Questions tagged [phonology]

Technical questions about the sound patterns of English.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3 votes
0 answers
57 views

Reverse Tensing of the /æ/ Phoneme in American English?

I am a native speaker of a General American sociolect that realizes the /æ/ phoneme as [ɛə] before nasal consonants (e.g. 'fan,' 'stand,' 'ram'), and I've recently noticed that I've begun un-raising (...
user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
106 views

Is there an English dialect that distinguishes between stressed /oʊ/ from its final unstressed form?

Is there any English dialect that distinguishes the stressed /oʊ/ as in goat, throat, slope, broke, stroke, etc. from the final, unstressed /oʊ/ as in sparrow, arrow, tomorrow, yellow, window, etc? ...
user avatar
  • 313
5 votes
1 answer
556 views

Pronunciation: /ɪ/ becomes /ə/ in "William" or "Wilkinson"?

I sometimes hear words like "Willam" or "Wilkinson" pronounced like /'wəl-jəm/ or /'wəɫ̩-kən-sən/, rather than /'wɪɫ̩-jəm/ or /'wɪɫ̩-kən-sən/. In other words, the /wɪɫ̩/ cluster is ...
user avatar
  • 53
2 votes
1 answer
114 views

Unvoiced final "d" where it "should" be voiced -- regional accent question

Native speaker here. I don't have a problem with /d/, but somehow in words like "record", and in all -ed preterites, I voice it /t/, borderline aspirated. My English is native (think, dream ...
user avatar
  • 185
2 votes
0 answers
67 views

/ʊ/, /oʊ/, and /ʌ/ merged before /l/

I merge /ʊ/, /oʊ/, and /ʌ/ before /l/ to form /oʊ/. Soul, bull, and hull all rhyme for me. Is there any record of this merger in US English? Edit: Dull is in the same class (/ʌl/) as hull. I replaced ...
user avatar
  • 21
5 votes
2 answers
178 views

What is the origin of "huge"?

What is the origin of the word huge (adj. and adv.) meaning "very great, large, or big; immense, enormous, vast"? Both OED and Etymonline say that it might be from an Old French word which ...
user avatar
  • 51.1k
3 votes
2 answers
180 views

How can “Harold” and “Herald” ever sound the same?

I was reading a book¹ recently where the main protagonist is fixated on homonyms and has rules that proper nouns are not homonyms and gives Harold and herald as an example of words that sound the same ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
789 views

Variant of English pronunciation in the UK

On YouTube, I noticed a channel "RateMyTakeaway" with a man with interesting pronunciation One example, at 1:26 in this video: https://youtu.be/Z7YM7iYtFRY?t=86 He says (as far as I can ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
89 views

What are the two /r/ sounds explained in this video?

This guy says here there are two ways of "making the /r/ sound". His explanation lacks academic rigor and necessary phonetic details. He claims the first way is: "It's like a /l/, with ...
user avatar
  • 1,065
0 votes
0 answers
62 views

When does "t-y" become a "ch" and "d-y" does a "dj"? [duplicate]

'That you' becomes 'Thach you' 'Did you' becomes 'Dij you' (or something near this) But body, responsibility doesn't. When that happens?
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
44 views

What is the meaning of ‘neutral’ in the following article?

Source: (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_phonology) In General American and Canada, /l/ is generally dark, but to varying degrees: before stressed vowels it is neutral or only slightly ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
97 views

How many allophones possible of phoneme /ə/ are there in American English?

I am an ESL student. I want to speak American English fluently. Due to influence of my local dialect in my country, I only discover that there is [ə ɐ ɪə ɑ] doubtably according to my ear, and native ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
72 views

Is there a certain rule for dividing syllable in a word? [duplicate]

I am new in linguistics and I am an ESL student. When I check dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster, Random House Webster, Webster’s New world college, American Heritage, Cambridge dictionary etc and ...
user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
4k views

Do "cook the" and "cooked the" get pronounced differently?

