Questions tagged [phonetics]

Phonetics (pronounced /fəˈnɛtɪks/, from the Greek: φωνή, phōnē, 'sound, voice') is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign.

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56 views

Is “prolongation of nasalization” ocurring in English?

I am wondering if the same phenomenon occurs in English, as described here in Spanish: https://spanish.stackexchange.com/q/37916/11155. Q: Why did the Latin coemeterium change into cementerio* in ...
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Is there a word/term for how pleasant a word is to pronounce?

I am familiar with euphony and phonaesthetics, but these both seem to focus more on how pleasant a sound is to hear/perceive. I think there is a subtle difference between this and how pleasant it ...
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How Was “Feast” Pronounced in Early Modern English?

In Romeo and Juliet, Capulet delivers a speech to Paris about his consent for him to court Juliet. With the exception of the first three lines, his speech would follow a coupled rhyme scheme... 16 ...
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Are /t, p, k/ aspirated when they are at the start of a syllable after another syllable that ends in /s/?

In English (native speakers' speech), voiceless plosives such as /t/, /p/ and /k/ are produced with a strong burst of air when they are in the start of a syllable before a vowel. That is called "...
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Why the “oo” in “noon” is pronounced sounding like “you” while the word “moon” isn't? [closed]

I was taught to pronounce the oo in either afternoon or noon as /u:/ ~~the oo in nook~~ until I found some native speakers pronounce the noon sounding like new-n (videos). But the AmE IPA in the ...
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2answers
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“Superhands” vs “Super Hans” pronunciation

I've been watching Peep Show and I just discovered on the internet that the guy I thought was named "Superhands" is actually called "Super Hans". Is it normal to confuse these two ...
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1answer
491 views

Does [z] + [j] equal [ ʒ ]?

Could it be that sometimes the voiced alveolar sibilant [z] at the end of a syllable merges with a following palatal approximant [j] to produce a voiced postalveolar sibilant [ʒ]? Bob Dylan clearly ...
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1answer
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phonetics of certain words with “i”

I have from time to time noticed the different pronunciations of some words like civilization and organization where the "i" phonetically sounds like "aay". It is more clear in ...
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Why is the zh (ʒ) sound so infrequent in English?

I've always heard that the "zh" (ʒ) sound (e.g. in "vision", "usually") was an uncommon sound in the English language. A quick Google search returns multiple results (...
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1answer
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Could you help me solve this phonetic riddle?

From the position for normal breathing, you move your soft palate upwards and shut off the nasal cavity. Then you round your lips, leaving a rather close air passage there, and at the same time, you ...
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Chronology of the cot-caught merger

The cot-caught merger often coexists with the father-bother merger. Although it can be found in regions like Eastern New England, which lacks the second merger, the other dialects exhibiting the ...
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Why doesn't the T of “lunatic” flap in American English?

I have never heard the T of "lunatic" become flap in American English. You can also listen to the data from Youglish. Compare "janitor" /ˈdʒænəɾɚ/ (Cambridge Dictionary gives /...
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English dialect/accent that switches out the letter “p” with a voiceless bilabial trill (ʙ̥)

Just to clarify the title: not sure if this dialect always switches the "p" out with the "ʙ̥". For example, if the p is in the beginning of word, maybe this doesn't happen. Also, I'...
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The “Elephant and Apple” - Phonetical Spelling of NY(C) with normal letters [closed]

Some toponyms change over time: Be it by pronunciation (Los Angeles, New Orleans) or by changing the wording/spelling to either make more sense to the speaker (the London district "Elephant and ...
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1answer
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What does a bracketed sound mean in the IPA transcription of a word?

I noticed that some words have a bracketed sound in their transcriptions in some dictionaries, for example, see the following from Lexico: locate - /lə(ʊ)ˈkeɪt/ open - /ˈəʊp(ə)n/ (I assume here the ...
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1answer
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Why do Southerners pronounce “naked” differently?

I was watching a TV show and this guy from Tennessee pronounces naked as /'nekɪd/, without the diphthong /eɪ/ in the first syllable, and instead pronounced as a single /e/ vowel. Dictionary ...
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1answer
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This RP accent makes me confused and mad

I'm trying to choose between RP and my current conventional accents/pronunciations. For already two weeks I've been looking for some proves that RP is worth something and it's well-accepted everywhere....
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How is /ɑ:/ realized in British English: [ɑː] or more relaxed than [ɑː]?

