Questions tagged [pronunciation-vs-spelling]

Questions about putative differences between spelling and pronunciation.

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2
votes
2answers
581 views

What is the significance of having a silent letter like “k” in a word? [duplicate]

Why is the k silent in: known /nəʊn/; knife /nʌɪf/, and knight /nʌɪt/? What does this specify?And what is k doing there if there is no need to pronounce it?
7
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2answers
821 views

Pronunciation of -ar in Madagascar

In the movie by the same name, the characters pronounce Madagascar, /mædəɡæskɑɹ/. However, dictionaries only list the pronunciation /mædəɡæskəɹ/. Just as peculiarly, many pronounce templar as /tɛmplɑɹ/...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

The X in Xavier

The NOAD lists the pronunciation of Xavier as (ig)ˈzāvēər. In my own experience the parenthetical pronunciation is very common. I, however, do not know of any other x-initial words that are vowel-...
3
votes
2answers
870 views

What is the correct spelling for “Hippie-Dippy Bologna”?

Because while that is technically the correct spelling for each word, but as a phrase it doesn't seem to work well together. It lacks symmetry (Hippie vs. Dippy) and uses the extremely rare-yet-...
4
votes
2answers
188 views

Is there a specialised term for words that are almost always mispronounced?

With few exceptions, I hear people pronounce enmity emnity, Wednesday Wensday, and prerogative perogative. Is there a proper term for this phenomenon?
3
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0answers
109 views

Why is “women” pronounced as wimin? [duplicate]

Why is "women pronounced as wimin? What is the reason for the first syllable having /ɪ/? What is the reason for the second syllable having /ɪ/?
0
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3answers
3k views

What is the origin of the pronunciation of 'Plymouth'?

It has always confused how my American relatives pronounce the name of their city (Plymouth Meeting) as something like 'Plymeth Meeting'. For me, it seems that the natural way would be something that ...
-1
votes
1answer
126 views

A Vowel Shift Question

Two lines from Byron's Don Juan: 'T is said that Donna Julia's grandmamma Produced her Don more heirs at love than law. This is the coda to an octave, the finalizing couplet, and it's ...
3
votes
3answers
844 views

Why is anime not spelt phonetically?

Anime is pronounced ah-ni-may (specifically not a-nime), but why isn't it spelt that way? I get why lots of English words sound nothing like how they are spelt, or how words from other languages ...
3
votes
2answers
351 views

syllables and pronunciation

The word exercise has 3 syllables and divided as ex-er-cise. In teaching pronunciation can I divide it as ek-ser-cise since the letter x is the sound of ks together? It seems to make more sense.
0
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3answers
194 views

Can we say that the words whose spelling is much contrary to the spelling rules get gradually expelled from English?

Can it be said that the words which are spelled too weird get gradually eliminated from English or their spelling changes to more phonetic? For instance I was thinking about the word "through" which ...
3
votes
1answer
404 views

What is the history and distribution of the two pronunciations of 'lichen' /ˈlʌɪk(ə)n/ and /ˈlɪtʃ(ə)n/?

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/lichen says 'lichen' has two pronunciations: /ˈlʌɪk(ə)n/, /ˈlɪtʃ(ə)n/. In contrast, Oxford English Dictionary only registers the former. What is ...
0
votes
1answer
101 views

Word Choice Conundrum Followup

In my initial post I may have not made my issue clear enough, so... Say out loud the sentence, "There are three ways to spell the word two." Obviously there is only one way to spell that specific ...
6
votes
2answers
32k views

Is how've a word?

Every spell check / auto fill I come across does not recognize this word. However, in speech I find it used quite often as in How've you been? (How have you been?) So is this an accepted ...
8
votes
1answer
164 views

Spelling of word meaning small bit of lint-like detritus

When I was younger, my parents would often describe small pieces (~1-3 mm diameter) of lint-like detritus as something whose IPA spelling is approximately pɐ'n(j)uʒɐ, or puh-NEW-zhuh (I hope I have ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Why don't “monkey” and “donkey” rhyme?

