Questions tagged [phonology]

Technical questions about the sound patterns of English.

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7
votes
2answers
17k views

Singular to plural noun [duplicate]

Many nouns that end in ‑f are made plural by changing the ‑f to ‑v‑ and adding ‑es. +----------+-----------+ | Singular | Plural | +----------+-----------+ | half | halves | | leaf | ...
4
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2answers
3k views

Are what-cha and arent-cha examples of elision?

Are these words examples of elision? What effect do they create? If a child says them what does this suggest about their language development? Thanks for any help!!
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3answers
2k views

When we will use soft and hard sound in 'c'? [closed]

Sometimes we use the soft sound, and sometimes the hard – but why? Is there any rule?
7
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4answers
52k views

What is the use of “w” as Semi-vowel?

In English alphabet, there are five (5) Vowels- a, e, i, o and u. And there are two (2) more letters- y and w, which are called Semi-Vowels. In the word "cry", y is considered as Semi-vowel. ...
4
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3answers
3k views

Is there any word with two consecutive monophthongs whose symbols could be combined to a diphthong? [closed]

For example, ɔ and ɪ in one word one after another. Note that I talking about a situation where the symbols could be combined as written l, not the sounds. IPA does not have explicit different written ...
4
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2answers
426 views

“Initial” is pronounced “inishal,” so why isn't the verb “initiate” pronounced “inishate”?

Trying to answer a recent question about the pronunciation of the consonant "c" in the word word appreciate made me realize something I'm ignorant about: although I've read in a fair amount of places ...
3
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3answers
4k views

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 ...
3
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2answers
4k views

“The species/species'/species's survival…”

Ok, I am really confused regarding apostrophe with the s and the end of the word. I have looked through multiple sites only to see multiple viewpoints. And, on tests they test it differently. So, can ...
1
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5answers
6k views

Is the “an” rule applied when a sum of money is in between? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? I have recently seen this image: Should "a" have been used instead of "an" in the "...an $100,000 apartment" part?
11
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3answers
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Why and when was the trilled R in middle English replaced by the modern untrilled one?

Most linguists agree that the letter R in middle English was trilled, but why and when did people replace it with untrilled one like ⟨ɹ⟩ in "red", or even become "almost" silent like in "her (British ...
10
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3answers
2k views

What’s the geographic distribution of different pronunciations of the word “experiment”?

ᴛʟᴅʀ: Which regions say the word experiment with its stressed syllable sounding like the word spare, and which regions say that word’s stressed syllable like the word spear? PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a ...
6
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3answers
1k views

/ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ as phonemes?

From what I understand on phonetics/phonology, /ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ can simply be considered as allophones of /ɪr/, /er/, /ʊr/, but most traditional dictionaries treat them as distinct phonemes. Is that ...
6
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4answers
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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 ...
5
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3answers
6k views

/i/ sound before “ng” and “nk”

I'm a substitute teacher and recently was teaching a kindergarten class about long i sound. They were crossing out words without long i, circling words with long i. One of the words was ink. I told ...
5
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1answer
2k views

What do you call an interfix that has semantic meaning?

At university I was introduced to various affixes; prefix, suffix, interfix. The latter, I was told, could be created by putting an adjective in the middle of a word, thus interrupting it; abso-...
3
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2answers
4k views

Pronunciation of final T sounds in English

What's the word to describe the phenomenon of the final 't' sound becoming a stop without aspiration, vs. how it sounds at the beginning of a word? Does any one particular dialect/accent of English ...
1
vote
1answer
173 views

“a” verus “an” for abbreviations starting with 'U'

My friend is implementing an app for Amazon Alexa which currently speaks the indefinite article "an" in noun phrase acronyms which start with the letter 'U', for example: (1.) *I found out he was an ...
0
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1answer
873 views

Do you pronounce the T ending sound?

As I was taught in school and , the T ending sound of words is unvoiced and should be pronounced with air, but recently I met a friend from the US, those aired T sounds were missing from her speaking, ...
45
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4answers
5k views

Is D-glottalization a plausible explanation of ambiguity in Donald Trump interview with WSJ?

On Jan 11, The Wall Street Journal published an interview with President Trump that contained the following phrase: With that being said, President Xi has been extremely generous with what he’s ...
17
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4answers
4k views

Why is /sɪ/ pronounced differently in “six” /sɪks/ and “sit” /sɪt/?

six /sɪks/ and sit /sɪt/ Why do they have the same phonetic symbol /sɪ/, if /sɪ/ is pronounced differently in those two words? The main focus in my question isn't the difference in pronunciation ...
23
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4answers
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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 ...
6
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3answers
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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 ...
34
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2answers
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 (...
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4answers
4k views

Why “English” but not “Anglish”?

Etymology of English from Etymonline: Old English Englisc (contrasted to Denisc, Frencisce, etc.), from Engle (plural) "the Angles," the name of one of the Germanic groups that overran the island ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Do onomatopoeic words lose their onomatopoeic character?

Wikipedia mentions that: Some languages flexibly integrate onomatopoeic words into their structure. This may evolve into a new word, up to the point that it is no longer recognized as onomatopoeia. ...
13
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4answers
4k views

American refusal of the IPA: why?

Are there any historical or political reasons for the rather consistent refusal of the International Phonetic Alphabet on the part of American academics? Did Mark Twain's home-made-English-spelling-...
13
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3answers
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Is there such a thing as an unvoiced vowel?

