Questions tagged [pronunciation]

for questions about the sound, stress, or intonation of spoken words.

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What could possibly cause the stress shift in adverbs ending in -arily compared to adjectives ending in -ary?

While adjectives ending in -ary (British English /əri/, American English /eri/) never have stress on the second last syllable (the /e/ in AmE, and obviously the /ə/ in BrE), their derivative adverbs ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the dialect feature in British English where "W" is pronounced as "Y"?

It is very rare but I've heard some people from Great Britain pronouncing it like that for some reason. For instance: He said "However" pronouncing it as "Hoyiever". He said "...
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2 votes
0 answers
70 views

Pronunciation of 'Taxman'

Like Postman /ˈpəʊstmən/, Policeman /pəˈliːsmən/ and Fireman /faɪəmən/, one would assume that Taxman would also be pronounced with a schwa in the man. But this is not the case and it is pronounced /...
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2 answers
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The stress of the prefix 'inter-'

In some words, the stress is on the first syllable of inter, for stance, intercourse, interview, internet, interval. However, there are also some words, in which the stress is on the second syllable ...
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How was the è in past-tense verbs pronounced?

How would Shakespeare have pronounced damnèd for example? How about the end of Nurse's Song by Blake: The little ones leapèd, and shoutèd, and laugh'd And all the hills echoèd How would he have ...
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2 answers
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How to pronounce -est endings

Could you please confirm for me whether my understanding is correct about the pronunciation of the ending -est in superlative, for example: shortest, farthest, biggest,... -est is pronounced as /ɪst/ ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Is there a rule that describes vowel pronunciation changes in conjugated words? [duplicate]

I've noticed that sometimes when a word (generally a noun or adjective) gains or loses syllables, the pronunciation of the vowels will change. For example, horizon vs horizontal sociopath vs ...
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1 answer
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Schwa in Webster dictionary [closed]

Why there are too many sounds marked by schwa in Webster's dictionary and how to recognize the correct pronunciation? E.g.: Cup /kʌp/ in Oxford and \ˈkəp\ in Webster Notice /ˈnəʊtɪs/ in Oxford and \...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Why is Woodlesford pronounced the way it is?

Why is Woodlesford pronounced as Woo-dles-ford but not Wood-les-ford? Is there an "L" sound? Wikipedia says, "Widlesford, Wryd(e)lesford(e) and *wrīdels + ford", which confuse me ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Trouble pronouncing "queer" being myself a native British speaker [closed]

I'm a native British speaker from Bristol and for some reason I'm having real trouble pronouncing the word queer. Any ideas? I'm also fluent in German and for some reason I think I'm saying it with a ...
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"Be-all and end-all"?

There is the saying "Be-all and end-all", meaning a fundamental property of something. I noticed it is hard to pronounce because "and" and "end" sound the same. Is one &...
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1 vote
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Why do some words sound/feel more fake than others? Is there logic/psychology behind this phenomenon? [closed]

I was recently reading Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky poem and had the thought that some of the made-up words sounded more real than some real words. And looking at a list of words that are real but are ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Phonetic symbols for Port are different: Webster Internet vs Webster paper

Phonetic symbols are different for the same word Port. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary on the Internet: port noun (1) \ ˈpȯrt \ Definition of port (Entry 1 of 10) 1: a place where ships may ride ...
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Phonetic symbol - superscript h in Which [duplicate]

Q1) What is the meaning of the small h (superscript h) in the phonetic symbols of which shown in Collins? ʰwɪ̠tʃ the small h means 'complete silence' (= just ignore h) the small h means 'pronounce ...
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pronunciation of plural words ending in "-ses" derived from non-Greek language [duplicate]

I hear TV journalists pronounce plurals like "biases" and "processes" with the long e sound. Can you comment on this conflation of pronunciation?
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32 votes
5 answers
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Where did the third syllable of the letter W in WD-40 go?

Today, I was taking a look at how to pronounce the name WD-40. A quick google search dropped me here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8SwN_qw3AA My Spanish ear is very new to the English language, ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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When is the "t" pronounced in won’t, don’t, can’t?