How come the words monkey /ˈmʌŋki/ and donkey /ˈdɒŋki, ˈdɔŋki/ don't rhyme? What is their derivation? Or perhaps they do rhyme, depending on where one is from.
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is there a simple guide for 's' vs 'sh' pronunciation in words?

Consider the following words as examples: 1) Version 2) Progression 3) Differentiation 4) Fission 5) Fusion 6) Insurance 7) Sure I pronounce all these words with a 'sh' sound even though it is not ...
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'...
14
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4answers
826 views

Why does “stigmata” [often] have penult stress?

I have been studying the pronunciation of Greek-derived words in English, and I've found an odd anomaly. There are (at least) two possible pronunciation patterns for plural word-forms that end in -&#...
4
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0answers
175 views

Can the stress pattern of “uroboros/ouroboros” be explained by any principle, or is it random? [duplicate]

The word "uroboros," coming ultimately from Greek, has a couple of spellings and also pronunciations (see How to pronounce Ouroboros?). As explained by Nohat in the linked page, the two ...
0
votes
1answer
5k views

How to best correctly spell this sound?

Remember back in school (or still in school, like me) when someone got called to the office and all the kids in the class made an 'ooou' sound with the intonation slowly rising? Yeah... Anyway, I was ...
1
vote
2answers
715 views

In which varieties of English is 't' in 'often' silent?

I'm an Indian and all my life I've pronounced 'often' with 't' silent. Since we follow British English, I assume British people say it the same way? I guess in American English, one pronounces it with ...
1
vote
1answer
140 views

Spelling etymology of “czar” [duplicate]

Russian emperors are usually referred to as "Tsars" or "Czars". However, while the first spelling (Tsar) utilises the standard English transliteration of the Cyrillic ц as ts, the second ...
0
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4answers
2k views

What's the name for when a word changes its pronunciation because of how people read?

With greater literacy in the past 100 years, most English speakers are also proficient at writing. Sometimes due to the great divide between English spellings and the true pronunciation, people will ...
1
vote
1answer
623 views

A word or sentence that makes no sense until you understand the irregular spelling [duplicate]

English has a "intricate" relationship between graphemes and phonemes,i.e. there is no sure way of knowing how to pronounce something by just looking at its written form. Generally any language has ...
0
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2answers
2k views

pronouncing t's as d's [duplicate]

Why do some people pronounce "cotton" as codden and "satin" as saddin and Russian leader "Putin" as pudin? These pronunciations are made even by professional news people on national television.
9
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2answers
2k views

Why is the /t/ silent in “christen”?

The audio clips at ODO do not vocalise any sound resembling a 't', and the IPA contains no 't': BrE /ˈkrɪsn/ ;   NAmE /ˈkrɪsn/ The 't' in 'christen' and 'hasten' (mooted by this comment in a ...
0
votes
1answer
279 views

Pronunciation rules [closed]

I was always wondering if there is a compact set of rules that helps readers enunciate English words. One of the reasons why I believe there are such rules is that there are some online dictionaries ...
3
votes
1answer
533 views

How do you look up what lexical set a word belongs to?

(I mean phonological lexical sets, if that wasn't clear.) How do you look up what lexical set a word is in? Is there any sort of open database anywhere? Like, say I have the LOT/CLOTH merger, and I ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Are there rules for pronunciation of words ending in “-ton”?

Here are 4 words ending in "_ton": Proton - /ˈprəʊ.tɒn/ Cotton - /ˈkɑt.n̩/ Mutton - /ˈmʌtn̩/ Wanton - /ˈwɒntən/ Even though the words end in -ton, the pronunciation varies. Is ...
4
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3answers
3k views

Why are “suffice” and “sufficient” pronounced so differently?

