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2answers
132 views

Why is there a word for 'H'? [duplicate]

Why is there a word for the letter H, but not for the other letters? In Lexico–formerly Oxford Dictionaries–for example, H = aitch, as in ‘drop one's aitches’
0
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0answers
22 views

Why is “Colonel” spelled the way it is but pronounced similar to it’s homonym “Kernal” [duplicate]

Not sure what else I can say here. I never understood the logic behind this pronunciation and wonder what the origin May be and if that has something to do with how it’s pronounced.
4
votes
1answer
99 views

Shouldn't we spell “extrovert” as “extravert”? [closed]

I saw the spelling extrovert in a text, but I intuitively felt that the correct spelling is extravert. I did a little research and read that extravert is commonly used in scientific/technical ...
1
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3answers
150 views

The pronunciation of the word 'junta'

I am just wondering if there is a historical explanation for the two different ways of pronouncing junta, a word of Spanish origin, with /h/ as in American English and with /dƷ/ in British English.
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Deciding pronunciation of new words that don't obey natural rules of a language

This question was sparked by considering the "word": pwn. "Pawn" and "-pone" are both existing written form and vocalizations, but "pown" pronounced like "pone" is not a valid written form. It exists ...
1
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2answers
187 views

When is word initial E pronounced /iː/ ? (as in 'Ego') [closed]

Words beginning with e usually be pronounced as /e/ or /ɪ /, for example: egg /eg/ effort /'efət/ explicit /ɪ k'splɪ sɪ t/ Very rarely, words are pronounced with /iː/, for example: epoch /'i:pɔk/ ...
0
votes
1answer
292 views

Why is the word 'heroine' not pronounced like 'hero-ine?'

Why is the word 'heroine' not pronounced like 'hero-ine' but instead like 'heroin?' It has the word 'hero' in it and it's the female equivalent of a hero. It's not like I use the word in public often ...
2
votes
1answer
244 views

Historical connections between “carnival” and “cannibalism”?

This may be a somewhat disturbing question, but as a non-native speaker, the word carnival seems very similar to a totally different word called cannibalism. I’m well aware of the difference between ...
1
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2answers
6k views

Is there a word spelled with a silent B at the start?

My dad and I were playing a game in the car where we picked a letter and then each alternated saying a word that started with that letter. We did it with b, for example, it might go: Dad: bath me:...
22
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2answers
3k views

Is there an etymological explanation for the silent ‘g’ in “paradigm”?

Whenever I come across the word paradigm, I have to make a small conscious effort not to pronounce the letter ‘g’. In Italian, it is spelled paradigma and each letter is individually pronounced i.e. ...
1
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0answers
21 views

Nw to textual pronunciation markup formats [closed]

I accidentally wrote a poem here. Actually, I'd just like to know what system allows me to attempt pronunciation of a PIE work in this notation: *kei- Is there a system from this? An academic ref ...
0
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0answers
61 views

Was upon ever pronounced like up-on?

Apparently, the word upon has its origin in the words up and on. Since I recently heard a non-native speaker pronounce upon as ['ʌpɒn], I would like to know if there is any record regarding the ...
26
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2answers
2k views

Irregular verbs: the history of the suffix “-en” used in past participles

Recently, I've been helping my home students learn the past participles of some of the irregular verbs, in a "new" way. Basically, I show that sometimes the suffix -(e)n is added to the PRESENT stem. ...
-1
votes
1answer
182 views

Why are cup sizes referred to as “double X” not “X squared” or “two X's”?

I was thinking about.. stuff.. When it comes to bra sizes, there are many different design standards and sizing systems. In Continental Europe there's an often used scale that is simply a letter ...
1
vote
1answer
405 views

Why is the “o’ in “clover”, “cove” and “over’ pronounced differently in “cover”?

Etymonline tells me that cover is derived from Old French and Late Latin. mid-12c., from Old French covrir (12c., Modern French couvrir) "to cover, protect, conceal, dissemble," from Late Latin ...
54
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7answers
6k views

What happened to the “ch” in moschito?

Mosquito > Moschito > Mosquito /məˈskito/ — [mɒˈskiːtəʊ], [məˈskiːtəʊ], [mɒˈskitoʊ], [məˈskitoʊ] The name of this insect is spelled with the letters ‹qu› in several languages, including Catalan ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do some people pronounce the word “Punjabi” as “Poonjabi”?