I am a speaker of Canadian English. I have noticed that when people pronounce won’t, don’t, and can’t, often when speaking normally, they don’t release the “t”, as in connected speech. The standard ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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Pronunciation of ‘-eru-’

I’ve just come across the word ‘glomerular’ and I’m genuinely irked by how difficult it is to pronounce the eru bit. It seems online that the r is omitted, turning it into more of a yuh sound. Does ...
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2 votes
1 answer
93 views

Why have some younger & (in particular) highly-educated Americans recently begun to pronounce -t- as -d- in words where glottal -t- is idiomatic?

I'm not talking about "bidder" for "bitter" or "sidding" for "sitting," or "ladder" for "latter," etc. I'm talking about "Manhaddan,&...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How is "composite" as a verb pronounced in British English?

I always pronounce "composite" as COM-posite when it is used as an adjective or a noun. But in some technical contexts as "alpha compositing" it is also used as a verb, and in this ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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American English region where "here" is pronounced "cheer"

On the Andy Griffith Show the characters from Mayberry (modeled on Mount Airy NC) pronounce "here" as "cheer". This can be heard at second 29 of Andy Griffith Football Story from ...
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1 vote
0 answers
34 views

Is the at-sign in Instagram handles pronounced? [closed]

I realize that this question is likely factually unanswerable, but I am curious about opinions and argument for either option. Say I want to write at the end of an article that I want my reader to ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is short /ɪ/ or long /i:/ being used for the pronunciation of "Mid" on Cambridge Online Dictionary

To my ears, the Cambridge dictionary pronounces the word "Mid" /mɪd/ really like /mi:d/ for British accent. So the long /i:/ is being used instead of the short /ɪ/. Compare: https://...
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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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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When did "vegetable" become "vetchtable"?

I was watching a video that referenced the "Major General Song" from The Pirates of Penzance in 1879, and I noticed that the writers clearly use vegetable as a 4-syllable word. The Wiki ...
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0 votes
0 answers
28 views

Present subordinate clause using "when" followed by a main clause in the past

Recently, I've listened to this version (on YouTube) of Led Zeppelin's song When the Levee Breaks. In this part of the song this guy sings "when the levee breaks, I had no place to stay", ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Word for the phenomenon of pronouncing the noun & verb (with like spelling) differently? [duplicate]

Some words are both nouns and verbs (or rather, there are words with like etymology and spelling but one is a noun and the other a verb) but in at least some standard dialects are pronounced ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Oxymoron pronunciation

I have a question about the pronunciation of the word 'oxymoron'. Some dictionaries it says the word should be pronounced as: ˌɑkˈsiˈmɔrɑn, with the 'EE', vowel. (For example The Free Dictionary) ...
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21 votes
3 answers
5k views

Where are the people writing "would of" from?

As a non-native speaker, I would never have guessed that this mistake was a thing before I read it on the web. Since it makes no grammatical sense, I can guess that it can only be seen in the writing ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Proper pronunciation of the word "polar"

Most websites/references online seem to indicate that polar (as in polar bear, or polar opposite) is pronounced with an "er" phonogram ending (as in "her"). However a phonetic ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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/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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Need to learn pronunciation terminology

I apologize in advance if I phrased my title incorrectly. I consider myself to be well-read, and usually don't have much need for asking how to pronounce something or define it. However, on rare ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why is semibreve commonly pronounced as ˈsɛm iˌbriv?

I am seeing this on some dictionary sites: / ˈsɛm iˌbriv, -ˌbrɛv / But, I've only heard it (in Anglophone musical contexts) as ˈsɛm iˌbriv. I wasn't aware about a cafe breve until yesterday. This ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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How is "of " pronounced?