I know that /ɑː/ is open back unrounded vowel and is found a lot in British English. It is the vowel in bath, father, bar, car etc in British English. In American English, this vowel is found in bar, ...
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What is the name of the category that describes all the ways a number can be read?

Written numbers can be read aloud in multiple different ways: Nominal numbers can be read by pronouncing each digit individually: "My phone number is 123456" read as "one, two, three......
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Is there any rule for determining which is the more preferable pronunciation for a word with different pronunciation

"Association" is pronounced as either /əˌsəʊsiˈeɪʃ(ə)n/ Or /əˌsoʊʃiˈeɪʃən/ What I am focusing on in this example is the middle sound /ʃ/ -sh- which is made with ⟨ci⟩. Something came to my ...
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Why is “that” unaccented in some sentences like “We knew that the next day would be difficult.” and not in others?

I don't understand why in some words, the word "that" is accented, such as in "it isn’t that urgent." and not in "We knew that the next day would be difficult". Could ...
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How shall the word “biology” be interpreted, if no English word can start with two stressed syllables?

I am little confused over this matter; the teacher has stated that no English word can start with two stressed syllables and that you understand a syllable is stressed when it's not reduced to a schwa ...
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2answers
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The strange pronunciations of “assume”

Just a curious question: Why is "assume" pronounced so funny by many native speakers? I can't think of any other word where "ss" is pronounced like that. A bit hard to explain via ...
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Birth of a universe vs birth of an universe [duplicate]

Which is the correct usage from the following two sentences? Birth of a universe Birth of an universe
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Is the /p/ aspirated in /pr/ combination in the beginning of a stressed syllable?

In English the /p/ is generally aspirated (produced with a strong burst of air) when it comes in the start of a stressed syllable. For example, the /p/ in "pin" is aspirated (produced with a ...
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1answer
134 views

How were 'eyes' and '-ies' pronounced in Shakespeare's times? [duplicate]

Reading through 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' I've noticed that Shakespeare repeatedly rhymed 'eyes' with some of the words ending with '-ies' (e.g. 'companies', 'qualities'). Obviously that means that ...
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1answer
154 views

Are English diphthongs nasalized before nasals?

I learned that vowels are often nasalized before nasals (Nasalization). It means that the velum is lowered when the vowel is produced in the mouth and most of the air comes out through nose. For ...
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1answer
247 views

What's the difference between /t̬/ and /ɾ/ in American English?

I have learned that the t between vowels in American English is usually an alveolar flap, represented by /ɾ/, which is the voiced counterpart of the usual /t/. Cambridge Online Dictionary gives /ˈbet̬....
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Merger of Early Modern English 'ir' with 'ur' and 'er'+'ear'

Before /r/, /ɪ/ merged with either /ʊ/ or /ɛ/, depending on context. After labials (plus clusters of labials and /l/) and alveolar stops (like in bird and dirt), the result was /ʊ/ (shown, among other ...
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Slight GOAT-fronting in GenAm

According to the Wikipedia page, GOAT in GenAm is realized as a slightly fronted [ö̞ʊ]. I have also heard some GenAm(-like) speakers produce that variant, though others produced a completely back ...
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659 views

Why is the sound 'air' in words like 'chair', 'pear' and 'where' considered a phoneme? Should it not be considered a blend of the sound? [closed]

We know that phonemes are the smallest unit of sound in speech, and that in the IPA, each character represents only one sound. Wouldn't 'air' be considered two sounds - the combination of the sound /...
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1answer
444 views

What is the difference between [ɐ] and [ʌ]?

In a similar question which asks the difference between /ə/ and /ʌ/, I learned that /ʌ/ occurs in stressed syllables. Now there is another similar vowel sound: /ɐ/ which also occurs in stressed ...
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1answer
68 views

What sound is /a/?

Is it similar to /ʌ/ or is it more like /ɔ/ or is it something different? I've seen it combined with /ʌ/ several times in different phonetic scripts. Are the 2 similar or where they just lumped ...
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What is the difference between /ʌɪ/ and /aɪ/ in English?