Today I heard somebody use a form of the verb "suffice" (which means "to be sufficient") pronouncing it like the verb "surface" without an r (and where that "a" makes more of an "i" sound). This ...
13
votes
1answer
43k views

When are 'tion', 'sion', and 'cion' used

I am confused when the spellings "tion", "sion", and "cion" are used in words that contain the "shun" sound. Are there any rules to help me understand when to use the correct spelling in a word?
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Pronunciation of double G: soft “gg” versus hard “gg”

When I was a student, I was taught double G is normally hard, as in "agglomerate", "aggregate", "foggy", "aggressive", "dagger", "trigger", "niggard", "doggerel", etc, the exceptions being "exaggerate"...
3
votes
1answer
315 views

Why are there two sets of vowels in English? [closed]

I'm a native Spanish speaker and I've been learning English for many years. They always taught us that there are two sets of vowels and we learned how to use them mostly by reading and practicing, no ...
0
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0answers
96 views

Is it true that the “i before e” rule is vastly untrue? [duplicate]

After reading questions like Why is it true that "I before E, except after C"?, and searching for the rule on Google, I happened upon the following image: This claims that only 44 out of ...
7
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4answers
5k views

What do you call languages with words that are pronounced the same way they are written?

In some languages such as Korean or Japanese hiragana, the pronunciation of words is exactly derived from the characters in the words. On the other hand, for languages such as English, you cannot ...
2
votes
2answers
19k views

Are there rules how 'g' is pronounced as /j/ or /g/? [duplicate]

I'm not an native English speaker, and sometimes I'm confused with the pronunciation of 'g' and 'j' in words. It seems that 'j' is usually pronounced as /dʒ/ for example "job", "jaw". But 'g' can be ...
6
votes
3answers
28k views

Confectionery or confectionary when referring to a group of sweets [closed]

A recent discussion arose on how to spell the term "confectionery", as used to refer to a collection/group of sweets. Most people believed it was actually spelled "confectionary". Spellcheck programs ...
1
vote
2answers
556 views

Why isn’t the pronunciation of “though” anyhow close to the one of “tough”? [duplicate]

The word tough is pronounced /tʌf/. The word though has a completely different pronunciation, that is /ðəʊ/. Is there a reason why the latter would not be pronounced /ðʌf/?
0
votes
1answer
850 views

<u> pronounced “ew”

I'm wondering about the modern English pronunciation of "u" like the vowel in "few" in open syllables, such as "pure", "cute", "tribunal", "u", etc. What's the origin of this? (This question is not ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

How can I change my nickname so that it's pronounced correctly? [closed]

My nickname for online games is "Davarius". I'd like the 'var' to be spoken so that it rhymes with 'car'. But people always say it "Da-VARE-ius". Should I spell it different? Or just deal with it.
27
votes
1answer
2k views

I'd like to know the spelling of a word, a synonym of unknown

I'm used to watching American TV Series all the time. I watch them with Italian subtitles, so I misspell many words. Many of them are not so difficult to figure out, but there's one that I just cannot ...
0
votes
2answers
396 views

Why is “language” spelled that way?

I just read a question with answers about the letter u making the sound /w/ in penguin and sanguine. However, the word language was not mentioned. What is the explanation for the spelling of language?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Are there many -tion words that sound like 'vision'?

Usually -tion words, such as motion, education, and lotion, end with a -shn sound. But equation ends with a sound rhyming with vision. Are there many more? What might some of them be? And if the ...
0
votes
3answers
5k views

Difference between a “crowned jewel”, “crown jewel”, and “jeweled crown”?

I was grading a student's paper and found their use of the term crowned jewel confusing. They used the term in this way: The article was the crowned jewel of their evidence.. It sounded wrong at ...
1
vote
1answer
269 views

“long” <i> - inconsistencies in the relationship between orthography and pronunciation

I'm wondering about the dual pronunciations of the letter /i/ in open syllables. Usually it has the realization [a͡ɪ], representing the regular outcome of long i after the great vowel shift, but ...
0
votes
3answers
907 views

Or, Ore, Awe and Oar [closed]

Does everyone pronounce these the same way? (I mean all 4 words - not American vs. English)
0
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1answer
620 views

How do I tell the difference between 'dd' and 'tt' in words?

I have a spelling bee today and I would like some tips on how to differentiate 'tt' and 'dd' in words. Words like bottle and prattle have a 'tt', but most people pronounce it like a 'dd', like in ...
4
votes
0answers
172 views

How to spell vis-á-vis out loud [closed]

Thank you very much to the 4 people who quickly responded a few days ago as to how to spell vis-á-vis out loud for an upcoming spelling bee. I apologize that the moderator did not think it was on-...