Questions tagged [pronunciation-vs-spelling]

Questions about putative differences between spelling and pronunciation.

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5
votes
2answers
112 views

Why did English lose “-an” endings?

I saw this ending in many words of old English origin where a word has -an in old English but then lost in Modern English. Examples: habban, climban, sceþþan, singan, offrian etc. I noticed another ...
1
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1answer
48 views

Why g in gel sounds as j

Gel and jel are homophones, but why g sounds as j in that case (and similar words as gelatin)? Is it related to word origin? Borrowed from French gélatine (“jelly, gel”), from Italian gelatina (“...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Two 'x's in “anti-vaxxer”

I have always found myself impulsively and automatically spelling "anti-vaxxer" with two 'x's, and a Google search indicates that most other media sources did the same; however, I can't ...
3
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7answers
289 views

Where does “Whatcha” & “Didja” come from?

Does anyone know where "Whatcha" and/or "Didja" originate from? Watcha: What did you? Didja: Did you? Edit: I cannot find these words in my English Grammar books and they are ...
0
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1answer
176 views

Why is the sound 'air' in words like 'chair', 'pear' and 'where' considered a phoneme? Should it not be considered a blend of the sound? [closed]

We know that phonemes are the smallest unit of sound in speech, and that in the IPA, each character represents only one sound. Wouldn't 'air' be considered two sounds - the combination of the sound /...
1
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2answers
83 views

What rule governs “panic->panicking” and why? Would it apply to all -ic verbs? [duplicate]

It seems odd that the continual tense of "to panic" is "panicking". Or "picnic->picnicking". When did the "k" get added, and why? Surely the natural ...
0
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1answer
177 views

What’s the rule for the sound of the letter A in the middle of three-letter words?

How do you actually pronounce A when it's in the middle of a 3 letter word like mac or rap? I hear many Americans say those words with a clear AAA sound, like the AA sound of the start of the word ...
0
votes
2answers
197 views

Why is the word “cello” pronounced with CH /tʃ/ and not S?

I have always been pronouncing the word "cello" and "ciao" with a /s/ sound but today I found out that they were actually /tʃ/ ⟨ch⟩. It is /ˈtʃɛloʊ/ and /ˈtʃaʊ/. The letter C gives ...
1
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0answers
30 views

Why are spoken and written English so different? [duplicate]

This is in some way a question regarding the evolution of the English language: why did it happen that, more than any alphabetic lamguage that I know of, English language has developed such ...
1
vote
2answers
239 views

Pronunciation of ‘monotonous'

I am just curious why 'monotonous' is pronounced mo·not·o·nous and not mono.tonous following the Greek origin of the word as mono + tone. Mono and tone could be pronounced alone and actually they ...
-2
votes
1answer
64 views

Do native English speakers pronouce b as m?

I very often study English and try to improve my listening skill with some educational materials. And I just encountered a sentence, "Once he made an alarm clock for cats – you know, to wake them ...
0
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1answer
152 views

Why is there a ‘w’ in the word ‘Answer’? [closed]

This might sound silly. I understand ‘w’ is silent. But what purpose does ‘w’ serve? Why is it important to have ‘w’ in there? Why not just ‘Anser’ like it’s pronounced?
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2answers
164 views

Why are 'electric', 'electricity' and 'electrician' pronounced differently?

Why are the words electric, electricity and electrician pronounced differently? Electric -> /iˈlek.trɪk/ Electricity -> /ˌel.ɪkˈtrɪs.ə.ti/ Electrician -> /ˌɪl.ekˈtrɪʃ.ən/ My main question ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Rules for pronouncing the “gh” sound [duplicate]

In English, we have many words ending in or containing “gh”, but in some cases, the two letters are silent, while in others, it is pronounced as “f” . We have the words tough, rough, and draught, ...
0
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0answers
25 views

Rhyming in the 17th and 18th centuries. e.g. “eye” and “symmetry” [duplicate]

I first ran across this problem in reading William Blake's the Tiger many years ago. In the first stanza "eye" is obviously meant to rhyme with "symmetry." Recently I ran across ...
1
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0answers
68 views

How did English final /əl/ come to usually be spelled “le”?

English has suffixes spelled "-le" and pronounced /əl/ with several meanings. However, they variously come from Old English -el, -ol, -ul, and -lian. Of these, only -lian has a vowel after ...
1
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0answers
32 views

Why are the reasons behind the common pronunciation-spelling mismatches in English?

