Questions tagged [pronunciation]

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

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2answers
6k views

How to write out dates correctly

I have a document dated 05/05/2012. What should I say? Based on the document from 05 May. Based on the document from 5th May. Based on the document from 05 of May.
0
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2answers
686 views

Why is the pronunciation of “Exodus” different from the spelling?

Why is Exodus pronounced like "Exidus"? Is there any historical reason for the "O" to be silent and "i" pronounced instead? I understand from the comments that it is not "I", but a case of " O" not ...
55
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7answers
129k 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 ?
18
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5answers
113k views

How to pronounce the letter 'i'

Every time I read a new and unknown word containing the letter 'i' I wonder how I should pronounce it. What's very frustrating for me is that, when I look up the words, I find out that my gut feeling ...
52
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8answers
150k 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 ...
31
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3answers
125k 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?
21
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4answers
9k views

Why are 'student' and 'suspend' not pronounced as written?

I am a Chinese student beginning to learn English. I am curious to know why the word student is pronounced with the sound of d instead of t. Likewise, why is the sound of b used instead of p when ...
19
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10answers
101k views

What is the correct pronunciation of the word “processes”?

What is the correct pronunciation of the word processes? I am confused because my mother tongue is not English, and in my company some say it as "process-eez" and some say it "process-ess".
13
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7answers
8k views

How can I practice differentiating between the “æ” and “ɛ” sounds in English phonology?

For a non-native English speaker like me, it's always been hard to sound æ and ɛ differently. For example, "salary" and "celery" are two words that I tend to pronounce identically. Is it OK to go on ...
8
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3answers
10k views

What's this? What is it? but not What's it? - Why?

Can anyone give a cogent, simply described explanation of why the verb BE in: What is it? ... doesn't seem to be able to be contracted with the subject: What's it? * Compare the sentences above ...
45
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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 ...
34
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7answers
102k 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 ...
27
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4answers
4k views

Why did the letter “o” disappear in the word “pronunciation”?

The verb pronounce has the letter o in its second syllable, but in the noun pronunciation, that same letter disappears from the corresponding position. Why is that?
12
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7answers
10k views

Is a schwa ever stressed?

Is there a word in RP (Received Pronunciation) where the stressed vowel sound is a schwa?
13
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8answers
12k views

Is there a rule for the correct pronunciation of words starting with “ex”?

The following words are pronounced starting with an iks / igz: extent [ɪkˈstent] expect [ɪk'spekt] exterminate [ɪk'stɜːmɪneɪt] external [ɪkˈstɜːn(ə)l] exhaust [ɪg'zɔːst] examine [ɪg'zæmɪn] ...
8
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3answers
6k views

Why is “poignant” pronounced /ˈpɔɪɲənt/?

I felt a little bit strange when I heard poignant pronounced as /ˈpɔɪɲənt/. It is also pronounced as /ˈpɔɪgnənt/, but the former seems to be more popular. A word stagnant has similar spelling, but ...
4
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3answers
7k views

Website giving pronunciations of English words recorded in different dialects?

I'm aware that there are certain websites around that provide recorded examples of English words pronounced in different accents/dialects. Could anybody list some of them?
17
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2answers
24k views

Why is “k” added to “panic” when suffixes added (as in “panicky”)?

When adding any suffix to the word "panic," a "k" is added after the "c". Examples: panicked, panicking, panicky. Why is this the case? Are there any other English words that do the same? I'm also ...
12
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1answer
4k views

Etymology and pronunciation of arch-, archi-

The prefix arch-, archi- “chief, principal; extreme, ultra; early, primitive,” derives from Latinized Greek arkh-, arkhi-, the combining form of arkhos “chief.” Usually, arch- is pronounced like “arch”...
11
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3answers
36k views

Is “po-TAH-to” an acceptable pronunciation for “potato”?

Immortalized in the George and Ira Gershwin song "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" is the nitpicking of pronunciation differences: You like potato and I like potahto, You like tomato and I like ...
4
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5answers
9k views

Pronunciation of letter y: asylum vs syrup

I want someone to clarify if there is a rule about how to pronounce the letter Y I've read in another stackexchange post that when it is in a Greek-origin word it is pronounced as uh e.g. analysis, ...
17
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9answers
18k views

Pronunciation of “Short-lived”

What is the correct way of pronouncing the i in "short-lived"? Particularly, I'm looking for whether it's a short or long sound for this vowel. I've heard it both ways.
15
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3answers
31k views

Pronunciation of “Blessed”

Is there any difference in meaning or usage when pronouncing "blessed" with two syllables rather than one syllable? Two: bles-id [blɛsəd] One: blest [blɛst]
14
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3answers
195k views

“supposed to” or “suppose to”?

What is the actual spelling/pronunciation? What is the origination of this phrase?
9
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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 ...
8
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4answers
2k views

English letter sequence with most pronunciations

The letters -ough- can be pronounced a ridiculous number of different ways in English. Here is a possibly incomplete list: tough, enough cough, trough bough, plough though, dough thought, bought ...
8
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3answers
61k views

“Ph” for the /f/ sound; Is Old English responsible for this swap?

Is Old English responsible for creating the /f/ sound from ph, as in Philip, Pharoah, Physics, Sophia, etc? Many European countries keep the f for all of their /f/-sounding letters, as in Sofia and ...
5
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3answers
2k views

How should “aargh” really be pronounced?

