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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6
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2answers
1k views

difference between the OALD pronunciation of /i/ in happy /ˈhæpi/ and /ɪ/ in sit /sɪt/?

I wanted to learn more about phonetics and I stumbled across this website: http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/about/english/pronunciation_english However, I couldn't get what the ...
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2answers
3k views

Silent /d/ or /t/

When a word ending with the /d/ or /t/ sound is pronounced and the next word starts with a consonant, the sounds /d/ or /t/ are silent. For example: I used to play tennis. My question is related to ...
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1answer
704 views

/ɪ/ sound when not stressed

I've seen that some words in English are pronounced with the /ɪ/ sound when the vowel is not stressed. Some examples include: pocket /ˈpɒkɪt/, comet /ˈkɒmɪt/. But hundred /ˈhʌndrəd/. Is there any ...
2
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1answer
243 views

pronunciation of the sequence '-edness'

I'd like to know whether the pronunciation of nominalizations from a participle + -ness, such as fixedness (putting aside adjectives with full pronunciation such as 'wickedness') is similar to that of ...
6
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1answer
399 views

Can the modal verb “can” be pronounced as /ŋ(k)/?

Can the modal verb "can" be pronounced as /ŋ(k)/ ? It may be the context of a following /k/, as in "we can come and see", but I have also notice it being reversed /ŋ(k)/. Therefore, I'd like to ...
4
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1answer
4k views

How is the word “saw” pronounced in the US, specifically, New York?

English is my second language, therefore I have trouble grasping certain words phonetically. When I speak with my co-workers, sometimes and almost always, they pronounce the word saw as sawr, like, ...
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1answer
756 views

Why are some long vowels transcribed with single, short IPA vowels? [closed]

When transcribing English vowels phonetically, long vowel sounds are usually written with two IPA vowels when the vowel is at the end of word or syllable: paper /pei-/ But sometimes long vowels ...
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2answers
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Why is the letter “c” pronounced like /s/ when it comes before “e”, “i”, or “y”, but as /k/ elsewhere?

Could you please tell me why from an historical point of view that when the letter c comes directly before the letters e, i or y in English that we use the /s/ sound, but in other cases we use the /k/ ...
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1answer
6k views

What's the meaning of /e/, /i:/, /a:/, /z/ and /p/?

I was doing homework with the kid and I found this. Can anyone explain what this is about?
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2answers
844 views

“All of” pronunciation [duplicate]

I'm from a place where there is no "L" in the language, and it's always been tricky to say. Well, I did some research and, at least for American-English, there are two types: A "light L" and a "dark ...
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2answers
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Is there a way to phonetically write English so that when read it is with a “British accent”? [closed]

I am going to be performing a monologue which will mostly be in a southern accent, but there is one brief part, where I quote a British person, and would like to give it a general British accent. Is ...
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2answers
672 views

The pronunciation of “try to” vs. “tried to”

I know that try to is pronounced /tɹaɪɾə/, but how is tried to pronounced? It wouldn't make sense for it to have the same pronunciation, because then we wouldn't be able to differentiate between ...
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2answers
884 views

Why is the English Alphabet pronounced non-phonetically? [closed]

Ok, so with the phonetic alphabet, there is a 1 to 1 correspondence with how we actually say a letters in a word and how it's actually read outloud. That is, according to the phonetic alphabet, the ...
2
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0answers
381 views

English pronunciation symbols – why so many systems? [closed]

I wanted to improve my English pronunciation. But I just realize that I cannot understand the symbols in my English dictionaries (including some online dictionaries). There are so many, just look at ...
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1answer
401 views

What phonetic alphabet is used here?

Can someone tell me what phonetic alphabet is used here? Also, how is this word pronounced? Update: This is a scientific term from a 1976 National Bureau of Standards manual. The original word is ...
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0answers
194 views

The perception of /ɑ/ and /a/

The Cambridge Dictionary transcription for the word barn is /bɑːrn/ If someone says this word as /baːrn/ (open front vowel), will this sound foreign to you? Will you notice at all? What will your ...
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5answers
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Are “whores” and “horse” homophones?

