Questions tagged [pronunciation]

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

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1
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2answers
1k views

Why is the word watch pronounced differently from words like patch, latch, match, catch, and batch?

Why doesn't watch rhyme with catch, batch, latch, patch, and match?
0
votes
1answer
194 views

So called “tap”, or “nap”

I'm interested in so called "tap" in american English. I've read a tap occurs in a word "twenty". I've heard this word in the internet and I've noticed a t is not pronounced or is pronounced simply as ...
14
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2answers
5k views

Is “haphazard” a unique word?

Is haphazard the only word where ph is not pronounced like /f/?
14
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3answers
116k views

Correct pronunciation of “herbs”

In the past, I used to say "Herbs", then I was corrected and told that the "H" is muted and one should say "Erbs". Watching some video, the instructor keeps saying "Herbs". What is the right ...
10
votes
0answers
273 views

Pronunciation of '-ing' endings as '-een' [duplicate]

Recently my daughter told us she’d had a supply teacher at school because her regular teacher was “at home pukin’.” The pronunciation of the -ing ending as in’ [ɪn] (rather than [ɪŋ]) seems to be ...
10
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2answers
33k views

Why is “albeit” pronounced the way it is?

I've previously (and am now embarrassed because of this) pronounced this word "ahl-bite" and now realize it is pronounced "ahl-bee-it." Why is it pronounced like this, and not the way I previously ...
9
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6answers
6k views

Pronunciation of “Wales” and “whales” in Scotland

I was brought up in Japan and I was taught that w and wh are pronounced differently. But after I came to the US I learned that they mostly sound the same. Now I watched this Youtube video where Craig ...
8
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5answers
56k views

How is 'via' pronounced and where did these variations come from? [closed]

Over the years, I've heard people say 'v-ē-ə', 'v-ī-ə', and sometimes the 'uh' is an 'ah' sound. (edit- It has come to my attention that 'via' was once a 'wee-ah' from Latin, but I don't feel like ...
7
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6answers
122k views

“Zoe” or “Zoë”: which is the correct spelling?

I have a relation who has named their child Zoe, on the grounds that “in English we don’t use the dots”, but they pronounce it like the second version. Of course I don’t want to argue that’s not the ...
6
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1answer
1k views

A rule for identifying the stressed syllable in abstract nouns ending in -ity. Is it foolproof?

When I was a student I was taught that the stressed syllable in an abstract noun ending in -ity is always the antepenultimate. e.g. reliability spontaneity ability felicity eternity rarity ...
5
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5answers
3k views

How do you pronounce the H in “an historian”?

A lot of people I know argue that you should use the article "an" before words such as "historian", "history", "hotel", "hospital", "heretic". I don't want to debate whether or not this is correct or ...
5
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1answer
7k views

Rules to pronounce “cha-” words [duplicate]

I am puzzled on how to pronounce cha- words. For example, I know that "chameleon" or "chamomile" are pronounced with a hard "c" like in "camel", not with a soft "c" like in "change". "Charity", on the ...
5
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3answers
616 views

Does “fathers” in RP exclude R and unvoice the S?

In received pronunciation, the word "father" ends in /ə/. I haven't found an IPA transcription of the plural form, and am wondering: RP being non-rhotic, is the "r" here excluded? Is the S voiced (/z/...
4
votes
1answer
898 views

Which words are pronounced with an /ɑː/ or /æ/ depending on dialect?

Certain English words are pronounced with two different vowels depending on the dialect of the speaker, namely with /ɑː/ or /æ/ (in IPA notation). These include: can't, last, fast, past, path, ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Pronunciation of Bank, Tank, etc.: Bay-nk, Ray-nk or Baen-k or Raen-k?

