Questions tagged [pronunciation]

for questions about the sound, stress, or intonation of spoken words.

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244
votes
7answers
69k views

How are “i.e.” and “e.g.” pronounced?

How are i.e. and e.g. pronounced?
204
votes
5answers
25k views

Are “whores” and “horse” homophones?

I’m Spanish but sometimes see TV shows in English. My question is whether the words horse and whores sound exactly the same, because in many English language TV shows it seems like they are, which ...
132
votes
2answers
20k views

Why is “bicycle” pronounced differently from other obviously related words?

The word bicycle is pronounced /'baɪsɪkəl/ (bahy-si-kuhl), like sickle. However, the words unicycle and motorcycle both have the -cycle pronounced as /-'saɪkəl/ (sahy-kuhl). Is there some sort of ...
127
votes
16answers
173k views

When should I use “a” vs “an”?

In the following example, is it appropriate to use a or an as the indefinite article, and why? He ate __ green apple. I know that in the case of just "apple", it would be "an apple," but I've ...
104
votes
12answers
219k views

When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?

A basic grammar rule is to use an instead of a before a vowel sound. Given that historic is not pronounced with a silent h, I use “a historic”. Is this correct? What about heroic? Should be “It was a ...
103
votes
10answers
27k views

Is there any word in English where “th” sounds like “t+h”?

It might be a strange question, but I, as a non-native speaker (Pakistani), have listened to English pronunciations by my native people who have over time developed their own pronunciations. So, I ...
96
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?
95
votes
124answers
64k views

What words are commonly mispronounced by literate people who read them before they heard them?

Quite a few words are mispronounced by under-educated people, or people learning English as a second language. Some words are often mispronounced by quite educated people who read, and began reading ...
94
votes
10answers
14k views

“A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement

When a/an precedes a parenthetical aside (sometimes seen in informal/conversational writing), should the vowel rule depend on the first word in parentheses, or the next word in the "regular" flow of ...
85
votes
27answers
10k views

How to read “E = (mc)²” so as not to mistake for “E = mc²”

According to one of the questions already asked on EL&U, “E = mc²” is read as E equals M C squared. How do we read “E = (mc)²” so that it is not mistaken for “E = mc²”?
77
votes
2answers
109k views

Why is Sean pronounced Shawn?

I've always had this question about the pronunciation of Sean. Is Sean a word from another language? Is it actually not pronounced Shawn and instead it's some sound between Shawn and Seen? Also, why ...
70
votes
9answers
19k views

How is y’all’dn’t’ve pronounced

According to Wikipedia, y’all’dn’t’ve is a valid contraction. I am having difficulty pronouncing the L-D-N-T-V consonant cluster, especially since there is no vowel at the end (silent E). Y’all’dn’t’...
66
votes
9answers
64k views

How to pronounce “tuple”?

A recent question has reminded me of something I’ve been wondering about for a while: what is the correct way to pronounce tuple?
66
votes
8answers
20k views

“kinda”, “sorta”, “coulda”, “shoulda”, “lotta”, “oughta”, “betcha”, “tseasy” etc. What are these?

In linguistics, is there a term describing this phenomenon, i.e., when the syllables of two words are slurred together in the spoken language? They are not contractions. While contractions are ...
66
votes
8answers
57k views

Is there any online tool to read (pronounce) IPA and APA written words?

I am looking for a tool to read a word written as phonetic transcription (IPA or APA). I need it to provide users with a tool to verify if they've chosen correct IPA transcription (users will need ...
57
votes
5answers
111k views

In the word “Scent”, is the S or the C silent?

So I saw a post on a funny pictures site... "In the word "Scent", is the S or the C silent?" And I thought I could ask about it here. In particular, how does the pronunciation of "scent" differ ...
56
votes
5answers
36k views

How to pronounce the programmer's abbreviation “char”

In many programming languages, char is a type name for character values. The word character is pronounced with a [k] sound, but what about char? While trying to find the answer elsewhere, I learnt ...
55
votes
7answers
6k views

What happened to the “ch” in moschito?

