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Questions tagged [phonology]

Technical questions about the sound patterns of English.

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Is "sort of like" hypercorrectur? [closed]

Dutch has soortgelijke "alike, similar", soortelijk "specific to", and indeed soort van "sort of", German has to my knowledge only technical jargon sortenrein "...
vectory's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
85 views

Why is bowl spelled with ⟨ow⟩?

Generally speaking, in cases where an Old English ⟨ā⟩ or ⟨o⟩ becomes /oʊ/ in Modern English, the result may be written with either ⟨oa⟩ or ⟨o…e⟩: rād > road, grānian > groan col > coal, fola ...
Вася Антонов's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why is Siobhan pronounced with a /v/ sound in English?

In English the name Siobhan is typically pronounced /ʃəvɔːn/. English speakers typically find this unintuitive, but the typical explanation is that the name is from Irish and that's how it's ...
Sriotchilism O'Zaic's user avatar
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51 views

American English: intervocalic rhotic lost after an alveolar flap/tap

Is there a phonological process by which a word such as federal is informally pronounced bisyllabically as /ˈfɛɾəl/?
GJC's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
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Why did the original ‘d’ in the word ‘weather’ (< Middle English ‘weder, wedir’) change to ‘th’?

The word weather originally had d in place of th. This is visible from the Middle English attestations weder and wedir, as well as from other Germanic languages. For instance, German Wetter can be ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
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
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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
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15 votes
3 answers
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Is the T in ‘mistook’ pronounced the same as the T in ‘mistake’ is?

Should mistook be pronounced like “mis + took” — or like “misdook” (like the t in mistake)?
FindingNemo's user avatar
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0 answers
173 views

Why do (usually conservative) Americans pronounce "conservative" with an /ɪ/ sound, like consyrvative?

I have noticed this mispronunciation in post-1980 America. People who take a little pride in their conservatism are almost intentionally pronouncing the word conservative¹ as if it were spelled ...
Trunk's user avatar
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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
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Excuse: verb /ɪkˈskjuːz/ vs noun /ɪkˈskjuːs/ - Does this follow a pattern?

I would like to know if the word excuse, with different pronunciations as a noun and a verb (homographs) follows some kind of phonological pattern of SoP conversion (in either direction) The only ...
GJC's user avatar
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1 answer
132 views

Was "tea" ever pronounced as "teh-ah"?

Follow up on SciFi.SE Pronunciation of teatime: in my answer I argue that "teh-ah" as spelled out once in a discworld novel is a pronunciation-spelling. It is essentially not clear why tea /...
vectory's user avatar
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1 answer
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T turning into what sounds like a trill in Irish English?

I have been recently watching a channel run by an Irish guy and he has many interesting speech quirks (like the fact he still pronounces "wh-" like <hw>). But the thing that puzzles me ...
Gabel Luc's user avatar
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1 answer
299 views

Why does <sing> have three phonemes, while <sink> has four?

By what principles of phonology does the digraph < ng > in < sing > admit a monophonematical representation by the phoneme /ŋ/, while in the word < sink >, the final < k > is ...
DanielC's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
235 views

Are 'biggity' and 'briggity' kin?

(Motivated by the question How common is "biggety" in Southern and Midland US?) The DARE entry for briggity has the following (edited): briggity: (also brickaty, brickety, brigaty, ...
Heartspring's user avatar
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What is a word describing when someone pronounces a word according to how it's spelled, ignoring silent letters? [duplicate]

Phonetic spelling is when one spells a word according to how it is pronounced (e.g.; knight => nite). What word would be used to describe the pronunciation of a word based on how it is spelled, ...
QuickQuestion's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
150 views

Is the 't' silent in the word "fasten"? Or is it the 'e'? [closed]

There are mixed answers online. Some say 't' is silent. Others say 'e' is silent. Dictionaries don't seem to give a consistent pronunciation for this word, so it's hard know what is correct.
des's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
646 views

How does one show in IPA that the first sound in "get" and "got" is different?

So one has that "get" /ɡɛt/ and "got" /ɡɒt/ are a minimal pair, for it's only the vocalic phoneme which distinguishes them. However, the first sound is not pronounced/articulated ...
DanielC's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
172 views

*an unitary operator* or *a unitary operator*

This is related to the question that I asked in English language and usage community: about whether there is a dialectal difference among the native English speakers in pronouncing the u of words like ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
148 views

How phonetically distinct in terms of quality (tongue gesture) are /ɜː/ and /ə/ in Received Pronunciation?