What is the standard US pronunciation for words such as the following: Bank Rank At least in my dialect of US English (Inland Northern), the following seem like close transcriptions: Bank: bay-nk ...
3
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2answers
3k views

the and thee (I prefer to pronounce it as thuh all the time) [closed]

My question is can I always pronounce THE with thuh instead of thee? Because unlike "a" "an" rule, pronouncing "thee" seems cumbersome for some people (including me) Note that I know the "emphasis" ...
3
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3answers
3k views

Correct pronunciation of “TT”? [closed]

A single t between vowels sounds like a d to me (or like an r in my language, Brazilian Portuguese). May I say the tt spelling the same way, or does that only work for a single t?
3
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2answers
1k views

The pronunciation of ending “s”

I know the rule of pronouncing s at the end of words(plural nouns and singular verbs) that if s follows a voice sound(d, l, etc.), it will be pronounced as /z/ sound. For example, "words" is ...
3
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1answer
1k views

The pronunciation of “was” has changed since the Seventeenth Century. When and why did it change"?

In Chaucer and John Donne "was" is pronounced like "wahss" but nowadays we say "woz". When did the change occur? and why?
2
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3answers
2k views

Pronunciation of “-st-”. When is it “sd” and when “st”?

I recently found some words but I got confused and don't know whether to say sd or st. I am sure the following are pronounced as st: sister caster ancestor master But the following are pronounced as ...
2
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8answers
3k views

Is there a difference between “bitter” and “better” in pronunciation?

I was wondering if there was any difference between "bitter" and "better" in pronunciation? My assumption is that one is pronounced with a soft "d" as in "better" and the other one with a hard "t" as ...
2
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3answers
5k views

Should 'g' followed by 'e' and 'i' be pronounced with a soft or hard g? [closed]

In English, words with a 'g' followed by a front vowel (e, i, y) can be pronounced with a soft g or a hard g: Words with Germanic roots are usually pronounced with a hard g: gear, get, gift, give ...
1
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2answers
3k views

What are the rules to pronounce the suffix “-tion” in English, “/-tʃən/” or “ʃən”? [closed]

Ok, we got a lot of words with suffix "-tion" in English like reflection or congestion. But the way to pronounce "-tion" is different sometimes. congestion /kənˈdʒes.tʃən/ reflection /rɪˈflek.ʃən/ ...
1
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2answers
8k views

Is there a rule for how to pronounce words such as “dance”, “prance”, “castle”?

Is there a grammatical rule for the pronunciation of words such as dance, castle and prance? I believe the British English pronunciation is "ah", while in American English it is a short "a" sound.
1
vote
1answer
405 views

Which English words feature reduction of diphthongs like /eɪ/ to /i/?

Consider the following examples: karaoke as /ˈkæ.ɹiˌəʊ.ki/ Israel as /ˈɪz.ɹi.əl/ al-Qaida as "alky aida" Monday as "mundy" Friday as "fridy" and possibly: Capernaum as /kəˈpɜːɹ.ni.əm/ Sinai as /...
1
vote
3answers
992 views

Is it common to pronounce 'only' as 'own-knee'?

I personally find it very hard to pronounce the 'L' sound right after 'N'. Would you say it is quite common or at least understandable to pronounce 'only' as 'own-knee' (fastly)?
0
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3answers
7k views

Rationale behind pronunciation of “subtle”

I've read pronunciation, yet I'm still irresolute about the exposition/logic behind the pronunciation of subtle. Why is the b not pronounced? subtle = subtil(e) in French, in which the b is ...
0
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1answer
2k views

What’s the pronunciation of “ s’ ”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the pronunciation of the possessive words that already end in s? “The Weasley twins’ friend, Lee Jordan, was doing the commentary for the match.” Do native ...
0
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2answers
1k views

What is the pronounciation of “the” before the vowel “e”? [duplicate]

How do you pronounce the vowel in the article "the" when used before "evil"? (American English)
-1
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2answers
1k views

Pronunciation of “twenty” in US English

I often hear how people from the United States pronounce "twenty" as "twonny" in movies, etc. Why? Is this an alternative pronunciation?
70
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9answers
20k 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’...
77
votes
2answers
114k 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 ...
85
votes
25answers
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”?
41
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4answers
81k 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.
19
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5answers
18k views

What phonetic notation is Google dictionary using?