Why do some people pronounce the word "Punjabi" as "Poonjabi"? It's not a dialect issue, but it's strange because "pun" : "a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact ...
-1
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2answers
781 views

Why is “country” not pronounced like “count-tree”?

Why is country pronounced /ˈkʌntɹi/ and not /ˈkaʊntɹi/ ?
1
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0answers
131 views

What would be the etymologically Greek spelling of 'misogynoir'? [closed]

I wasn't too sure how best to phrase the title of this question, so hope I can better explain it here. For those who are perhaps unaware, 'misogynoir' is a term coined by queer Black feminist Moya ...
0
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0answers
60 views

When did letter “R” lose its “rolling” pronunciation in English, and how? [duplicate]

In most Latin languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Russian...), "R" is pronounced in a "rolling" way. For example, "relájate" pronounces like "llle-la-ya-tee", "русский" pronounces like "lllus-kia". This ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Of all the 'ph' as /f/ words, is there a reason why only 'sapphire' and 'Sappho' have 'pph'

We've discussed 'ph'=/f/ a few times but I don't believe this has come up before. Plenty of words have have ph from the Greek φ via Latin, but only sapphire, Sappho and obvious derivatives have pph (...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

When does “er” sound like “air”?

Why is "er" sometimes pronounced with a long a sound as in the words inherit, ceremonial, and hysteria? (But not in the words exercise or commercial)
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Pronunciation of “apartheid”

How do South Africans pronounce "apartheid"? Is there a British/U.S. divide on this? Does it depend on whether your primary language is Afrikaans or not -- or is that irrelevant? Does the last ...
1
vote
1answer
362 views

What is the origin of the adjective “peaked” (pronounced “pea-ked”), meaning “tired” in American English?

I was watching the movie "In the Line of Fire" (1993) with Clint Eastwood and Rene Russo. In one of the scenes, Russo tells Eastwood, "you were looking a little pea-ked out there", meaning tired/...
7
votes
3answers
841 views

When did Magdalen return to England?

From Mary of Magdala, the female disciple of Jesus Christ cited in the New Testament, we have the names Magdalen and Magdalene. Oxford Dictionaries includes the archaic definitions of magdalen, a ...
0
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1answer
8k views

“Bury vs. Berry” The Proper Pronunciation Edition

In America growing up in the Midwest, I've always heard people pronounce the word "bury" as if it were pronounced sounding the same as the word "berry". Ever since I've noticed this many years back ...
11
votes
2answers
575 views

Did the non-standard pronunciation of “gold” as “goold” come from an Old English sound change?

John Walker in his Critical Pronunciation Dictionary (1791) transcribes the pronunciation of the word “gold” as go¹ld, or go²o²ld which in modern transcription equates to /goʊld/ or /guːld/. He ...
2
votes
2answers
115 views

Why is the 'o' in 'antimony' pronounced differently than that in 'antinomy'?

So, 'antimony' comes from the latin 'antimonium', wherein the 'o' is pronounced as an /ō/. So, the 'o' in 'antimony' is pronounced as an /ō/. 'Antinomy' comes from the latin 'antinomia', wherein the ...
2
votes
1answer
527 views

Why does the suffix of “iodine” sound different in American and British English?

As an American, I noticed Fluorine and Iodine, though clearly sharing the same ending (and this was corroborated by etymonline.com; both contain the same chemical suffix) sounded different. Fluorine ...
20
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3answers
6k views

Why didn't “spiel” get spelled with an “sh”?

The pronunciation for "spiel" allows for either "speel" or "shpeel". The "shpeel" pronunciation is significantly more common where I live (American Midwest) and I'm curious why "spiel" didn't get the ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Etymology and Pronunciation of “Ouija”

Wikipedia offers two etymologies, and life experience has given me two pronunciations (wee-JA and WEE-jee). Etymology: Does the "ancient Egyptian word meaning 'good luck'" etymology hold water? ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the meaning and etymology of “cod-French” accent?