I was wondering why we pronounce the word of as ä in the phrase "piece of cake" and as ov in the phrase "part of life". What I've tried: After searching on the internet, I've ...
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3 votes
1 answer
109 views

“One syllable” words ending in -re

I’m an American (in upper Midwest) teaching my child about one-syllable words ending in Silent E, such as kite, which makes gives first vowel a long vowel sound. You might know these as VCe syllables (...
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0 votes
3 answers
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How to pronounce Corps' with the apostrophe

I came across the phrase "Apple Corps’ London office". I know I should pronounce corps the same as "core", but how should I do it with the s'? The whole sentence is: But Jackson ...
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1 vote
0 answers
47 views

How common is the secondary pronunciation of chestnut (non-silent t) [closed]

Until recently, I was convinced that the first t in chestnut is silent. However, the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary includes ['tʃestnʌt] as a secondary variant. Interestingly, the Oxford Learner's ...
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0 votes
1 answer
94 views

How to accent the 'a'/second syllable in Oscar?

If you had a character (male) called Oscar but the emphasis was on the second syllable how would you write that? With a macron on the a? For example, pronounced Oscarr or Oscaar (with the a sound from ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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General American: very as / ˈvɛɹi / or / ˈveɹi /, more as / ˈmɔɹ / or / ˈmoɹ /, and chair as / t͡ʃɛəɹ / or / t͡ʃeəɹ / [duplicate]

I read this comment on Youtube. is it possible that the sound / ɹ / tends to close the vowels that precede it? For example, at least to me, [very] / ˈvɛɹi / sounds more like / ˈveɹi /, [more] / ˈmɔɹ /...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Should the first h in Nehemiah be silent? If so, why?

I hear many native speakers do not pronounce the first h in Nehemiah. However, I also found a video pronouncing this h. I am wondering about the correct pronunciation of Nehemiah in English. This ...
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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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
77 views

I pronounce initial R's with my upper teeth on the very bottom of my inside lower lip. Not rhotic. What's the IPA for this?

The Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciation_of_English_/r/) doesn't mention an option for pronouncing R where the upper teeth are really, really at the bottom of the inside lower ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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/iu:/ and /ju:/ sound differences? [closed]

How community /kəˈmjuːnəti/ can have j inside it ? And I have struggled with it for last night. According to what i have researched, /j/ is equals /i:/ but faster. I try to pronounce beautiful slow ...
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25 votes
2 answers
3k views

When and why did English stop pronouncing ‘hour’ with an [h] like its spelling still shows?

As a non-native speaker, I had been pronouncing hour in the literal, letter-by-letter way as [ˈhaʊə(ɹ)]. Then I learned that its written h is silent in speech, and that you therefore needed to say an ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why is "purchase" pronounced the same as a verb and as a noun, unlike other words such as increase? [closed]

Many words which can act as a noun and a verb pronounce differently in the different parts of speech. As a verb, the stress in on the second syllable, while as a noun, the first, such as INcrease (...
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4 votes
1 answer
271 views

Do many Americans have trouble pronouncing "fr" in "infrastructure"?

Infrastructure has been much in the news lately, because of the bill that has been moving through Congress for months and finally passed last week. As such, lots of people have been interviewed about ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Do some Americans in the Midwest pronounce "sorry" similarly to Canadians?

I just listened to the closing arguments from the defense team in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. At one point, Mr. Rittenhouse’s lawyer pronounced the word “sorry” in a way that to my non-native ears ...
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0 votes
0 answers
43 views

Australian pronunciation of the word "mum" (for mother)

As a native Midwestern U.S. speaker of American English, I had always assumed that the vowel in the word "mum" (meaning "mother") would be pronounced the same as the "u" ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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pronunciation of the 'ous' in dangerous

When I look up the word dangerous, the IPA spellings almost always show up as /ˈdānj(ə)rəs/ Maybe it's regional (Southern Ontario), but I don't encounter that pronunciation lot. And I probably use it ...
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0 votes
1 answer
81 views

How to recognize stressed and unstressed syllables? (E.g. admit vs limit) [duplicate]

I wonder is there any simple rules to recognize is a syllable stressed or unstressed. When I try to pronounce any word, I don't recognize any of the following features of a stressed syllable: 1) ...
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