Mosquito > Moschito > Mosquito /məˈskito/ — [mɒˈskiːtəʊ], [məˈskiːtəʊ], [mɒˈskitoʊ], [məˈskitoʊ] The name of this insect is spelled with the letters ‹qu› in several languages, including Catalan ...
52
votes
7answers
125k views

What is the correct way to pronounce 'router'?

Merriam-Webster lists both ˈrüt and ˈrau̇t as possible pronunciations for route but only ˈrau̇-tər for router. Is it really wrong to pronounce router as 'rüter ?
52
votes
8answers
148k views

Is “forte” pronounced “fort” or “for-tay”?

I've always heard people say something like "Pronunciation is not my [for-tay]" ... but I feel that I've heard that the correct pronunciation is "Confusing people is my [fort]" What is the ...
52
votes
3answers
73k views

How do you pronounce “Git”?

How do you pronounce Git? Because I don't live in a country that uses English, I haven't heard it yet. In my country, some people use [ɡɪt] and others use [d͡ʒɪt]. Which is the one that most people ...
51
votes
4answers
9k views

Why is ‘i’ in milk pronounced differently from ‘i’ in find?

As far as I know, in words of the structure CVCC, the vowel is usually short. Examples include milk, front, clamp, wasp, sport, etc. However, with some CC types, the vowel seems to always be long (...
50
votes
5answers
71k views

How is SQL pronounced?

When I was learning SQL, I remember reading that it should be pronounced just like the word sequel; however, I worked with a bunch of techs who seemed to prefer S-Q-L. Is there a proper convention for ...
48
votes
6answers
41k views

How to pronounce the ^ symbol?

How should the "^" symbol be pronounced? I searched on the internet but couldn't find an answer.
48
votes
9answers
284k views

Data pronunciation: “dayta” or “dahta”?

I hear "dayta" more often, but what's the correct pronunciation?
47
votes
5answers
6k views

Have “choir” and “deer” ever rhymed?

It’s that time of year when the dodgy rhymes of Christmas carols abound, but I find the chorus of "The Holly and the Ivy" particularly intriguing. The rising of the sun And the running of the ...
46
votes
9answers
49k views

Why is “primer” pronounced with a short “i” sound?

This word—used to mean an elementary textbook, not a painting material—annoys me to no end. Does anyone know why, exactly, "primer" is pronounced with a short "i" sound? I don't know why, call it ...
46
votes
4answers
21k views

Why is “cupboard” pronounced with a silent “p”?

According to Google at least, the word "cupboard" originated in late Middle English as denoting a board that held cups. Since then, the word has evolved to mean a kind of cabinet. My question is, ...
46
votes
4answers
7k views

How is “deque” commonly pronounced?

deque is a standard container in the C++ programming language. Its name stands for Double Ended QUEue. I am wondering how this word should be pronounced: like deck (this is how I've pronounced it so ...
45
votes
9answers
28k views

Is there any English word in which “ph” is not pronounced as “f”? [duplicate]

A few days ago, a friend and I were discussing how every "rule" of English spelling or pronunciation has an exception, and every exception has an exception as well. Then I brought up the rule of a ph ...
45
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the word for pronouncing ‘th’ as ‘v’ as part of your English accent?

Some people I know have a ‘lazy tone’ on their British accent pronouncing their ‘th’ as ‘v’. Don’t bover about the weava. (Don’t bother about the weather.) It’s not a slur, because the ‘t’ in ...
44
votes
2answers
10k 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] ...
44
votes
5answers
43k views

Why are Greek letters pronounced incorrectly in scientific English?

In Greek, for example, the letter β is pronounced "veeta", but in science, people use "beta". Some other offenders are η "eeta", ι "yiota", μ "mee", ν "nee", π "pee", τ "taf", χ "hee", ψ "psee". I ...
44
votes
4answers
5k views

Is D-glottalization a plausible explanation of ambiguity in Donald Trump interview with WSJ?

