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Questions tagged [pronunciation-vs-spelling]

Questions about putative differences between spelling and pronunciation.

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13 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is the ‘t’ in ‘witch’ considered a silent t?

I was under the impression that because ‘witch’ ends with a /tʃ/ sound, the ‘t’ is not silent but directly represents an essential element of the pronunciation. However, a word game (the New York ...
76987's user avatar
  • 155
0 votes
0 answers
74 views

Why are the words "mobile" and "profile" pronounced differently in American English? [closed]

Why is it like that even though both of them end in the same letters?
Niklas's user avatar
  • 67
1 vote
0 answers
33 views

Pronunciation of a made up word [closed]

If the word "movist" was real, how would you pronounce it? "moo-vist" or "moe-vist" (as in "rover"/"clover"). Thanks.
user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
350 views

Why isn't the vowel in the words "warm" and "war" (in American English) pronounced like the one in the word "talk" (American English)?

Right. What is the actual reason?
Niklas's user avatar
  • 67
1 vote
0 answers
53 views

What's the best way in writing to emphasize the pronunciation "wise-er" for the word "wiser"?

Suppose I want to write the sentence "He may not be wise, but he is surely wise-er than he used to be" with the spelling "wise-er" meant to indicate that the word "wiser" ...
Daniel Asimov's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

What could expender mean in the following context? [closed]

I recently encountered the following text in a web page specification sheet: Most tables have expenders in each line and There should be new tree named Item that is expended above type of Items ...
dbatno's user avatar
  • 13
0 votes
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
  • 808
-1 votes
1 answer
74 views

Pronunciation difference b/w Python and Pyramid

Why is "Python" pronounced differently than "Pyramid"? Is there a logic behind why the "PY" is pronounced differently in both?
user492591's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
108 views

Do spell and pronounce mean the same? [closed]

I am seeing many reels on Instagram where they ask a person "Can you spell Y, E, S". The person says "Yes". Then they ask him "Can you spell E, Y, E, S". The person says &...
SupaCoda's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
4k views

When someone spells out letters in dialogue, should they be capitalized? "P-L-E-A-S-E" vs. "p-l-e-a-s-e"

I'm not finding the answer to this on the internet after searching. When writing dialogue, do you use capital letters to spell out words? Jamie said, "I said P-L-E-A-S-E please, and don't you ...
Bettey's user avatar
  • 211
0 votes
1 answer
131 views

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
4 votes
2 answers
184 views

Was the o in "go" and oe in "toe" pronounced differently in early 19th century Gloucestershire English?

No modern dialect makes the <o> and <oe> distinction, but when reading Medhurst's Hokkien dictionary of 1832 i came across (page 34) Furthermore, <o> seems to be a monophthong and &...
iamanigeeit's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
28 views

Why do we say some initialisms and acronyms as words but not others? [duplicate]

Initialisms and acronyms with vowels can be said as single words. Is there any coherent pattern or convention determining the choice? VIP? LOL? DIY? WAG? For example?
Daniel Watts's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
182 views

Why did English take the "mix pronunciations and spellings" route instead of one rule route like French, or separate languages/dialects like Spanish? [closed]

Like the multiple pronunciations of "ough" or different spellings for the same sounds in English I've read come from mixing different dialects into one language. Whereas with French, they ...
user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
4k views

In 18th century England, was "eat" the past tense of "eat" and how was it pronounced?

In Boswell's London Journal (1762-3), the author expresses the past tense of the verb eat with the same spelling: I sat in till between four and five. I then went to Holborn, to a cheesemonger's, and ...
Robusto's user avatar
  • 152k
0 votes
2 answers
127 views

Is hilarious pronounced /hɪˈlɛriəs/?

