Questions tagged [pronunciation-vs-spelling]

Questions about putative differences between spelling and pronunciation.

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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 ...
1
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1answer
356 views

Why are there multiple spellings of the word 'There'? [closed]

There Their They're I understand why They're is spelled the way it is. It's a contraction of the words "They" and "are", and it is used in the same way. However, the words There and Their are ...
1
vote
1answer
232 views

Why the final 'e' in 'engine'?

Hearing 'engine' pronounced with a long 'i', as the final 'e' seems to suggest, sounds odd: 'fin'/'fine' but 'gin'/'engine'. Looking here for an explanation, I just found another example: '...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

What is an 'iderteca' and how do you spell it?

At the start of the film Red Dragon, Anthony Hopkins describes Ed Norton as an 'iderteca' which is a word used to describe someone who can empathise or connect with the thoughts of others. I am unable ...
5
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4answers
740 views

What are the historical justifications for first-syllable stress in the word “orthoepy”?

Funnily enough, the word orthoepy (or orthoëpy) meaning “(the study of) correct (or standard) pronunciation” has no single established correct pronunciation: it may be stressed on either the first or ...
1
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0answers
112 views

Was the use of accents in -ed adjectives ever common-place? When were they first used in modern books?

The distinction between the words blessèd (/ˈblɛsəd/) and blessed (/blɛst/) (see Grammarbook) appears to be wearing thin in modern language, possibly due to reduced accent usage and its resultant lack ...
0
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2answers
1k views

Different pronunciation of “o” in done, lone and gone

In what case and why is letter 'o' pronounced as 'ʌ' like in the word 'cut' /kʌt/? Done is pronounced /dʌn/ while other words of the kind are pronounced differently: lone, bone, tone. Why is gone ...
2
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2answers
1k views

History and Explanation of Scientific English Pronunciation Convention: PS, PN, PT

A research question on pronunciation I have been looking for the explanation and history of the English pronunciation convention of not pronouncing the P at the start of double consonant scientific ...
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 ...
0
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1answer
820 views

Why is women spelled with an 'o'?

There is a question on here asking why women is pronounced 'wimen', but what intrigues me is why is it spelled with an 'o'? If wi was the original pronunciation for both singular and plural, why ...
1
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0answers
568 views

How to pronounce the masculine name Jan? [closed]

/ja:n/ or /dʒæn/, like January? Thank you.
3
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2answers
2k views

Why is the letter “c” pronounced like /s/ when it comes before “e”, “i”, or “y”, but as /k/ elsewhere?

Could you please tell me why from an historical point of view that when the letter c comes directly before the letters e, i or y in English that we use the /s/ sound, but in other cases we use the /k/ ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Under what conditions is “r” silent before another "r'?

Today I saw the word prerogative which reminded me of Prahran (a suburb of Melbourne) because in neither word is the first r pronounced. These pronunciations are attested at https://en.wiktionary.org/...
2
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3answers
2k views

What are “Exception sounds”? [closed]

I'm embarrassed to say I don't understand this 2nd grade homework. Can someone help me understand the concept behind exception sounds? Do the "Sentence Marking" Activity Have your child read ...
2
votes
1answer
417 views

How to spell “Spalding” so that it is pronounced with /ɑː/ and not /ɔː/? [closed]

English being my second language aside, I want to call my dog Spalding and I want it to be pronounced with [ɑː] not [ɔː]. How do I write down Spalding to be pronounced that way? I would like to know ...
0
votes
3answers
595 views

What is the word for the double vowel in “coordinate”?

The word coordinate has two vowels in it, that would ordinarily make the /u/ sound. Probably because of the word's etymology (Latin co- ‎(“together”) + ordinare ‎(“arrange”)) it is not pronounced as ...
6
votes
2answers
705 views

Connection between the thou/you thee/ye forms of you and the confusion between the thorn (þ) and the letter 'y'?

There's a lot of good information in the answer to an existing question about thou/you and thee/ye, and many are familiar with how shops with the affectation of "Ye Olde Shoppe" get that "Y" from a ...
15
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5answers
5k views

What is the proper way to say “Clinton”?