How are they different in pronunciation? In other words, how can one recognise the difference purely by sound?
user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
806 views

Why is there a flap allophone of /t/ but not of /k/ or /p/?

In English, there are three (phonemic) voiceless stops: /t/, /k/, /p/. In most if not all American accents, a /t/ between vowels (the first of which is usually stressed and the second unstressed) is ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
84 views

Syllabification of "riding"

According to the Middle Consonant Rule, shouldn't we syllabicate the word riding as Ri-ding (raɪ-dɪŋ)? Why are we syllabicating it as Rid-ing (raɪd.ɪŋ)? What's the rule for this?
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
216 views

Is the underlying form of "n" /n/ or /ŋ/ in words ending in -nk?

There are lots of words ending in -nk in Modern English. In (almost) all those words, the -nk is pronounced [-ŋk]. My understanding is that the "n" in spelling represented [n] originally but ...
user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
126 views

does sound th as d makes any difference in fast speech?

I know the 2 kinds of th sound, the question is does pronouncing, for instance, "that" as "dat" makes any difference to real th sound? I know pronouncing it in slow speech or out ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
387 views

What is the trend in pronouncing the word "strength"? [closed]

Over the years, I have heard 3 different ways to pronounce the word strength: stre(ng)kth /stɹɛŋkθ/ strenth /st̠͡ɹ̠ɛn̪θ/ shtrength /ʃtɹɛŋθ/ I definitely pronounce it with option 3 (shtrength /ʃtɹɛŋθ/...
user avatar
  • 148
4 votes
1 answer
273 views

True realization of /i/ in American English: Is it really [ɪi]?

I have read in different places that the latter glide-like realization is the only one that exists in American English. Is this a regional thing? If yes, would you say it occurs in western US English? ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
72 views

Is [bʊt] (Northern England) analyzed as an allophone of /bʌt/?

In some/most Northern England accents, words that have [ʌ] in RP (or standard varieties of English) are pronounced with [ʊ]. So hut, cut, shut etc are pronounced with [ʌ]* in Southern British English ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
344 views

Why does "appropriate" (and also "duplicate", "deliberate" etc) have a different vowel in their adjective/noun and verb forms?

TL;DR There are adjectives/nouns--verb pairs in which the adjectives/nouns have weak vowel in the last syllable and the verb has strong for example: duplicate (adj): /ˈdjuːplɪkət/ duplicate (v.): /...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
232 views

Why are "said" and "paid"/"laid" pronounced differently?

The words say, pay, lay are phonemically /seɪ/, /peɪ/ and /leɪ/ respectively (with the diphthong /eɪ/). Their past and past participles are respectively: /sɛd/ (or /sed/), /peɪd/ and /leɪd/. The past/...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
60 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 193
1 vote
2 answers
437 views

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 "...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
117 views

Rule of English phonology that prevents /j/ and /w/ from occurring in the ends of syllables

I'm quite sure I've seen a rule in English phonology that says that /j/ (the "y" sound) and /w/ (the "w" sound) should not occur in the ends of English syllables, but I haven't had ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
73 views

Does the suffix -ify have any inherent characteristics of making letters pronounced which would otherwise be silent?

It is quite clear that the word "signify" is derived from sign and the suffix -ify: sign + -ify = signify The letter "g" in the word sign is silent but when the suffix is added, ...
user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why is "archaic" pronounced uniquely? Is the sequence -ɪɪ- only found in this word?

Before looking this word up, I have always rhymed it with cake i.e. /ɑːˈkeɪk/. But when I looked it up, it was actually /ɑː(r)ˈkeɪɪk/ with the sequence of a similar vowel repeated consecutively: -ɪɪ- ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
136 views

Why are there so many restrictions on /ŋ/ in English?

In (GA, SSBE) English, the phoneme /ŋ/ (in ring) seems to have so many restrictions: it rarely occurs after /u:/, if at all: the only word that I have been able to find in which /ŋ/ occurs after /u:/ ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
135 views

Does English allow /eɪʃ/ in the end of a syllable (in the same syllable)?

