Questions tagged [vowels]

Vowels sounds in English.

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5answers
3k views

Variations in the pronunciation of “the”

Although there are rather simple rules determining the pronunciation of "the", native speakers quite often deviate from these rules (including, e.g., TV shows). According to the Longman Pronunciation ...
27
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4answers
4k views

Why do written English vowels differ from other Latin-based orthographies?

Written English vowels differ from other Latin-based orthographies. Consider what the written vowels in the romance languages represent. Also, for example, consider this simple comparison between a ...
36
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10answers
33k 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 ...
34
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5answers
164k views

When is “Y” a vowel?

In school we are taught the vowels: A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y. Today's XKCD got me thinking about when the letter Y is considered to be a vowel. I understand (perhaps incorrectly) that in ...
12
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8answers
35k views

The + vowel letter

I've been told that when "the" is proceeded by a vowel sound, like "apple" or "hour", it's pronounced as "thee" and not as "thu". But after listening to a couple of songs, I noticed that sometimes ...
14
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1answer
21k views

Is pronouncing “The” as in “Thee” still correct in titles?

When saying the title of JRR Tolkien's masterpiece, which is the correct pronunciation (Yes, I know that they're spelled wrong, but I'm trying to emphasize the pronunciation): Thuh Lord of thuh Rings ...
5
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3answers
4k views

The pronunciation of words which begins 'con' and 'com'

I know there is no strict rule on pronunciation of words in English but here my question is about the words which begin with 'con' and 'com', more than asking general rule. When I look at the words ...
11
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2answers
6k 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?
6
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1answer
884 views

Why is “salient” pronounced with a “long a” sound?

The word salient is pronounced with a "long a" sound; Wiktionary gives the US pronunciation as /ˈseɪ.ljənt/, /ˈseɪ.li.ənt/. Is there any reason why the vowel letter here receives its "long" ...
25
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5answers
7k views

New Zealand pronunciation of “women” vs “woman”

I have read in a number of places that the NZ pronunciation of "women" must be rather peculiar. Quoting from just one such place: For some years I've noted the tendency of Kiwis to pronounce "woman"...
6
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2answers
2k views

Why do we pronounce a long second vowel in “decide”, but a short second vowel in “decision”?

The "i" in decide is pronounced [aɪ], whereas the first "i" in decision is pronounced [ɪ], at least in American English. The same with pairs like collide/collision, divide/division, etc., despite the ...
6
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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 ...
1
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1answer
736 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 /...
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2answers
878 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 ...
14
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7answers
9k 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 ...
10
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1answer
22k views

Difference between IPA ɚ, ɹ, and ɝ

Wanting to be more Californian and trying to correct my accent, I'm looking at the sound for mother, in the North America column. What is the difference between IPA symbols for ɚ, ɹ, and ɝ. (ɝ is not ...
2
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4answers
1k views

Why are “fun” and “hulk” phonetically transcribed with the same vowel but pronounced differently?

I see many words in English have the same phonetics but I don't know why they sound different. It means if we read the phonetics and pronounce, it will be wrong. Here are the examples. fun : /fʌn/ ...
1
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2answers
6k views

Why does a silent “-e” at the end of a word lengthen vowels?

There's a common pattern in English spelling where "short" vowels are pronounced as "long" vowels with the addition of a silent "e" at the end of the word. E.g. bit → bite mat → mate pet → pete Is ...
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 ...
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 ...
1
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2answers
9k 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.
158
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3answers
206k views

What is the plural form of “zero”?

I tried looking on Google, but there are some fairly contradictory results. I thought I'd ask you guys so we could get an authoritative answer on the subject!
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4answers
16k 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" ...
5
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5answers
156k 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 ...
10
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3answers
50k 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
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3answers
16k views

Is the 'w' in 'cow' a vowel or a consonant? [duplicate]

Is the w in cow a vowel or a consonant? Assuming it is considered a vowel, would it likewise be so in how? I learned that the vowels are "a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y." If w can be a vowel, what ...
7
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4answers
52k views

What is the use of “w” as Semi-vowel?