I have always assumed that Bill and Hillary Clinton's name is pronounced Clin-tun. But during this year's election coverage, I noticed that a great many people pronounce it as Clin-uhn, with no "T" ...
6
votes
1answer
686 views

Why is “salient” pronounced with a “long a” sound?

The word salient is pronounced with a "long a" sound; Wiktionary gives the US pronunciation as /ˈseɪ.ljənt/, /ˈseɪ.li.ənt/. Is there any reason why the vowel letter here receives its "long" ...
6
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3answers
1k views

AmE pronunciation of 'cliché' vs 'niche'

I have noticed that some Americans (not all) pronounce the word 'niche' as 'nitch' (IPA /nɪtʃ/) rather than as 'neesh' (IPA /niːʃ/). niche Pronunciation: /niːʃ/ Pronunciation: /nɪtʃ/ (Oxford ...
-1
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1answer
2k views

What does () mean in IPA? [closed]

The word expanse in the Merriam Webster dictionary has this IPA transcription. ik-ˈspan(t)s Does the () mean that the t is optional, or that it's very lightly pronounced? It would seem more ...
0
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1answer
1k views

Why is the word “bread” pronounced “bred”?

Why does it have an A in the word if you don't pronounce it? It's pronounced with a short e (/ε/) and I want to know why. Why?
-2
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1answer
259 views

Not pronouncing the end of a possessive construction [duplicate]

Everyone knows the rule (not universally followed) that when a word ends with the letter S, we just add an apostrophe right after the word, instead of adding an apostrophe and an S after it. So, ...
19
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3answers
1k views

What's the current scholarly opinion on the “minims” explanation for the spelling of “love”, “tongue,” etc?

According to the Online Etymology dictionary (as cited in this question How was the letter -u- written in Old English?): The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- before -m-, -n-,...
5
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1answer
446 views

Are these mispronunciations by my British English text-to-speech engine a reflection of an actual British English usage?

A little context: I'm a native speaker of American English. I use Google's text-to-speech engine with the British voice, as I find the roboticness (roboticity?) of delivery to be less distracting in a ...
1
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1answer
3k views

Are there different regional pronunciations for “ornery?”

I use a word which I learned from my parents that is pronounced ahn-ree. It's meaning is somewhere between "cheeky" and "rambunctious." My wife asked me how to spell it and I was at a loss. The ...
-3
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1answer
274 views

Why don't we simplify spelling of “champagne” to something like “champen” [closed]

In modern (or American) ENglish, we simplified spellings of many words, such as plough, mould, neighbour, and many many more. Why don't we do same thing for word "champagne"?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is “pint” spelt with the same last 3 letters as “hint, lint, mint, tint”?

The words hint, lint, mint, tint are all pronunced with a short-i sound. The vowel in pint is a diphthong however. Why ?
3
votes
1answer
514 views

Name for letter U in words like 'suede' and 'penguin'

What is the letter U called when it says the /w/ sound in words like suede and penguin? I've read that y and w are semivowels but the U in suede and penguin doesn't really conform to the definition of ...
3
votes
2answers
169 views

Word referring to all letters with the long ē sound [closed]

I read something a while back that defined all letters pronounced- and phonetically ending-with a long /ē/, i.e.: Bee Cee Dee Ee Gee Pee Tee Vee Zee I can no longer find the aforementioned reference;...
2
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3answers
666 views

N or AND in pronunciation

Can I say «n» instead «and»? Example: I like apples n pears.
7
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1answer
2k views

When did “legend” stop being pronounced “LEE-gend”?

Nowadays, we pronounce the word legend as "LEDGE-end" (IPA: /ˈlɛdʒənd/). But it looks like at least some people used to pronounce "legend" as "LEE-gend." In A General Dictionary of the English ...
1
vote
0answers
226 views

“hundred” and “pretty” pronounced respectively as [ˈhən-dərd] and [ˈpər-tē]

Merriam-Webster's A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English gives [ˈhən-dərd], [ˈpər-tē], [ˈtem-pə(r)-ˌchu̇r], [ˈse-kə(r)-ˌterē], etc., as alternate ways to pronounce "hundred," "pretty," "...
1
vote
1answer
306 views

Is there another way than [ɜr] to pronounce the grapheme “or” in words like “world” in AmEng?