The sound /ʃ/ is almost always spelled with more than one letter i.e. with a digraph unlike, say, /p/ which is spelled with a single letter (pan, pen, pie). I have noticed a particular pattern: vowels ...
user avatar
33 votes
2 answers
5k views

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 (...
user avatar
  • 925
1 vote
1 answer
326 views

Does English allow alveolar flap [ɾ] at the ends of syllables? If yes, how to syllabify?

Prompted by this question: How to syllabify “very” or “merry” etc in British English?, I found the linked question interesting and it was a very good question but it did not get much attention, ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
197 views

What will happen if I attach the suffixes "-ize" and "-ify" to a word that end in /ŋ/? Will they make it [ŋg]?

This question is related to my previous question: Why does “singer” have /ŋ/ and “longer” have /ŋg/? but not a duplicate. From Herrison's answer, I learned that the -er in both "singer" and &...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
115 views

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 ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
268 views

Why is the N silent in "solemn" but pronounced in "solemnity"

Solemn → /ˈsɒləm/: It has only /-m/ Solemnity → /səˈlɛmnɪti/: it has both /m/ and /n/ (/-mn-/) Looking up their etymology didn't help much. But here is what etymology dictionary says: solemn: ... ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
497 views

Pronunciation of “master” and “plaster” in Northern England

A pattern I've noticed in Northern England is that people of my age (born in the '90s) pronounce words like “master” and “plaster” with a short A (/a/), whereas anyone of my parents' generation (born ...
user avatar
  • 717
3 votes
2 answers
342 views

Was there a /t͡ʃ/ to /k/ sound change from Old English?

I stumbled upon a strange thing while looking up the etymology of words ending in "le". I looked up "kettle" and saw that it was pronounced with /t͡ʃ/ in Old English and also in ...
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
486 views

How to syllabify "obsessive": OB-SE-SIV or OB-SES-IV?

I was taught by my high school teacher how to count syllables and according to that method, you count them by clapping each syllable. The word "obsessive" should be: /əb.se.sɪv/ -- OB-SE-SIV....
user avatar
  • 103
0 votes
1 answer
141 views

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, ...
user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
98 views

Silent /t/ usage on short words? [duplicate]

The censorship on Stackoverflow will kill the platform and it's elitist snakes will be haunted. Consider following words, Its At That What I often hear them as, I/?/s Aa Tha/?/ Wha/?/ I'm ...
user avatar
  • 105
0 votes
1 answer
64 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 235
6 votes
3 answers
5k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 235
1 vote
0 answers
44 views

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
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
417 views

Where did "nightingale" get its second N from?

I noticed while searching the etymology of the word nightingale that it did not have the second N. The sources I checked only say intrusive N but don't explain it. Wikitionary: From Middle English ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
245 views

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 ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
73 views

palatization of y- from *ga-

Premises The common Proto-Germanic prefix *ga‑ affixed to past participles was reduced in Modern English, obscuring its historical participial morphology now beyond modern recognition, as seen for ...
user avatar
  • 771
23 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why did the F of "sneeze" and "snore" change to an S in English history?

The etymologies of "sneeze" and "snore" suggest that they were once pronounced with /f/. Here is what Wiktionary (from which all the following information also comes) says: From ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
82 views

Was there any change from /u:/ to /ə/ (US: /ɚ/) in the history of English?

The /tʃ/ in the word "nature" is the result of palatalization (see this question). If I understand it correctly, the /t/ (nat) and and /j/ (ure) fused and produced /tʃ/. The letter U had the ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
235 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 ...
user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is "tion" pronounced as "shun" but not "chun"?

I know English spelling never follows English pronunciation and I also know that English spelling is very irregular but there are reasons for such irregularities. This question is only asking about ...
user avatar

1
2 3 4 5
8