I think Google dictionary is not using IPA. But I don't know what phonetic notation it is using. For example, the "y" in prefix "hypo" is pronounced differently with following phonetic notation in ...
8
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4answers
18k views

Pronunciation of “of”

Is "of" always supposed to be pronounced with the v sound (like "ov")? Or does it depend on the region (e.g. US, UK) or maybe on the word that follows the preposition? For example, how would you ...
25
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5answers
6k views

Silent “w” in words starting with “wr-”

My eldest is a beginning reader. Yesterday we read one of my favorite books, The Wreck of the Zephyr. He pointed at wreck and asked me why that one looked like it said "wuh-reck." I explained that ...
13
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5answers
18k views

Pronunciation of plural form of words ending in “-th”

I have realized that to pronounce the plural form of words ending in -th, we have to drop the letter "h". e.g. Months is pronounced /mʌnts/. But I have never seen this point mentioned in any context. ...
10
votes
3answers
16k views

Why English pronunciation differs so much from written language, compared to German?

Given that English is derived mostly from German, when Anglo-Saxons (German tribes) migrated to Britain, how do you explain that although German has a strict correspondence between written language ...
46
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9answers
50k 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 ...
20
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4answers
53k views

When did Greenwich begin to be pronounced as “Gren-ich”?

I just read an interesting question here on Greenwich Mean Time. I'm interested to know when Greenwich received its peculiar pronunciation. Has it always been pronounced as "GREN-ich" (/ˈɡrɛnɪtʃ/), ...
18
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4answers
4k views

How to explain accent variations to students

I am an ESL teacher working in China. During lessons, I am occasional interrupted by students or parents who point out that my pronunciation of some words is incorrect. They then produce a dictionary ...
9
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4answers
3k views

Why do people often say 'hambag' for 'handbag'?

Edit The comments here are full of disbelievers! "I've never heard handbag pronounced that way. Which country are you from?" Oh ye of little faith! So - I've attached a couple of examples here ...
8
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2answers
7k views

A term for words that change pronunciation with part of speech

I'm talking about words like: construct: CON-struct(n.), cun-STRUCT(v.) present: PRE-sent(n.), pre-SENT(v.) record: RE-cord(n.), ri-CORD(v.) They are pronounced differently based on whether they are ...
7
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1answer
33k views

Why are the past and present tenses of “read” spelt the same?

and only have different pronunciations?
5
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4answers
3k views

Palatalization of the initial “s” in words starting with “str-”

Sometimes I hear native speakers pronounce the s at the beginning of a word as [ʃ]. For example, straight as [ʃtreɪt], or struggle as [ʃtrʌɡl]. It sounds like German words. Is it a certain English ...
28
votes
4answers
17k views

What is the correct pronunciation of “regex”?

The term regular expression is often shortened to regex. What is the correct pronunciation of the g in regex? Is it like the g1 in gallium, or is it like the g2 in giraffe? I’ve heard it said both ...
21
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4answers
866 views

Is there a word for words that people are more likely to have read than heard, thus don't know how to pronounce?

As a software guy I find myself using words like "idempotent" and "cache", which I'm very familiar with from technical writings, but have seldom heard being spoken. When I do hear someone using these ...
17
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2answers
7k views

Why is “str” sometimes pronounced as “shtr”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Pronunciation of voiceless alveolar fricative /s/ as ʃ (/sh/) in slang? My understanding was that the cluster "str", for example in "stress", is usually pronounced /stɹɛs/, ...
15
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4answers
15k views

Pronunciation of “er” in “farmer” vs. “earth”

I'm confused about the difference in pronouncing "er" in words such as "farmer" and "earth". I hear them the same, but they have different phonetic symbols. Is there any difference in pronouncing "er" ...