The English Wikipedia article on Received Pronunciation uses two particular vowel charts adapted from two sources, an article by Peter Roach titled British English: Received Pronunciation published in ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
166 views

How are /ɪ/ and /ʌ/ realised in the Nottingham (East Midlands) accent?

I've got a sample of a few words pronounced by a Nottingham accent representative: https://youtu.be/2fCSeDEZeVU My ear is far from perfect and this is why I'd like to ask for your help in this ...
musialmi's user avatar
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1 answer
105 views

Is this intrusive r? "Arya Stark" pronounced as "Aryer Stark"

In Game of Thrones, season 4, ep.8 around 37:50, The Hound says: [...]and his travelling companion Arya Stark. He pronounces it like "Aryer Stark". It seems to be a similar concept as an ...
Zyx's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
550 views

Why does the word "experience" have a different initial vowel from that in "expert" and "expertise"?

In American English, the pronunciation of the words "experience", "expert", and "expertise" can be transcribed as /ɪkˈspɪr.i.əns/, /ˈɛk.spɚt/, /ˌɛk.spɚˈtiːz/ respectively....
Šāhbandar Bandūra's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
186 views

Cot caught merger - /ɔɪ/ or /ɑɪ/ in boy, choice...?

Here is the pronunciation guide from Oxford American English dictionary: Some speakers only use the sound /ɔ/ when it is followed by /r/ (as in horse /hɔrs/) and use /ɑ/ in all other words that are ...
Nam N's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
673 views

When does n sounds like m? [duplicate]

I hear that native (american, but maybe others do too) English speakers sometimes change the sound /n/ for a /m/ in between words like "Conversation" and "Grandpa". Is there a rule ...
Darvid's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
398 views

Why are long e and o most prone to be diphthongised by English speakers?

As a teacher of languages, it has struck me how English vowels love not just diphthongs, but even triphthongs, and this tendency presents itself in how native English speakers generally tend to ...
Canned Man's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
809 views

Pronunciation of ss as s and lack of sh?

I've been hearing some British and Irish actors and presenters pronounce ss like s instead of sh, so tissue sounds like tisyu rather than tishu for example. I also heard someone pronounce appreSEEate ...
otoarno's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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How many syllables do these rules say that ‘every’ has?

Edit note: As you’ll see from the linked-to post, I’m not expecting my code here to be anything like 100% accurate. I’m after a fast and dirty heuristic that will be correct most of the time. I’m ...
After_Sunset's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
186 views

Is there a difference between the pronunciation of long-ass and long gas?

I know that final -⟨ng⟩ is pronounced /ŋ/ (in most dialects), but I'm wondering what happens when the intensifier "ass" comes after the /ŋ/ sound of "long". Does the pronunciation ...
Jafar's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
342 views

What do we call minimal pairs (words differ by only a single sound) that have similar meanings?

What is the term for minimal pairs that have minimal differences in sound as well as meaning? Per Wikipedia: In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, spoken ...
Kellviete's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
230 views

Is runnin' an elision or assimilation? [duplicate]

Considering the word "running", would "runnin'" be the result of the elision or assimilation of the "ing" sound? Specifically /ˈrʌnɪŋ/ being pronounced as /rʌnen/ I ...
Freddy Mcloughlan's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
131 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 (...
deevonstutter's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
134 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? ...
Seninha's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
624 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 ...
BehdadB's user avatar
  • 53
2 votes
1 answer
166 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 ...
peisander's user avatar
  • 305
2 votes
1 answer
230 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 ...
glarder's user avatar
  • 21
5 votes
2 answers
361 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 ...
ermanen's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
393 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 ...
Fumblina's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
865 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 ...
Constantin Werner's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
167 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 ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
220 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?
Davi Américo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
52 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 ...
IEatMy Pizza's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
162 views

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

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 ...
IEatMy Pizza's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
126 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 ...
user430930's 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?
Worldclassics's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
1k 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
104 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?
Pandiarajan's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
795 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
332 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 ...
Davi Américo's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
1k 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/...
kanamekun's user avatar
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