I’m Spanish but sometimes see TV shows in English. My question is whether the words horse and whores sound exactly the same, because in many English language TV shows it seems like they are, which ...
2
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1answer
260 views

“You're as [ADJECTIVE] as you are [ADJECTIVE]” construction: why does it sound awkward when you replace “you are” with “you're”?

I'm just wondering what it is about this construction that makes it sound "incorrect" even though technically it is grammatically correct. Is it an awkwardness arising from a lack of cadence, or ...
2
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1answer
8k views

Non-phonetic words

I am looking for a word with the definition "a word that is not spelled phonetically", that is, "a word that is pronounced very differently than the way it is spelled." For example, victuals (...
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6answers
19k views

Is there a term for the silent letters in a word?

Such letters are employed in spelling but are not pronounced, and English offers a wealth of examples more than any other language . most final "b's" preceded by "m" (dumb, climb, thumb, etc) most "k'...
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4answers
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Is the /eə/ sound related to the /ə/ sound in British English?

Lately I'm into improving my English (UK) pronunciation. I'm using the IPA chart for such purpose. I was wondering if there's any relationship between the ə sound and the several diphthongs that ...
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2answers
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Deletion of /h/

I was once told by my BrE teacher that when we have a word ending with a consonant followed by another word starting with h, the h is deleted, meaning that the pronunciation is different. For ...
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2answers
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How do you pronounce these Greek letters in English dictionary definitions?

Dictionary definitions for the English language usually have the word spelled out in Greek letters to indicate how the word is pronounced phonetically. Examples highlighted: What are these Greek ...
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1answer
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discerning /æ/ and /e/ sounds

As I am a foreigner, I have great difficulty differentiating the sounds /æ/ and /e/ . When spoken softly, it becomes almost impossible for me to discern the sounds. Such as this one from movie ...
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3answers
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Why are the vowels in Christ and Christmas different? (and other strange diphthong behaviour)

Why are certain words pronounced with diphthongs on their own but with monophthongs in compounds? For example: Words pronounced with diphthongs on their own: Michael, Christ, wise, drive Their ...
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2answers
658 views

If a word has multiple pronunciations, how do I know which one is more commonly used? [closed]

When I tried to remember English words, I met some words that has multiple pronunciations, how do I know which one is more commonly used? Or should I remember them all? For example, prospect, as verb ...
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1answer
450 views

Why does /tər/ (/ˈdɑːktər/ doctor or /ˈsɪstər/ sister) in American Accent sound like /trə/?

I feel like /tər/ (/ˈdɑːktər/ doctor or /ˈsɪstər/ sister) in American Accent sound like /trə/. I couldn't find this info on the internet. It seems that when we curl up the blade of the tongue too ...
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1answer
161 views

Why /t/ after /k/ sometimes is pronounced like a mild aspirated T but sometimes is pronounced like unaspirated T?

See this word: doctor /ˈdɑːktər/, the /t/ in this case seems to be like a mild aspirated T (that is there may have a bit air coming out of your mouth) Source. But expected /ɪkˈspektɪd/, the /t/ in ...
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1answer
84 views

Is peppermint tea autological [closed]

Basically as the question says. Is peppermint tea autological because it tastes pepperminty. I know they are different words but phonetically they are identical. If not, is there another word which ...
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3answers
408 views

Pronunciation of Mid-Word American English T + D

I'm a native speaker of American English but have a very muddy sounding voice that I'm trying to improve. In my pronunciation the mid-word t/d sound, as in buddy, sweater, or under, is particularly ...
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1answer
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Could you explain the differences among voiced stop, voiceless unaspirated stop & voiceless aspirated stop?

Look at this picture for explaining various mechanics of pronunciation with the vocal cords. Source: wikimedia commons I don't understand it much. Here is what I understood -voiced stop: your ...
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1answer
448 views

Will we pronounce /t/ like a true T when /t/ is at beginning of a word but the syllable containing T is unstressed?