Here's a passage referring to re-enactments of the Battle of Hastings: As you might expect, the English king, Harold Godwinson, comes across as an essentially decent chap, albeit weary and ...
0
votes
1answer
336 views

Why does “know” rhyme with “go”, but “now” rhymes with “cow”? [duplicate]

I am curious about why we pronounce "know" as though it rhymes with "go", but "now" is pronounced as though it rhymes with "cow". My first thought was that somehow a "k" before an "n" modified the ...
4
votes
2answers
332 views

Origin of the Old English word, 'blithe'

From my Webster's International dictionary of 1947 the Old English word 'blithe' is predated by the Gothic word 'bleith'. I am curious to know if the letters 'ei' are still pronounced the same in that ...
10
votes
1answer
400 views

From the Spanish “xaquima” to the AmE “hackamore”

A hackamore: is a type of animal headgear which does not have a bit. Instead, it has a special type of noseband that works on pressure points on the face, nose, and chin. It is most commonly ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Why isn't the ‘P’ in psychology pronounced? [duplicate]

Why is the initial letter of some of the words like pneumonia, and psychology not pronounced?
3
votes
1answer
174 views

Is there a connection between the words “illicit” and “elicit”?

The words "illicit" and "elicit" seem to be spelled and pronounced similarly, although their meanings appear different. Is this a coincidence or is there a connection between the two words?
2
votes
1answer
741 views

Yod dropping - Why is there a distinction in the pronunciations of “sewn” and “hewn”?

"Sewn" is pronounced /sōn/, whereas "hewn" is pronounced /hyo͞on/. Is there a reason for the difference in their pronunciations despite their spellings and origins being similar?
6
votes
1answer
342 views

History/origin of the pronunciation/spelling of “Butcher”?

The pronunciation of the first syllable of butcher as /ˈbʊt͡ʃ ..../ is for non-native speakers astonishing. From spelling alone, one would probably guess that it's pronunciation would be more like ...
5
votes
2answers
374 views

Are you googlable?

The search engine Google was launched in 1998 and on that same year, the term googling was first used. The verb “to google” earned its official status in the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, ...
1
vote
2answers
742 views

The pronunciation of “peripheral”

Some time ago, I heard the pronunciation of the word peripheral on a TV show (Brain Games, to be exact). Very surprised to hear /pəɹɪfəɹəl/, I asked two close relatives whether that was how the word ...
0
votes
2answers
205 views

Etymologically correct pronunciations that few would accept

Have we been mispronouncing Mount Everest /ˌmaʊnt ˈev(ə)rəst/? It is true that the peak was named after Sir George Everest who pronounced his surname as Eve-rest. But does that etymological detail ...
2
votes
1answer
974 views

How did “ass” lose the 'r'?

The word "ass" (usually marked as "vulgar"; the one that means "buttocks," "butt," etc.) comes from Sanskrit, one would think, since the old Germanic version is not a stand-alone, but has its ...
6
votes
1answer
6k views

How did Spanish “Sevilla” become English “Seville”?

In Spanish, the name of this city is spelled Sevilla and pronounced /seˈβiʎa/, but in English it is spelled Seville and pronounced /sɛˈvɪl/. Having never heard of Sevilla/Seville until I went to ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is “renege” pronounced with a hard “g” sound?

The word renege comes from Medieval Latin renegare (source). It is the only English word of Latin origin I'm aware of that doesn't follow the soft g pronunciation rule. The g is hard even though there'...
2
votes
2answers
367 views

What was the original pronunciation of 'Zounds'?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the exclamation 'Zounds!' comes from the phrase 'God's wounds'. This seems to suggest that the original pronunciation rhymed with 'wounds' rather than '...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Thrown by 'broncho.' Or is it 'bronco'? Or 'bronc'?

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, first edition (1908) has this entry for broncho: Broncho (brŏn´kō), n. {Sp. bronco rough, wild.} A native or a Mexican horse of small size. {Western U.S.} Four ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Why is “meta” pronounced differently to “beta”?

Is there an etymological explanation to this? Why is "meta" pronounced ˈmɛtə while "beta" is pronounced ˈbeɪtə or ˈbiːtə? (Pronunciations taken from Cambridge Dictionaries Online)
1
vote
1answer
378 views

Why are these spellings pronounced “non phonetically?”

In Anglo English, the word ewe (female sheep) is pronounced "you," rather than, say, "e-weh." Likewise, the surname Ewell, is pronounced "yule," rather than "e-well." Why is that?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the pronunciation of “oa” in “broad” unique?

The "oa" in the word "broad" is pronounced like the words "or" or "awe". In phonetic symbols that is ɔː . However in all other examples I can think of it is pronounced like the "oe" in "toe". Or in ...