Questions tagged [pronunciation-vs-spelling]

Questions about putative differences between spelling and pronunciation.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
0
votes
3answers
533 views

Why isn't “examine” pronounced like “exhamyne”? [closed]

Since "mine" sounds like: https://translate.google.com/#en/en/mine Then "examine" should sound like: https://translate.google.com/#en/en/exhamyne But it does not, why? To hear the pronunciations ...
1
vote
1answer
531 views

About odd pronunciations of “Saturday”

Have you ever heard someone pronounce Saturday as "Sara-day" or maybe "Sair-day"? I’ve an in-law who does this. His parents were New Englanders, but by the time he was born, they lived in New Jersey ...
44
votes
2answers
9k views

What's up with the pronunciation of “awry”?

I was just watching a show where someone said "awry". I have noted this numerous times before and wondered, but now I just have to understand: Why is it pronounced as "aww-rye" [low tone on the aww] ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is the word “folks” pronounced [foʊks]?

Why is the word folks sound like it’s pronounced [foʊks] rather than [fɔɫks]? It’s as though people are thinking it’s spelled fokes.
94
votes
7answers
28k views

Why is Nike pronounced “naikee” and not “naik”?

A word ending with e usually doesn't have a vowel at the end like bike and strike, so why is Nike different?
16
votes
4answers
7k views

Should “ate” and “eight” be pronounced exactly alike?

Is pronouncing "ate" and "eight" differently wrong? When I say "ate" it sounds like "ate" itself and when I say "eight" it sounds like "ey-ht" is that a wrong pronunciation? I understand ...
3
votes
1answer
153 views

What's the history of the English letter “Y” as a “sometimes vowel”?

Wondering when and why historically the Anglo-Saxon letter "Y" became a (part-time) vowel substitute for the letter "I", leading to "gymnasium" instead of "gimnasium" or "cyanide" instead of "cianide" ...
1
vote
1answer
245 views

When did the media start to pronounce 'nuclear' as 'nucular'? [closed]

I first noticed George W. unable to pronounce the word nuclear, when he was in office. But now I am hearing nucular from various media commentators. Was it 'W' who started it ? [Note: I worked in ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

What word has the most silent letters? [closed]

I was just having a conversation about silent letters and the question came up: what English word has the most silent letters?
0
votes
0answers
38 views

What is the correct/popular pronunciation of Probably? [duplicate]

I heard people pronouncing "Probably" as "Praw-b-lee", is this limited to particular area or it is correct pronunciation every should follow.
1
vote
1answer
361 views

Pronunciation of berk and Berkshire

When I was young (1950's southern England) I learned that Berkshire, pronounced "BARK-sheer" was a county the other side of London, and that a "berk", pronounced to rhyme with "work" or "jerk", was a ...
-3
votes
1answer
448 views

Why is bidet pronounced with a “day” and what is the correct pronunciation of the word sentient? [closed]

(Struggling with self-doubt, would appreciate some help from you English aficionados) Why is bidet not pronounced as "bi-det"? Also, is sentient pronounced as "sen-ti-ent" or "sen(t)SH(ē)ənt"? ...
1
vote
0answers
242 views

Which letter make which sound in the word “queue”?

As the title says. queue = /kju:/ I have currently figured out that "qu-" makes the /k/ sound "-eu-" makes the /ju:/ sound the trailing "e" serves as a sound modifier, similar to ton/tone and cut/...
0
votes
1answer
119 views

What is it called when locals intentionally mispronounce their home town?

What is it called when locals intentionally "mispronounce" (compared to the common or historical pronunciation) their home town or other words? I've read somewhere a while back that it was intended to ...
0
votes
2answers
718 views

Looking for a word starting with a voiced 's' [closed]

Okay English Language, I come to you in an hour of despair. I had some late-night discussions yesterday about English pronunciation, which resulted in a bet, and the stakes are high. It basically ...
4
votes
1answer
304 views

How to pronounce -on endings?

Is there any rhyme or reason to why we pronounce -on endings in two different ways? Sometimes -on sounds like a short o as in marathon, hexagon, and neutron. But more often, the o sounds like a ...
1
vote
0answers
547 views

Why so many words in English are pronounced different from their spelling? [duplicate]

As a non native English speaker, I am astonished at the amount of English word pronounced different from their spelling. For instance, 'Would' is pronounced like 'Wood', 'Whole' is pronounced like "...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

Why the writing and reading in English are different? [duplicate]

I do not encounter so big problems with the English language although I'm not a native English speaker. But I'm curious why some languages (like English or French) are written different from the way ...
3
votes
0answers
94 views

Rules for pronuciation [closed]

What are the pronunciation rules for words ending with the 's" sound ? I simply can not remember these rules and can not seem to find the answer in any of my text books. Can anyone by chance help or ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Difference between /ʌ/ and /ə/ in English IPA

If someone who is a linguistics expert could explain this to me in a way I can understand, I'd really appreciate it. I get that /ʌ/ is used on stressed vowels and /ə/ on reduced vowels, but they sound ...
-1
votes
2answers
785 views

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

Why is country pronounced /ˈkʌntɹi/ and not /ˈkaʊntɹi/ ?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “of” pronounced as “ov”?

Few years back, one of our English teachers told that, In India, we [typically] pronounce "of" as "of" or "off". But the real pronunciation is "ov". When I try to listen the same in Google ...
4
votes
1answer
668 views

Pronunciation of “priv-” in British English and American English

For example, the pronunciation of "priv-" in the words privacy and private is different in British English. The former is pronounced as prɪv- whereas the latter as praɪv-. Yet, in the US, the ...
46
votes
3answers
7k views

What is this famous example of the absurdity of English spelling?