This website said The t is a regular, aspirated t sound when it is the first sound of a word or a stressed syllable A regular T is the one that is clearly aspirated. So, my question is that: ...
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1answer
912 views

How can I teach an English speaking person to say my name correctly (Kjetil) [closed]

I have a purely Norwegian name, Kjetil. It is old norse and means "kettle" or "helmet". A couple of times now, aquaintances and new friends have asked me in chat or person how my name is really ...
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2answers
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Relationships between Grammar and Phonetics

When I look at some grammar rules such as: With (He, she and it) we add (es) to verbs ending with (sh, o, ch and ss) in present simple, and so on. I wonder if there is a link between grammar and ...
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4answers
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How to position the tip of the tongue when pronouncing /s/ & /z/?

This website says, when making /s/ & /z/ sound, the tip of the tongue should be close to the upper backside of the top front teeth. But this video says, when making /s/ & /z/ sound, the tip ...
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2answers
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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 ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Do we have any English dictionary that shows precisely both letters and diacritics?

Dictionary uses IPA to depict the sound. However, most of them do not include diacritics, and thus it is very hard for learner to distinguish the sound. See this quote from Wiki IPA symbols are ...
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5answers
626 views

How do I find examples where phonetic spelling is useful? [closed]

My son is learning English as a second language. Of course the phonetic alphabet is something they have to learn. Now he keeps telling me that it is a completely pointless endeavour, because he knows ...
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3answers
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/ə/ in a stressed syllable?

According to this description of the English phonotactics, the schwa /ə/ doesn't occur in stressed syllables. But Cambridge Dictionary Onlines, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and Longman ...
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1answer
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Why is /e/ generally transcribed as 'ay'?

I’ve seen pretty often in phonetic transcriptions for English speakers who weren’t familiar with the IPA the phoneme /e/ or /ɛ/ transcribed as ay: Here "lejos" (/'le.xos/) is transcribed as lay-hoss1....
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3answers
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'Sag' and 'slant': Is the vowel /æ/ the same in both words?

/sæg/ /slænt/ Transcriptions from Cambridge American English Dictionary Both the words' IPA transcriptions have an /æ/ symbol. Do those two /æ/s sound the same? Are they both short or long? Is /æ/ ...
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0answers
238 views

Is Lana's “Yup!” a triphthong?

At some point in the Archer series, Lana starts saying very emphatic Yup!s. I was recently wondering about triphthongs and whether they occur in English, and found the Wikipedia entry had only a few ...
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1answer
381 views

Theoretical Phonemes [closed]

I have been looking at IPA recently and I was wondering if there are any sounds that can theoretically be created by humans but do not exist or have not existed in any known languages. Or maybe a ...
11
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1answer
256 views

Night rain vs Night train, gemination?

The Wikipedia article on gemination claims that gemination of /t/ is the distinguishing factor between the pronunciation of the two phrases night train and night rain. In my whole life, I've almost ...
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2answers
874 views

Aspiration of plosives in final position and word boundaries

In a sentence like It is a cat, is it? I'm not sure what kind of aspiration the various /t/ should have. I guess the first one in "it" would be weakly aspirated, as it's followed by a stressed ...
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2answers
2k views

Can you hear the difference between 'Writer' and 'Rider'? Why?

Apologies in advance for the slightly blog-like nature of this question. The Background Some of the comments in relation to this question here: Unvoiced /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ in word final position ... ...
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0answers
913 views

In which vowel do the diphthongs [aʊ] and [aɪ] start?

Surfing the web, I found the following explanations on how to produce the diphthongs [aʊ] and [aɪ]: "/aʊ/ as in all the words of "How now brown cow!". The starting position is the vowel sound /æ/ as ...
3
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2answers
4k views

Unvoiced /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ in word final position

It seems to me that both /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ become voiceless (or almost) when they occur in word final position. Is this true? Examples: age, wage, courage, judge garage, sabotage, collage, mirage Does ...
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2answers
848 views

schwa sound in IPA?

I have a small problem in schwa sound: When I used Oxford online dictionary and searched "fossil", Its pronunciation is /ˈfɒsl/, but the Cambridge Dictionaries Online gave me: /ˈfɒs. ə l/ As you can ...
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1answer
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Linking /r/ and elision

In one of my lectures after learning about several processes of connected speech (namely assimilation, elision and linking) we were faced with a transcription exercise with which I have slight problem ...