In English alphabet, there are five (5) Vowels- a, e, i, o and u. And there are two (2) more letters- y and w, which are called Semi-Vowels. In the word "cry", y is considered as Semi-vowel. ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Vowel sound in *die* vs *dice*

Is it just me, or is the letter "i" pronounced differently in the words die and dice? In die, it sounds like the regular long I sound (ay), but in the word dice, it sounds closer to something like "...
3
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2answers
337 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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3answers
14k views

How to pronounce “aa” vowel pair? [closed]

The word in question is "thraal", a species from the Dr. Who universe (http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Thraal) and coincidentally also a species from the Transformers universe (http://tfwiki.net/wiki/...
8
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3answers
2k views

Difference between /ʌ/ and /ə/ in English IPA

If someone who is a linguistics expert could explain this to me in a way I can understand, I'd really appreciate it. I get that /ʌ/ is used on stressed vowels and /ə/ on reduced vowels, but they sound ...
5
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3answers
6k views

/i/ sound before “ng” and “nk”

I'm a substitute teacher and recently was teaching a kindergarten class about long i sound. They were crossing out words without long i, circling words with long i. One of the words was ink. I told ...
4
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8answers
13k views

Why is “go” spelled with the same vowel as “do” and “to” since it is pronounced differently?

These two-letter words ending in -o are pronounced with the vowel /oʊ/: bo, go ho, jo, lo, no, so, and yo whereas do and to are pronounced with the vowel /uː/. Is there an explanation for the ...
2
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3answers
1k views

French speaker here — How to pronounce “r” and “l”?

I'm a French speaker and actually I have some problems with the sounds l , r and o in lawyer. Do you have any advice for me on how to place the tongue and so on?
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3answers
22k views

Is there such a thing as an unvoiced vowel?

I can't think of any and google has not been helpful.
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3answers
10k views

Are there any other English syllables without vowels, besides “thm”?

As far as I knew*, all English syllables have a vowel sound and all of them are spelled accordingly, except for "thm" as in rhythm and algorithm. Are there any others? And are there any etymological ...
15
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2answers
8k views

Why did 'y' disappear as an internal vowel in English spelling?

Why did the character 'y' disappear in favor of 'i' in English spelling? I've often noticed this replacement when merchants try to sell or advertise something as archaic or old-timey, writing wife as ...
14
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2answers
64k views

Is “imbedded” a valid spelling of the word “embedded”?

I have seen this used on our marketing materials: The technology imbedded in this solution will help improve productivity. I was going to flag it as a spelling error, however Googling provided ...
8
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2answers
14k views

Participle of “center/centre” in UK English — “centring”? Seriously? [closed]

As an American, I was never shocked to see the word "center" spelled as "centre." It didn't bother me at all. Honestly. But then I saw the participle of it spelled as "centring" as opposed to "...
7
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2answers
37k views

Any rule for pronouncing “e”?

I hear three different sounds for the letter e in precious, bean, and Peru. Is there a rule that covers the different pronunciations that a written letter e can represent in speech?
3
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5answers
16k views

pronunciation US-UK in words like “semi”

I am trying to find a document that explains pronunciation differences in /E/ and /I/ sounds between UK and US styles. I think US pronunciation has /'sɛmay/ a lot more often than UK /'sɛmi/. Where can ...
2
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1answer
109 views

Does /ɛ/ have more than one sound?

As a non-native speaker, I hear /ɛ/ as two different sounds depending on the word. The first sound seems to occur in words such as bet and get and is closer to an /æ/ sound, while the second one ...
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6answers
11k views

Pronunciation of vowel in vague as [æ] instead of [eɪ]

I have a friend who pronounces the vowel in plague, vague, and bagel as [æ] instead of the standard [eɪ] (so plague rhymes with flag, for instance). Interestingly, he apparently can't tell the ...
6
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4answers
1k views

The pronunciation of 'Hawaii'

Apparently some parts of the US routinely pronounce the name of our island state as 'Hawaya.' At first, I thought this was just incorrect, but apparently it's a regional usage. Where do they call it ...
6
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3answers
18k views

The pronunciation of “ate”

I was talking to some friends and I said "I ate (/et/) chocolate yesterday...". Then my friend corrected me: "you ate (/eit/) chocolate...". I repeated my sentence with the /eit/ pronunciation and we ...
5
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3answers
31k views

Longest English word without a vowel sound

I am not an English student, by discipline I am physicist, so am asking this question in innocence. I searched Google for the longest word without a vowel sound and I got these results: The ...
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 ...
3
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1answer
5k views

/ɑ/ vs /ʌ/ pronunciation

I've realized I don't actually understand the difference between ɑ and ʌ completely. Background: I'm a Hebrew speaker. for me, the ʌ is pretty much the short Hebrew Kamatz sound (Bet with kamatz - ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Long vs. short vowels in English words of Latin origin

Is there any way to determine if a vowel is short or long in English words of Latin origin? I've noticed that u is usually long in Latin words (e.g., Jupiter) but what about other vowels?
1
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2answers
6k views

What is the i with a dot on top and dot on bottom called?

I was watching a foreign film and I saw a "i" with a dot on the top as usual and a dot on the bottom. What is it called and is there a way I can find it and type it? More details: It was a ...