On Jan 11, The Wall Street Journal published an interview with President Trump that contained the following phrase: With that being said, President Xi has been extremely generous with what he’s ...
40
votes
4answers
77k views

Pronunciation of “Azure” in “Microsoft Azure”

This is not a techie query. I am just unclear on how to pronounce the word "Azure" which is the brand name for Microsoft's cloud computing service.
40
votes
4answers
9k views

Why do I pronounce “horrible” so harrhibly?

With Friends Like These A few months ago, a couple good friends brought up a topic they know I disdain, and kept prodding me for my opinion on it. They wouldn't let up, until finally I proclaimed "[...
40
votes
5answers
99k views

Should the number “0” be pronounced “zero” or “oh”?

I have often heard people say 101, as one-zero-one, and also as one-oh-one. Which is correct, and why? Does the difference between British English and American English have to do something with it?
39
votes
6answers
4k views

Pronunciation of the English alphabet

Why are there inconsistencies in the pronunciation of the consonants of the alphabet? For example: 'b' is pronounced like 'bee' but 'm' is pronounced as 'em' rather than 'me'. The pronunciation of 'h' ...
36
votes
10answers
29k views

How are 'marry', 'merry', and 'Mary' pronounced differently?

The way I pronounce these words is the same. Similarly for other words like these: I pronounce ferry and fairy the same, carrot and caret. Yet, dictionaries show different pronunciations for these ...
36
votes
3answers
8k views

How to pronounce “720p” and “1080p”

How do you pronounce 720p and 1080p? Because I don't live in a country that uses English, I haven't heard it yet. I guess it doesn't have a rule. seven hundred twenty p seven twenty p seventy two ...
36
votes
5answers
30k views

Why are “sugar” and “sure” pronounced with an SH?

As far as I know, those are the only two. They should be pronounced Soogher and Soor, shouldn't they? I looked them up on Dictionary.com, and their etymologies reveal no trace of an SH, except where ...
35
votes
5answers
6k views

ETcetera pronounced as EXetera ? Correct?

I keep hearing everyone at my work (Native speakers) saying e-X-etera. They said my pronunciation of the word as e-T-cetera was incorrect. I got into a big argument, they thought I was mad. Is there ...
34
votes
4answers
110k views

Why are there two pronunciations for “either”?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an individual who told me that pronouncing the word "either" is wrong when pronounced like \ˈī-thər\ instead of \ˈē-thər\ , but I didn't argue the point ...
33
votes
6answers
98k views

Why is the “ph” pronounced like a “v” in “Stephen”? Is this the only word like that?

While I know how my name is pronounced, I've run into many non-native english speakers who have stumbled over this unique exception to English. Even in the female name, "Stephanie", the ph is ...
33
votes
4answers
11k views

Why are Leicester & co pronounced as they are?

What is the origin of the pronunciation of words like Leicester, Gloucester, Worcestershire? Presumably, the spelling predates the pronunciation but what is the history here? What language do the ...
32
votes
4answers
80k views

Why does “bass” sound like “base”?

Why is bass pronounced like base? If bass sounds like base, why isn't ass pronounced as (nearly) ace instead?
32
votes
2answers
43k views

What's the deal with “colonel”?

Why does the word colonel (as in military rank) have such a strange spelling compared to how it's pronounced (or vice versa, although I don't know how you would pronounce that)?
31
votes
3answers
121k views

Why is “idea” sometimes pronounced as “idear”?

I know that idea is pronounced as /aɪˈdiə/, but I've meet several people in real life who put an 'r' at the end of the word. How come?
30
votes
3answers
144k views

The British pronunciation of the word “schedule”

Is pronouncing the word "schedule" as "shed-ule" only an upper class thing in the UK? Which pronunciation, "sked-ule" "or "shed-ule" is more faithful to the original etymology of the word, i.e. which ...
30
votes
4answers
91k views

Why is the word 'bologna' pronounced like 'baloney'?

Why is the word 'bologna' (as in a bologna sandwich) pronounced so differently from the way it's spelled? The word 'lasagna' isn't pronounced 'lasagney'... The American sausage is derived from a ...