Questions tagged [pronunciation]

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

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17
votes
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
votes
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" ...
14
votes
1answer
15k views

Why is “blood” pronounced the way it is?

I mean, why isn't it pronounced "blue-d" rather than "blud". And this applies to "flood" too, but not "glood" or "clood" I imagine.
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Has elision revised the standard spelling of any words in the past century?

Elision ("the omission of one or more sounds in a word or phrase") produces the following: going → goin(') going to → gonna Worcester → Wuster (ˈwʊstər) However, this hasn't affected the ...
6
votes
3answers
462k views

Difference Between “Sell” and “Sale”?

I'm a copy editor at a law firm and need to give a quick-and-dirty explanation of the difference between "sell" and "sale" to a native English speaker (a legal secretary) who is very self-conscious ...
5
votes
5answers
152k views

How Many Diphthongs Are There In English?

I was talking to a person who said that there were only two. I think she said that the "ou" in house is one of the two. I told her that the way the letter "i" is pronounced is a diphthong, and she ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

th followed by an s sound [duplicate]

What is the correct way to pronounce such complicated combination of sounds when not pausing for breath? As an example, how would one pronounce something like "The Eighteenth century"?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

What was going on with “quha”, “quhat” and the like in Scots and English?

From the Dictionar o the Scots Leid: Quha, Quhay, interrog. and rel. pron. Also: qwha, qha, qua, qwa, wha, vha, hua; qhaa; quhaw; quhai qwhay, whay, quay; quhae, whae; quhe, quhey, qwhey. [...
13
votes
2answers
19k views

Pronunciation of “Celt”: /kɛlt/ vs. /sɛlt/

Both /kɛlt/ and /sɛlt/ are considered acceptable pronunciations of the noun Celt and similarly of the adjective Celtic. Is there a reason for the different pronunciations? Which is the more common? Is ...
10
votes
3answers
42k views

Why do people pronounce “Naomi” as “Niomi”?

The Wikipedia page for "Naomi (given name)" says once said "pronounced nay-oh-mee" which is how I pronounce my daughter's name, but quite often people pronounce it "nigh-oh-mee" (that is, with a long "...
10
votes
3answers
13k views

Why is “busy” pronounced “bizzy”?

Of all the ways I could come up with to pronounce the word "busy", "bizzy" would be very low on my list. At least "bussy" or "boosy". Why "bizzy"?
10
votes
4answers
50k views

How common is pronouncing the past tense of beat as /bet/?

Personally, I pronounce the past tense of "beat" (to win at a game) as /biːt/, to sound identical to the infinitive. However, I have heard a few people under the age of 30 and from either the west or ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Dropped g's in upper-class 1930s Britain

‘Now take huntin'…’ ‘Oh, bull-fightin' — that's quite a different kettle of fish.…’ Italics bred italics. Dropped g's fell as thick as confetti. (Jan Struther, Mrs Miniver, 1939; 4th chapter, “The ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

British upper-class pronunciation of words like “what” and “when”

More from the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. I've noticed in these sort of movies, when some very upper-class speakers talk, like the lawyer in the series, Mr. Tulkinghorn, they have ...
7
votes
4answers
23k views

Pronunciation of “Sarah”, “Sara” and other names with the letter “a” before “r”

In Britain (or perhaps just Scotland) the names "Sara" and "Sarah" are pronounced different. Sara: Sah-rah ("a" as in "bat") Sarah: Se-rah ("a" as in "air") In the US and Canada, Sarah and ...
6
votes
5answers
13k views

How to know how to pronounce an “-e” ending based on spelling?

I’ve always wondered how the -e word ending should be pronounced: For example (correct me if I’m wrong), the words apache, Adobe, Skype, etc. have the -e ending pronounced like in the word be. ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there any English word starting with “gh” and “gh” is not pronounced as /ɡ/?

Gh is a digraph in English (and in some other languages). In English, you can see it at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the word. If ⟨gh⟩ is not at the beginning of the word, it is ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Are what-cha and arent-cha examples of elision?

Are these words examples of elision? What effect do they create? If a child says them what does this suggest about their language development? Thanks for any help!!
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Is “of” pronounced as “ov”?

Few years back, one of our English teachers told that, In India, we [typically] pronounce "of" as "of" or "off". But the real pronunciation is "ov". When I try to listen the same in Google ...
3
votes
8answers
7k views

If enough people say “supposably” instead of “supposedly”

"Supposably" sounds awful (to my ear) and I'm surprised at how often I hear it said. How often would it have to be used within the general population for it to become an acceptable alternative ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Unvoiced /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ in word final position

It seems to me that both /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ become voiceless (or almost) when they occur in word final position. Is this true? Examples: age, wage, courage, judge garage, sabotage, collage, mirage Does ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Variant pronunciation of “obesity”

A question mainly for Americans: Could you please confirm if some Americans indeed pronounce the "e" of "obesity" as the "ea" of "steady" rather than the "ee" of "bee" (o-be-si-ty instead of o-bee-si-...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

When we will use soft and hard sound in 'c'? [closed]

Sometimes we use the soft sound, and sometimes the hard – but why? Is there any rule?
19
votes
6answers
47k views

The pronunciation of buoy

How did the word buoy come to be pronounced "BOO-ee" in most of the US? The British pronunciation "BOY" as in the word buoyancy or buoyant (which both countries pronounce the same) seems to be pretty ...
15
votes
5answers
9k views

Are there any words in English pronounced with /e/ at the end?

In first-language English pronunciation (Australian, British, American, etc., not Indian, Malaysian, etc.) are there any words with the /e/ (or /ɛ/) sound in "bed" /bed/ at the end of a word? As a ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Pronunciation of street/road/avenue/etc. names

About three decades ago I read a book on English usage that was already quite old at the time—I think it was a 1940s book—which pointed out a pronunciational habit that I hadn't noticed before. The ...
12
votes
2answers
73k views

Where does the intrusive R come from in “warsh”?