A long time ago I read about this funny example posited by some relatively well-known author who spelled a word (I forget the word) in the most difficult way possible, but in a way that was totally ...
5
votes
1answer
141 views

Confusing 'r' sounds

In their kids song "Crazy ABCs", the Barenaked Ladies sing about words that start with confusing sounds: A is for aisle B is for bdellium C is for czar However, when the song gets to "r":...
0
votes
1answer
396 views

How does the pronunciation change in verbs that end with “‑e” or “‑ie” for their “‑ing” forms?

How do you pronounce the ‑ing forms of verbs that originally end with -e or ‑ie? Although the rules for writing such verbs that end with ‑e or ‑ie are сlear: make > making (take off "-e" + "‑ing") ...
5
votes
2answers
939 views

What is this word for a person more knowledgable than an aficionado? [duplicate]

A friend told me a new word for a person with a higher more sophisticated knowledge than an aficionado. It sounds like "koount ah shent ie". My best guess of the spelling is "countashenti", but that ...
9
votes
3answers
299 views

Is there a term for when the “d'” is dropped in a “not” contraction?

Actors Josh Radnor and Michael Weston pronounce shouldn't like "shunt" or wouldn't like "wunt". Is there a proper linguistic term for this pattern of pronunciation?
1
vote
4answers
299 views

Why is English not constantly updated to better match written and spoken versions? [closed]

I understand that English has a lot of history and lots of weird corner cases come from French or German origins. However, even native English speakers no longer speak nor write identical to ...
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
2answers
552 views

What effect do neighboring vowel-letters have on the pronunciation of the letters “sc” in a word?

Consider these words, with standard pronunciations from Oxford Dictionaries Online using in the worldwide-standard International Phonetic Alphabet: conscious, pronounced /ˈkɒnʃəs/ eschew, pronounced /...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do some people pronounce “antisemitic” as “antisimetic”?

Not a question of grammar but one of pronunciation. I notice many educated Americans mispronounce the word "antisemitic". The word is derived from "semite" which I pronounce to rhyme with "she might" ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Does a word that starts with a vowel letter start with a vowel sound?

I'm currently learning about consonant to vowel linking, and I'm wondering if it's safe to assume that most words (if not all?) that start with a vowel letter (a, e, i, o, u) will also start with a ...
33
votes
18answers
10k views

Are there any words whose spelling was deliberately changed to make them non-offensive?

I am looking for some examples of words that, possibly due to their non-Latin origin, would have sounded offensive if they went through the English language rules. For example, if a specialty Bohemian ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do some nicknames have no apparent relation with their original counterparts? [duplicate]

I find it unusual and rather contrary to common sense and logic that some nicknames should have no apparent relation to their original names, such as "Jack" for "John(eg. JFK)" or "Jonathan", "Patsy" ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Why are “malign” and “malignant” pronounced differently? [duplicate]

Why are malign and malignant pronounced differently? What is the rule that separates that pattern from, say, sign and signage?
5
votes
1answer
375 views

How are double consonants pronounced in Old English (Ænȝlıſc/Eald Englisc/Anglo Saxon?)

Doubles for Alternate Sounds Per Letter -- Preface to Actual Subject: I am aware that, with the exception of the letters ess, thorn, eth (by extension, though not historically), b (older manuscripts*)...
11
votes
2answers
576 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

How to get the spelling of an unknown word by pronunciation? [duplicate]

I started to learn English by listening English news, from time to time I will come across some word that I have not learnt, with only pronunciation how can I get the spelling of the word? When you ...
3
votes
0answers
876 views

Pronunciation Rule for “nt” in the Middle of Words

Is there a "rule" or pattern for the pronunciation of "nt" in the middle of words, followed by a vowel (or "er" sound)? Here's what I have so far: 1) "t" is often omitted in words like "wanted," "...
2
votes
1answer
783 views

How to pronounce, “Tut! Tut!”

In older manuscripts, sometimes somebody says, "Tut! Tut!" Was this actually pronounced as written (as if referring to the famous King of Egypt)?
17
votes
10answers
4k views

Is the mispronunciation of foreign words especially likely in English?

Are there other languages out there, more phonetic than English, in which the sound of foreign words can be specified adequately? For example, is it the case that when Arabs move to America their ...
1
vote
1answer
894 views

Rule for the pronunciation of the letter O as /ʌ/ vs. /ɒ/

If the letter o in a word is pronounced as a monophthong, it will fall into two types: pronounced as /ʌ/ as in color ("/kʌlə/") pronounced as /ɒ/ as in lock ("/lɒk/") What I would like to ask is ...
3
votes
1answer
165 views

When should or could I change the pronunciation of a word, like in water, little, lot

I've been learning English as a second language for years. I can read English articles without big problem. The problem is speaking. I am currently trying to improve my speaking English. In a course, ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Why isn't “proper” spelt “propper”?

A work colleague and I were bickering over why proper only has one p. We need help. There are lots of words that end in the sounds /ɒpər/, but they are all spelled with -opper, with two p’s: ...
-2
votes
2answers
350 views

Is it “expresso” or “espresso”? [closed]

Is it "expresso" or "espresso"? What is the correct spelling and pronunciation?
3
votes
1answer
145 views

Why is “-ate” in literate and obliterate pronounced differently?

Is there a general logic as to how the syllable "ate" is modified in different circumstances?
0
votes
2answers
137 views

Why does writable not have an `e` in it [duplicate]

Knowledgeable and likeable and other other such words place an e before the a in able. However other words like writable and receivable don't. Why is that? Is there a rule behind this? Also the word ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is “Theresa” pronounced with the plosive /t/?

Judging from the spelling I always thought Theresa was pronounced with an interdental fricative. On the German news I often heard it pronounced with a /t/ as initial consonant. I thought this was due ...