For example, why aren't "t"s pronounced like "d"s spelled as "d"s? Why isn't spot spelled sbot? What about "ph"s and "gh"s? I'd like to form a ...
3
votes
1answer
175 views

Why does the noun “assumption” lose the “p” when it goes to verb form: “assume?”

Nouns such as "consumption," "assumption," and "presumption" all have the letter "p" but their verb forms, "consume," "assume," and "presume" do not. Why is that? Is there a simple linguistics reason?...
0
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2answers
195 views

Why is the 'cy' in cycle and cynic pronounced differently

Consider the following example: Cynic → /ˈsɪn.ɪk/ Cylinder → /ˈsɪl.ɪn.də(r)/ Cycle → /ˈsʌɪk(ə)l/ Cynic and cylinider are stressed on first syllables yet the cy is pronounced /sɪ/ and not /saɪ/ (as ...
2
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1answer
123 views

Why is h silent in honor but not in hone

Hone and honor both start with "hon" but h is silent in honor but not in hone. I googled it and searched everywhere but didn't find the answer. Can you help me please?
22
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2answers
4k views

Why does “signature” have a “g” sound but “sign” doesn't?

The following words don't have /g/ sound: sign, resign, design. But why is there a "g" sound in the following derived words? Signature, resignation, designate. I searched their etymologies because I ...
5
votes
2answers
485 views

Solve and resolve pronunciation

Solve starts with /s/ sound and when a prefix re- is added to it, it is pronounced with /z/ sound. Why does it happen? Solve -> /sɒlv/ Resolve -> /rɪˈzɒlv/
0
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1answer
181 views

Why are river and sliver pronounced with a short vowel, but rover and slider pronounced with long vowels?

Why are river and sliver pronounced with a short vowel, but rover and slider pronounced with long vowels? Is it because the latter two examples are words made by attaching the -er suffix to an ...
1
vote
1answer
174 views

Why are conscience and science pronounced differently?

Conscience has a /ʃ/ sound in the middle of the word. Science has a /saɪ/ sound, not a /ʃ/ sound. What rule makes conscience have the /ʃ/ sound and what rule makes science have the /saɪ/ sound? They ...
6
votes
1answer
669 views

Pronunciation of 'has' (/z/ or /s/) before /tʃ/

When 's' comes before a voiced consonant, it's usually pronounced as /z/. Example: He has been banned. (here 's' is pronounced as /z/ because the following consonant is voiced.) On the other hand, ...
0
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1answer
62 views

How to divide words with silent consonants?

I wonder how to divide words such as 'assumption' at the end of line, when a consonant (in this case 'p') in the middle of the word is silent (/əˈsʌmʃən/). Which syllable (and line) does the "p" ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

U.K. regional anomaly in pronouncing -ought

I'm reading Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, written in 1749 and based in Somersetshire. I'm intrigued by Fielding's unusual but consistent representation of the way some less-educated characters pronounce ...
1
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1answer
177 views

Voiceless noun endings with voiced verb endings

We can use that idea. That idea has no conceivable use. It is necessary to house these students. The will reside in that house. I cannot prove that. I have no proof. I can breathe. Every breath I take ...
0
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3answers
146 views

Interweaving A and E (e.g., æ) in written words [duplicate]

New to this particular community. My question relates to the word propaedeutic. In particular, I have witnessed the "a" interwoven with "e" to produce propædeutic. I once read that this is an ...
0
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1answer
240 views

Rendezvous with Ray [closed]

Rendezvous is one of the English words whose pronunciation is nothing to do with its spelling .I have come across the word in the lesson Rendezvous with Ray I have understood ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Is “suite” pronounced like “suit” in any native English-speaking countries?

The word suite is pronounced the same as sweet in British and American English. Surprisingly, even some educated Indians mispronounce it almost similar to suit. Even name boards ...
4
votes
1answer
333 views

Does there exist a word with H sounds like [eɪtʃ]?

I'm not a native English speaker, but the question is interesting. I've never met such a word. I mean the word is not an initialism (like PhD) or acronym.
0
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0answers
59 views

Correct pronunciation

Is the correct pronunciation of an English word mutable according to popular usage? I don’t want to mispronounce words the way I hear them used because people ignore the correct spelling ie ibuprofen ...
0
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0answers
63 views

What are the proper terms for the way you say vs write something?