My grandmother, who grew up in western Pennsylvania, pronounced wash and Washington with an intrusive R: “warsh” and “Warshington.” Where does the intrusive R come from in that dialect? It doesn’t ...
12
votes
3answers
34k views

Why is “sherbet” pronounced “sherbert” so much?

This has often stumped me. Not being a world-traveler, I don't know how widespread this pronunciation is, but if anyone knows: where did the r come from?
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there any rule for pronouncing words beginning with “re-”?

It’s hard for me to guess how to pronounce words beginning with re- correctly. Sometimes it is /rɛ/ as in reference, but sometimes it is /ri/ as in report. Is there any rule about this?
9
votes
3answers
9k views

Why pronunciation of “Crooked” is “Crook-ked”? [duplicate]

I've noticed that the pronunciations of "picked" gives its sound like "pick" with final sound "d" but for "Crooked" and "Naked" Why do they pronounce them like "Crook-ked" and "Nake-ked"? How can I ...
9
votes
3answers
544 views

Why is “man” in “Snowman” pronounced differently than in “Frenchman” or “Englishman”?

It seems that in the words Englishman, Frenchman, and Scotsman, the ‑man part is pronounced /mən/ (just like in Roman). Whereas in snowman, the ‑man part is pronounced /mæn/ (just like in no man). ...
7
votes
1answer
7k views

Why is The Mall (Westminster, London) pronounced like mawl?

Why is The Mall pronounced differently even though it shares the same spelling as mall (shopping)?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Latin pronunciation [closed]

(You may well say this doesn't fit into an "English language" site, but the scientific Latin terms could be said to be part of English.) My young daughter loves snails; I would like her to learn the ...
7
votes
5answers
9k views

Which syllable is stressed in the word “nineteen”?

The dictionaries list both possibilities to stress nineteen (or any other -teen, for that matter): ,nine-teen and nine-'teen. Are the two pronunciations completely interchangeable, a matter of ...
6
votes
1answer
791 views

Pronunciation of “-ed” endings

I noticed that the final -ed has different pronunciations. What's the general rule for knowing the correct pronunciation?
6
votes
3answers
14k views

Pronunciation of “applicable”

Do you pronounce the word like... Ap-PLIC-a-ble Or: APP-lic-a-ble And if so, is there a difference between the two?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is the verb form of “record” pronounced [ri-kawrd] but the noun form is pronounced [rek-erd]?

Is there a different origin of pronunciation style for record as a verb and as a noun? Fun fact: in OS X, if you type say "this record" and say "record this" — the text to speech system picks up the ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Whence came the different varieties of the “long i” diphthong?

What is the origin of “long long i” before voiced consonants (the [ai] of wide, while, & tribe) versus “short long i” before unvoiced consonants (the [ʌi] of white, wife, & wipe)? When did ...
5
votes
2answers
390 views

Are you googlable?

The search engine Google was launched in 1998 and on that same year, the term googling was first used. The verb “to google” earned its official status in the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, ...
4
votes
5answers
895 views

Why isn't the T in “relative” flapped?

One very common phenomenon in north-American English is T flapping when the T comes between two vowels (or semi-vowels, like the R sound) on an unstressed syllable. This "rule" is almost ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Pronunciation and usage of “bona fide”

As I am reading books and articles, I come across this bona fide. How do you pronounce this? How do you use it properly? I know the definition is in good faith, like if you are welcomed to someone's ...
4
votes
5answers
9k views

Pronunciation of “r”

How would you describe the pronunciation of r to somebody who speaks English as second language?
4
votes
2answers
10k views

How do you pronounce “ a ”

I'v heard this sentence " If you kiss a frog, it turns into a prince. " and the British announcer read this sentence like this If you kiss [ ɛɪ ] frog, it turns into [ ə ] prince Is there any ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What is it called phonetically, when Americans change the pronunciation of “pronunciation” to “pro-*noun*-ciation”?

I used to have quite a bit of trouble spelling the word pronunciation because it's a long word, and because the way I pronounce it misleads me — I say "pro-noun-ciation" instead of "pro-nun-...
3
votes
3answers
855 views

the weak form of 'on'

I am confused at whether or not there is a weak form at preposition's 'ON'. I've checked at some dictionaries at Cambridge and Oxford dictionary, they don't mention on the weak form's pronunciation. ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Are there different types of Pronunciation Guides?

In dictionaries you'll often see a pronunciation guide next to words like (bakery would be beɪkəri). Are there different standards of these pronunciation guides? Also, where can I learn how to ...
3
votes
1answer
7k views

How do you pronounce (r) in British English?

For example, we have - car /kɑː(r)/ - or /ɔː(r)/ I thought the brackets means you delete it - i.e. non rhotic - but now I see the phonetic spelling of words like "hard" which don't include the r ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Is “question” pronounced with an “s” or with an “sh” sound?

In all dictionaries the word question is pronounced /ˈkwɛst͡ʃən/, with the sound /t͡ʃ/ (like the ch in church) corresponding to the written ‹ti›. I wanted to know if any phonological change happens ...
2
votes
1answer
438 views

i vs. I in “pink” “ring” [duplicate]

I've always transcribed "pink" and "ring" with the vowel /I/ (lax) vs. the tense /i/, and my students have never argued with me about it, but suddenly I've been getting a good number of students ...
2
votes
1answer
285 views

Waiteen for waiting

While it's reasonably common for people to drop the g in words such as waiting, hating, and dating, I seem to be stumbling upon a number of Americans additionally drawing out the final syllable of ...

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