The common interjections "argh!", "aargh!", "aaargh!", etc., is pronounced, as far as I know, the same as "aaa!" For most of my life, however, I (and I imagine many other second language speakers) ...
5
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3answers
29k views

Pronunciation of “i” in the words like “direct”, “organization”, etc

I'm a nonnative speaker of English and I've always been unsure about the pronunciation of "i" inside words like direct, organization, etc. I was thinking that it's a matter of choice between American ...
4
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4answers
2k views

Is the 'th' sound usually reduced in spoken English?

I am working on my accent and pronunciation. I use American Accent Training and it says that in spoken English, speakers usually run words together. For example, "Run them all together" turns into "...
3
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2answers
408 views

What rules govern uniform mispronounciation of romance languages? [closed]

As someone who isn’t a native speaker of English, I’m often fascinated by how those who are seem to change the pronunciation of words originally from French, Italian, Spanish, and so on in a seemingly ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Pronunciation of the apostrophe

Is there a rule regarding the pronunciation (or lack of) of the apostrophe? I have seen this on tv: "Enchantress' wrath" pronounced as "Echantresses wrath" "Gus' schedule" pronounced as "Guses ...
2
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5answers
7k views

UK emphasis on the second syllable vs US emphasis on the first

Why do some British speakers of English emphasize the second syllable of words such as con-TRO-versy. One British woman I knew (living in Oxford) did this to many words including (unbelievably) the ...
27
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11answers
101k views

What is the correct pronunciation of the word “solder”?

I have been listening to a podcast where the host pronounces the word solder as "sodder" or "sod-der", even "saw-der". Same thing happened when the lecturer of one of my EE classes pronounced the word ...
16
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9answers
25k views

In what dialects does “often” rhyme with “soften”?

I believe in most English dialects soften is pronounced without a t sound. In some dialects, often is similar, but in others a t sound is quite evident in often. I'm interested not only in which ...
15
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3answers
42k views

How to pronounce “beach” and “bitch”? What's the difference?

I often talk with friends using the phone and I'm not sure how to correctly pronounce the word "beach". Some people hear it as a "bitch". It really makes me upset! How do I pronounce these words ...
13
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4answers
13k views

Pronunciation differences between “finite” and “infinite”

In my experience, "finite" is pronounced (IPA) ˈfaɪnaɪt while "infinite" is ˈɪnfɪnɪt. In general, the prefix "in" negates an adjective, but does not change the pronunciation. Based on this, I would ...
9
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2answers
3k views

Why are many TV personalities beginning to pronounce “daughter” as “dotter”?

I have noticed the changing of proununciations of words with -au and -aw by TV presenters which is spilling over into everyday speech. For example “dotter” for daughter, “otto” for auto, “jah” for jaw,...
8
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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 ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Why are “nation” and “national” pronounced differently?

I was wondering why nation is pronounced nay-shun and national is pronounced nah-shu-nal. My question relates to the difference between pronouncing "Nay" and "Nah". The spelling of "nation" in "...
8
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5answers
9k views

How to pronounce to differ spatial from special?

It always bugged me that I do not know how to differentiate "spatial" from "special". I would just say "space" to be clear when "spatial" is the grammatically correct choice. Are the standard ...
7
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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'...
6
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3answers
23k views

What is the name for “pronunciation spelling”?

Dictionaries often have "pronunciation spelling" listed next to the word. For example: port·man·teau - noun \pȯrt-ˈman-(ˌ)tō\ What is the name for this alphabet/system? Is it a universal system, ...
6
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2answers
9k views

What exactly is the “schwa” sound?

What exactly is the "schwa" sound? As a non-native speaker, I hear this sound as not being a pure and clean sound. I mean I know that every vowel sound may vary depending on whether the syllable is ...
6
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1answer
581 views

Why do dictionaries transcribe the nasal in 'think' and 'language' with /ŋ/, yet 'input' and 'inbox' with /n/, not /m/?

In English, coda nasals assimilate to the following consonant, so 'n' in "in mail" and "own goal" is pronounced with [m] and [ŋ] respectively, right? If so, then why do most dictionaries transcribe ...
5
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4answers
842 views

Adding an L when appending an -ium suffix to a word? (Metallium vs. Metalium)

I am Romanizing a business name from Hebrew, and am wondering what the most appealing or 'correct' spelling might be - 'Metallium' or 'Metalium'. The owners of the business went with the latter, but ...
5
votes
1answer
897 views

How did “defect” and “defect” come to have different pronunciations?

There are many interesting events in the history of the English language. Which one of them gave us “defect” (noun, /diːˈfɛkt/, imperfection) and “defect” (verb, /dɪˈfɛkt/ , change allegiances)?
4
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8answers
94k views

Pronunciation of 'aunt' in the US

I was under the impression that all Americans pronounced aunt like the insect, ant (/ænt/), or relatively similar sounding variants such as the southern aint (/eɪnt/). According to both Webster and ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a rule for the position of the accent (stressed sound) in words ending with -ative?

For example, can declarative be pronounced similar to declaration for the accent (stressed sound)? I thought before that sometimes the position of the "accent", or the stressed sound of a word, ...
3
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3answers
8k views

English, Latin, or Malay pronunciation of betta fish

The genus name of the aquarium fish Betta splendens derives from the Malay word "ikan betah." The common name of the fish is also "betta," which in English we'd pronounce with a soft e. I often hear ...