Is there any difference between the two diphthongs in English IPA transcriptions? If I search a word in the Cambridge dictionary, it gives /aɪ/ for both UK English and US English. For example, the ...
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1answer
337 views

Why can't we geminate affricates in sentences when talking?

I read a book which said that if we link affricate sounds when talking, people would misunderstand the meaning of the sentence. But why? For example: "orange juice," the j sound should be ...
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1answer
186 views

Voicing of sibilants before liquids, after voiced vowels?

I just ran across an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion from a friend about the voic­ing of sibi­lants in English. She was ask­ing why English speak­ers pro­nounce the word mus­lim as muZlim (with a voiced sibi­...
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pronunciation help. What does the simple /i/ means

The cambridge dictionary phonetics use phonetic symbol /i/ in addition to /I/ and /i:/ I assume they use the DJ phonetic transcription. The other source I read says that /i/ is the old spelling for /I/...
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1answer
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Has anyone noted this phonetic variation in /ə/?

Schwa /ə/ is a phonetically variable sound. It may be [ɪ̈]-ish (or reportedly even [ɨ]-ish), depending on position and dialect, while oftentimes it is [ə] (or [ɘ] in New Zealand English), and for at ...
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1answer
102 views

/ʃ/ or /s/ with the termination -ciate? Both realizations occur, but when?

I have noticed that among the several words that have the termination -ciate (or derivatives of these) sometimes the pronunciation of the 'c' is /ʃ/ and sometimes /s/. That is, sometimes ...
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how is /p/ pronunced in responsibility [duplicate]

In Cambridge dictionary, the pronunciation of responsibility is /rɪˌspɑːn.səˈbɪl.ə.t̬i/, but I am pretty sure p is not pronounced /p/, at least not the same way as /p/ in peach. So what is happening ...
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Pronunciation of /jɪr/ and /i:r/ in American accent

In American accent, is /jɪr/ and /i:r/ pronounced the same? I'm also wondering whether or not we could replace /ɪ/ by /i:/ in the first transcription so it becomes /ji:r/?
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1answer
149 views

Pronunciation of seer. Is the CMU dictionary wrong

I was looking at how "eer" is usually pronounced and I used the CMU pronouncing dictionary (American accent). I saw that most of the time (around 95%) "ee" before "r" is ...
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1answer
224 views

What sound do non-native speakers tend to produce when they mispronounce /f/ and/or /v/ in English? [closed]

In other words, when someone natively speaks a language that doesn't include /f/ or /v/, and they try to pronounce those sounds in English but don't entirely succeed, what sound do they end up ...
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Enforce NOT to pronounce sh in a word

I have a word in the Arabic language that is transliterated into Mushib in English. It means Verbose. I need to enforce the pronunciation of this word to be Mus-Hib (Without pronouncing the sh sound) ...
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132 views

How would you transcribe and/or describe this vowel?

I'm analyzing the /æ/ vowel sound (also known as 'short A') found in words like cat, dad, or man. I am particularly interested in how that sound is realized in different dialects of American English ...
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3answers
582 views

Why don't we double the final consonant in the word cooking

SO here is the rule I find about doubling consonant if a word ends with a short vowel sound plus a consonant, and the stress is on the last syllable, then the final consonant is doubled if you add ...
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1answer
5k views

What is the correct pronunciation of “elytra”?

The word elytra refers to one of the anterior wings in beetles and some other insects that serve to protect the posterior pair of functional wings according to Merriam-Webster. The word is also ...
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2answers
497 views

Solve and resolve pronunciation

Solve starts with /s/ sound and when a prefix re- is added to it, it is pronounced with /z/ sound. Why does it happen? Solve -> /sɒlv/ Resolve -> /rɪˈzɒlv/
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4answers
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What is the difference between /a/ and /æ/?

I don't quite understand the difference between /a/ and /æ/. Google gives the transcription for 'add' as /ad/, while Wiktionary returns /æd/. Are these sounds actually distinct or is this just two ...
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2answers
293 views

Is /l/ in “whole” dark or clear?

Is /l/ in 'whole' dark or clear? I know that a clear (palatalised) /l/ is in a prevocalic position; nonetheless, I also know that the dark /l/ (velarised) is usually at the end of words.

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