For the word hilarious, the pronunciation transcription in the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary is /hɪˈlɛriəs/ but if I click on the speaker icon, I hear /həˈlɛriəs/. Am I listening to it wrong or ...
Nam N's user avatar
  • 65
1 vote
1 answer
93 views

Is there an unambiguous grapheme for /aʊ/? [closed]

When reading a book I encountered the town/locality "Slough", which got me thinking about how it's one of many towns in Britain that are spelled confusingly (I'm looking at you Gloucester!). ...
Matt Chambers's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
211 views

How to explain to a five year old why certain words are spelled this way [closed]

My five-year-old is learning phonics. I give him spelling test time to time. I asked him to spell "Hair" and he spelled it as "Her" & then I told him this is incorrect spelling....
OpenStack's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
1 answer
92 views

"bus" and "cut" pronounciations? [duplicate]

So there are words that use "bus" but where this group of letters is pronounced differently: busy - "bizzy" bus/bust - "bas/bast" Case 2: Similarly with "cut" ...
Rares Dima's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
59 views

How can the difference between the chemistry words of valence and valency be described as a spelling difference when it makes them sound so different?

How can the difference between the chemistry words of valence and valency be described as a spelling difference when it makes them sound so different? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valence_(chemistry) ...
barlop's user avatar
  • 225
0 votes
3 answers
1k views

Which English is spoken in continental Europe? British, American , or its own version

Many Europeans speak English. What version is this English? is it British, American or its own continental English? If it's continental English which does it most closely resemble, British or American,...
TheGreat's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is 'e' pronounced like 'a' in some words?

I'm not a native English speaker and I have noticed that 'e' in some words are pronounced like 'a' by native speakers sometimes. For example, "Texas" sounds like "Taxes", or "...
Sepp A's user avatar
  • 37
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why do we pronounce pretty like /ˈprɪtɪ/?

Why do we pronounce pretty like /ˈprɪtɪ/ while according to the rule it must be [ˈpretɪ]?
Vero's user avatar
  • 137
21 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is the D in words like Fridge and Bridge silent?

The other day, I was discussing the pronunciation of fridge with friends on a social media group. They insisted that the d in fridge is completely silent. Is that so? I have always said it with a ...
Mohan Sivanand's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
207 views

What is the origin of several pronunciations of "the"?

Courtesy links: https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/123348/what-is-the-correct-pronunciation-of-the What is the pronunciation of "the"? The has two pronunciations: "thuh" /ðə/ ...
Arunabh's user avatar
  • 199
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Pronunciation of Edinburgh

Why is the Scottish capital Edinburgh pronounced as Edinbruh? It is not clear to me why the letter "u" is silent, so that the "b" is followed directly by the "r". Then a ...
M. Wind's user avatar
  • 269
-2 votes
2 answers
562 views

Why are "just" and "justice" written with a "j", while "language" is written with a "g", when they all come from Latin?

The word "language" comes from Latin and is written with a "g". The adjective "just" and its noun form "justice" also come from Latin. These are the only words ...
Arunabh's user avatar
  • 199
4 votes
1 answer
623 views

Why is 'u' in "study" short if the 'u' in "student" is long?

Why is 'u' in "study" short if the 'u' in "student" is long? Both come from Latin "studere", right? In Latin, the 'u' in "studere" is short.
FlatAssembler's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
106 views

Is this pronunciation transcript understandable for people who know British English?

I wonder how to write down the pronunciation of words in English without using IPA. Sometimes on the internet I have seen something like this: It is pronounced like uh-aw-to-muh-tuh Or It is ...
Donterioo's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
447 views

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 ...
imida k's user avatar
  • 253
2 votes
0 answers
163 views

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 ...
meepyer's user avatar
  • 708
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
-3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is Chaos pronounced with K not like SH? [closed]

Chaos one of the hardest words for me to remember how to type, the reason mostly how it is spelled is not (at least in my mind) how it should be written. Do I miss something related to 'CH' ...
Salem's user avatar
  • 95
0 votes
1 answer
5k views

Should we pronounce "Macedonia" with a hard k?