We all know if something is three-dimensional you would write 3D. If someone says it aloud, you would hear "three dee". What are the right terms for one vs the other? EDIT To further clarify, I am ...
2
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0answers
65 views

“An Universal Etymological English Dictionary”. Why “An Universal”?

My question is not about the general usage of a/an, so, I believe, it is not a duplicate one. It is specifically about the title of the dictionary An Universal Etymological English Dictionary ...
1
vote
2answers
823 views

How to spell what sounds like “ish” or “eesh”? [duplicate]

I've heard this word a lot of times, but still don't know how to write it down. It's used when you want to show some kind of disgust, or something like that. It sounds like "ish" or "eesh". I've ...
1
vote
1answer
123 views

Rase: another spelling of raze (literary) [closed]

Is the spelling using s as opposed to z really literary as the Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 purportedly explains? Raze 1. completely destroy place: to destroy or level a building or settlement ...
43
votes
16answers
9k views

Are there any English words pronounced with sounds/syllables that aren't part of the spelling? [closed]

There are many English words with silent letters, words like gnome or island that are spelt with consonants that aren't pronounced, but are there any words that work the other way round, with a ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

The spelling “ui” and the pronunciation /uː/ in juice, fruit, bruise, cruise, sluice, suit, nuisance, recruit, bruit

The words juice, fruit, bruise, cruise, sluice, suit, pursuit, suitcase, lawsuit, nuisance, recruit, bruit are spelled with ui and pronounced with the IPA phoneme /uː/. Full pronunciations from OED: ...
2
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2answers
1k views

One letter refers to two sounds — what is it called?

There are words where one letter refers to two different sounds, e.g. eighth, where T exists itself and also makes a /θ/ sound, or threshold, which is sometimes pronounced with a /h/ sound, especially ...
0
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2answers
1k views

Why do we pronounce 'Mother' as 'Mather' but we write it as 'Mother'? [closed]

This question was asked by my son: Why do we pronounce 'Mother' as 'Mather' but we write it as 'Mother'? I don't know what to say. He keeps on writing 'Mather'. He is not agreeing. Please suggest ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

Was it ever standard to pronounce “malinger” to rhyme with “ginger”?

In The Pronunciation of Standard English in America, by George Philip Krapp (1919), I found the following surprising statement: For malinger the standard pronunciation is [mə´lɪndʒə̉ɹ], though ...
0
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1answer
13k views

How do you spell windey? [closed]

sorry dumb question, but: How do you spell "windy" as in a winding road could be described as "windy" Not to be confuse with "the weather is windy" Also, is there a better way I could have figured ...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

How does one read aloud a birth year with no death year? Eg: John Smith (1994 – )

It is common to notate someone's lifespan using the syntax [year of birth] – [year of death]. When the subject is still living, you simply omit the death year, such as 1994 –. When reading this aloud,...
5
votes
2answers
84 views

Different etymologies for spoken and written forms

I know a word in another language which appears at first to have a highly irregular spelling that does not match the pronunciation. However, further examination suggests that the spoken and written ...
1
vote
1answer
252 views

Pronunciation vs Spelling of Done [closed]

Why is 'Done' pronounced with a short ŏ vowel sound instead of the long ō vowel sound? Rules typically dictate when a word ends with an E, it changes the O to a long vowel sound. I've tried to find ...
3
votes
1answer
542 views

I pronounce question as kweshtin. Is my pronunciation wrong?

I've lived in Houston,TX for about 10 years and after that I moved to the ME and I've made friends since then. Whenever they heard me say kweshtin they told me my pronunciation was weird. I told them ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

GAOL origin isn't English [closed]

If the origin is French and the British have adapted it, why would they claim America corrupted the so-called English version if it wasn't theirs to begin with? And why must a simple word like jail ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

When does a word end in 't' vs 'te'. eg. Why 'context' does not end with an 'e' but 'participate' does? [closed]

English is not our first language. Practising English dictation with my 6-year-old it is always confusing to know from the sound of the word when it ends in 't' or 'te', is there a rule when a word ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Interested in 'naive' pronunciation

I'd like to know why 'naive' is pronounced ny-eve but is spelt naive. Where is the ny part coming from? 'na-' isn't pronounced ny, and if the ny part is nai-, then there is only -ve left. This is ...

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