the phrase: "Look, it's the first day. I don't wanna be late." I think that the /t/ in the words "first" and "don't" can be deleted. Am I right? I'm talking about casual speech. ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
10k views

unreleased final consonant sounds [closed]

At school I learned the unreleased final consonant sounds: b, d, d, k, p, t My first question is, what does unreleased mean in this context? My second question He played well and ran fast. ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Linking: Sibilant with Other Sibilants (was + starting) [duplicate]

I read in an American Accent book that there is no break between sibilants adjoining each other between words. For example, this phrase: I was starting to worry. The words was + starting sound ...
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14 votes
1 answer
73k views

When are 'tion', 'sion', and 'cion' used

I am confused when the spellings "tion", "sion", and "cion" are used in words that contain the "shun" sound. Are there any rules to help me understand when to use the correct spelling in a word?
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6 votes
4 answers
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Are there many -tion words that sound like 'vision'?

Usually -tion words, such as motion, education, and lotion, end with a -shn sound. But equation ends with a sound rhyming with vision. Are there many more? What might some of them be? And if the ...
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