I know that many words loaned from Greek to English have gone through a transition from a hard-k kappa to a soft sibilant sound. For example, English "cybernetics" comes from Greek "...
Corbin's user avatar
  • 103
4 votes
1 answer
411 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 (...
EJ Mak's user avatar
  • 223
0 votes
1 answer
176 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 ...
Lyall's user avatar
  • 210
4 votes
2 answers
389 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
489 views

How did English come to use a writing system which makes spelling it so hard?

Alphabetic writing systems use graphemes to represent phonemes. But in their “Psychology of Reading” chapter of 2003’s Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, researchers Simon Garrod and Meredyth Daneman ...
Louis Liu's user avatar
  • 665
0 votes
1 answer
715 views

Did you initially thought "comparable" was pronounced as "com-pair-able"? [duplicate]

And were you surprised to learn it pronounced as "com-pra-ble"?
des's user avatar
  • 9
1 vote
0 answers
248 views

Why appear, appearance are spelled with "ea", but apparent, apparently are spelled with "a"? [closed]

For the word appear, the verb and noun are spelled with "ea", but the adverb and adjective are spelled with "a", why do they have different vowels given that they have the same ...
Peter Santorin's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are "mobile" and "automobile" pronounced differently?

I just came across the words and then I looked them both up in the dictionary app, which shows the word "mobile" pronounces as /'məʊbaɪl/, whereas the other word-"automobile", ...
Dai_Lizhi86's user avatar
-3 votes
4 answers
820 views

How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake? [duplicate]

How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake? For example: Your the best. This iz the end. I likes music. She preatend to be asleep. One method is to read the erroneous sentence aloud (...
Géry Ogam's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
702 views

Why is "soccer" pronounced with a hard "c"?

I have seen that in "soccer", the 'c' is pronounced as 'k', though it is followed by 'e'. The word "soccer" comes from "(As)soc(iation football) + -er". But even in "...
Arunabh's user avatar
  • 199
1 vote
2 answers
551 views

Why the "oo" in "noon" is pronounced sounding like "you" while the word "moon" isn't? [closed]

I was taught to pronounce the oo in either afternoon or noon as /u:/ ~~the oo in nook~~ until I found some native speakers pronounce the noon sounding like new-n (videos). But the AmE IPA in the ...
Guoyang Qin's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
246 views

Does English allow /eɪʃ/ in the end of a syllable (in the same syllable)?

The sound /ʃ/ is almost always spelled with more than one letter i.e. with a digraph unlike, say, /p/ which is spelled with a single letter (pan, pen, pie). I have noticed a particular pattern: vowels ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
69 views

How would you write the word /ˈtɪə.rɒn/? [closed]

I'm writing a book and made a word called /ˈtɪə.rɒn/ (reading it like TEARdrop + iRON, or something like TEARON). The story is supposed to be medieval fantasy and I'm not a native speaker so I'm not ...
Eduardo Louzado's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
274 views

How was ‘only’ (‘onely’) pronounced in early modern English?

I have noticed in some older English literature, that ‘only’ is written ‘onely’. Was this merely an example of historical spelling, or does it reveal an earlier pronunciation not as modern /ˈəʊnlɪ/, ...
Canned Man's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why does the word ‘suffix’ have a double ‘ff’ while ‘prefix’ has a single ‘f’?

While writing the word ‘suffix’, I stopped to do a spellcheck as a result of the ‘ff’. I did not do so with the word ‘prefix’ as I was comfortable with the ‘pre’ and ‘fix’. I looked up ‘ff’ vs. ‘f’ ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
176 views

The "Elephant and Apple" - Phonetical Spelling of NY(C) with normal letters [closed]

Some toponyms change over time: Be it by pronunciation (Los Angeles, New Orleans) or by changing the wording/spelling to either make more sense to the speaker (the London district "Elephant and ...
Creative Frankenstein's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
186 views

Is this a bet or a dare? [closed]

If i tell a friend to climb a car an he get’s 2 euro if he does this. Is this than a bet or a dare?
Brittzzz's user avatar

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