I can't think of any and google has not been helpful.
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2answers
363 views

History of additional sounds introduced to English

Today I was curious about the rarity of the consonant cluster sr in the English language. I found a WordReference forum from 2006 that asked about the matter. The general response is that because ...
15
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5answers
6k views

What is the proper way to say “Clinton”?

I have always assumed that Bill and Hillary Clinton's name is pronounced Clin-tun. But during this year's election coverage, I noticed that a great many people pronounce it as Clin-uhn, with no "T" ...
12
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2answers
3k views

Does English have (or has it had) the diphthongs /uɪ, ʌɪ/?

Modern English has some diphthongs ending in /-ɪ/, as in *oy/oi of "boy/voice", *ay/ā of "bay/ace", *ey/ī of "eye/ice", etc. But I haven't found the diphthongs /uɪ, ʌɪ/ (or even /ʊɪ/). Does Modern ...
7
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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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5answers
1k views

How is the pronunciation of r before th? Specific case: “north”

Some consonants such as n,d,t are usually alveolar in English, except that they are replaced by dentals when they are before dental fricatives (th): tenth, said this, in the…. What about "r" before ...
7
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1answer
1k views

How did the “double consonant to shorten vowel” thing come about? (“furry” vs. “fury”)

In English, a doubled consonant most commonly means "shorten the previous vowel", where "shorten" means map phonemes like this: [aɪ] -> [i] [oʊ] -> [ɔ] etc For example, fury is pronounced [fjʊri] ...
3
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5answers
16k views

pronunciation US-UK in words like “semi”

I am trying to find a document that explains pronunciation differences in /E/ and /I/ sounds between UK and US styles. I think US pronunciation has /'sɛmay/ a lot more often than UK /'sɛmi/. Where can ...
3
votes
1answer
938 views

Why isn't “giraves” the plural of “giraffe” like “wolves” is for “wolf”? [duplicate]

The plural of giraffe, according to Merriam Webster and some other dictionaries I checked, is "giraffes". Normally when the final sound of an English word is F, its plural ends in V sound. ...
3
votes
1answer
469 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 ...
2
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2answers
2k views

What’s the difference between /ӕ/ and /ɑ/?

. . . alibis . . . appetite . . . rather . . . Mark . . . [audio source] The first two a’s are different in their phonetic symbols in the dictionaries from the other two, but I can’t differentiate. ...
2
votes
0answers
412 views

already , southern pronunciation ≈ [ʰɑɾi] “oddy”

Cut to the chase pals Could anybody confirm the southern pronunciation of "already" as something like oddy ? if so, What's its phonetic transcription? is there any eye spelling for it? I've noticed ...
1
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2answers
1k views

Why are the first syllables of “nature” and “natural” pronounced differently?

The two words nature and natural have the same root, so why are they pronounced differently?
1
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1answer
512 views

AmE Phonetics: < I don't n-> /aʊn/ [closed]

Cut to the chase: While listening to the record 2.0 Boys by Slaughterhouse I've noticed that Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden pronounce such sequence of sounds — namely "I don't know" around 1:55 and "...
18
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2answers
2k views

Is “corrosion” an instance of onomatopoeia?

I mean, obviously "corrosion" isn't actually onomatopoeic, because corrosion doesn't make a sound (or at least not one that humans can hear). Yet it seems to me that the word corrosion sounds like its ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Word that sounds like “metal” but means “grit”, “tenacity”, and “perseverance” [closed]

Somehow I am compelled to use the word "metal" to describe strong "intestinal fortitude", and perseverance however I can't find the spelling or any synonym like this. Does a word that sounds like "...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did /x/ change to /f/ in English?

As we know, the English language doesn't have the /x/ phoneme anymore (at least in an everyday kind of context*) and the sound seems to have been dropped in many words, such as in light or eight. ...
8
votes
1answer
365 views

Is there any Saxon word that contains /ʒ/?

Is there any Saxon (native) word that contains /ʒ/? All words containing that sound I can think of such as genre, garage, luge, vision, visual, etc. are from French.
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Difference between word-final iː, i and ɪ

As we know, English usually contrasts the two high front vowels /i:/ and /ɪ/, and many different minimal pairs exist for this (e.g. /sli:p/ vs /slɪp/). However, at the end of a word, we usually have ...
7
votes
1answer
16k views

Variations in the pronunciation of “ea”

Perhaps this is more of a Linguistics question, so I apologize if this is not posted in the right place. Why is it that these words in English sound so different? earth   = /ɜrθ/     “urth” hearth = ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is “have” pronounced with a “short a” sound?

As far as I'm aware, every word of the form consonant-a-v-e has a long a sound - cave, Dave, fave, gave, lave, nave, pave, rave, save and wave - every word except have. What is the story behind this ...
6
votes
2answers
970 views

Is a syllable defined phonetically or etymologically?

Reading recent postings about syllables I've been struck and baffled by talk of the possibility that words may have a different number of syllables when they are written than when they are spoken. Is ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

American English Pronunciation of “o” sound long or short?

I'm always confused about how to pronounce words with letter o in spelling. For example, in the word boss, I always pronounce the o as short o, when in fact it is long o. Collar is short, but I always ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are “suffice” and “sufficient” pronounced so differently?

Today I heard somebody use a form of the verb "suffice" (which means "to be sufficient") pronouncing it like the verb "surface" without an r (and where that "a" makes more of an "i" sound). This ...