It seems like I've lost count of the number of times that I've noticed some native speakers of American English pronounce the grapheme "or" in words like "world" as [oʊr] or [ɔr] rather than [ɜr]. ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

You cannot contract “there are”!!. Right or Wrong? [duplicate]

The Woodward English website claims that Contractions The contraction of there is is there's. There's a good song on the radio. There's only one chocolate left in the box. ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Spelling with 'ought' or 'aught'

Is there a rule for how to spell words that have the ought/aught sound? Why is it 'taught' and not 'tought'. Why 'bought' and not 'baught'? There's also 'caught', 'fought', and 'daughter'. Is ...
1
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0answers
944 views

Is there a word that combines synophone and heterograph

To my understanding, heterographs are words that have different meanings, different spellings, but sound the same. Synophones are words that have different meanings, different spellings, and sound ...
1
vote
0answers
589 views

Why does written English have more variations in pronunciation than other languages? [closed]

According to my experience, in languages like German, French, Chinese, Japanese, etc., there are not so many exceptions in pronunciation as in English. For example, given a word in German or French, ...
3
votes
1answer
774 views

How do I pronounce the combination of a regnal name/number and a dynasty name?

I know how to pronounce a regnal name with a regnal number after it, like Elizabeth I ("Elizabeth the First") or Charles IV ("Charles the Fourth"). But sometimes I see the regnal name/number followed ...
2
votes
1answer
851 views

First or second syllable accent for “tarot”

Is it acceptable to pronounce "tarot" with the accent on the second syllable? So, phonetically it would be pronounced "Ta-ROW." My own online research showed me that there were maybe one or two times ...
1
vote
2answers
633 views

Is there any word in English where the sound /o/ stands alone without being part of a diphthong?

See this picture (Source) See the vowel "o"? I couldn't find any word in the English dictionary that has the sound /o/ alone without being part of a diphthong. For example, in /ɡoʊ/ (go), the /ʊ/ ...
2
votes
1answer
743 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?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What source explains the different pronunciations of “hol” in “alcohol” and “hollow”?

According to Merriam-Webster, the pronunciation of alcohol is "ˈal-kə-ˌhȯl" while the pronunciation of hollow is "ˈhä-(ˌ)lō." Why are they pronounced with different vowels? I think I've figured out ...
2
votes
1answer
813 views

How to make clear the difference between 0 and O?

It's reasonably clear that there's a difference between the lowercase "o" and "0", but it's harder to tell with a uppercase "O" and "0". When saying them, certainly in the UK, "Oh" can be both o and ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is “build” spelt with a “u”?

I was just looking at build on Wiktionary and I noticed that in Middle English the word was bilden. Where did the u come from? I can understand why words such as guide have a u; it's to make the g "...
19
votes
5answers
11k views

Are there words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently depending on whether the initial letter is capital or lowercase?

There are some pairs of words that are spelled the same, aside from capitalization, but pronounced differently. One example of this is Polish - polish. I remembered another pair but forgot it. Can ...
2
votes
5answers
573 views

How do I find examples where phonetic spelling is useful? [closed]

My son is learning English as a second language. Of course the phonetic alphabet is something they have to learn. Now he keeps telling me that it is a completely pointless endeavour, because he knows ...
0
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1answer
5k views

how to read numbers of 6 digit in formal english

How to say these two numbers: 112177 eleven hundrends thousands and twenty one hundren and seventy seven one hundred and twelve thousands and one hundred seventy seven the same for this number ...
7
votes
4answers
74k views

“Hold your piece” or “Hold your peace”

Is the correct phrase “to hold your piece” or “to hold your peace”? This matter is often mentioned together with the matter of “saying one's piece”, which has already been answered. In that context, ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do people write “Hellooo” instead of “Heeello” to show a prolonged sound? [closed]

I'm not a native English speaker, so I don't know what to search for on Google and similar. In chats I often read words like 'helloooo', or 'sureeee'. And as I understood it, it's meant to mimic the ...