Questions tagged [vowels]

Vowels sounds in English.

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36
votes
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Pronunciation of “catch”

I was curious about the different pronunciations of the word catch; more specifically, the difference between /kætʃ/ and /kɛtʃ/. The Oxford dictionary lists both pronunciations as correct; is this ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Pronunciation of “Nevada” [closed]

People in the state of Nevada insist that it should be pronounced /nəˈvædə/ (with the vowel of TRAP)—this "issue" always comes up during campaigns—while much of the country typically pronounces it /...
10
votes
3answers
69k views

Is it “flotation” or “floatation”?

Is the difference between flotation and floatation a US/UK difference or something else? I think I did see floatation in some physics book.
3
votes
2answers
342 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
124k views

How do we differentiate long vowels from short vowels in English

I was finding a school for my toddler. I saw this new theory called long vowels and short vowels The teacher talk about apple, which she read something like "eiple" and the hat, which she claims use ...
1
vote
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 ...
7
votes
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?
4
votes
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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
8k views

Do Americans pronounce “Ellen” and “Alan” in the same way?

Do Americans pronounce "Ellen" and "Alan" in the same way? I am especially concerned with the first vowel. EDIT: Here is a quote that may be a case in point: Being a Brit also, the names "Ellen" ...
7
votes
2answers
10k views

Why is it 'speaking'/'speech' instead of 'speeking'/'speech' or 'speaking'/'speach'?

Why is it speaking/speech instead of speeking/speech or speaking/speach?
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Distinctive features of English diphthongs

I am looking for a table of distinctive features for English dipthongs along the lines of that available for other vowels here. I don't trust my purely book learned linguistic skills to produce an ...
2
votes
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?
11
votes
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
51k 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 "...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Can vowels be combined in English without forming diphthongs?

Usually all combinations of vowels in English function as diphthongs. Are there any combinations of vowels in English that do not function as diphthongs? if there are no such examples - I would be ...
5
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
304 views

“Vowels have no attack”

What is the linguistic meaning of this sentence? Vowels are always voiced, and have no attack of their own.
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Where did “sorry” get its vowel sound?

Sorry has two pronunciations in my dictionary: ˈsärē and ˈsôrē. The first is the one I am interested in because, as someone pointed out to me, the or pattern in English is nearly always pronounced as "...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the overlap between “Y” and “I”?

My son and I were reciting the Spanish alphabet recently. "Y" is i griega, which means "Greek i." This got me thinking about the English letter Y and its function in our alphabet. All of the words ...
16
votes
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" ...
13
votes
4answers
70k views

Why doesn't “ninth” have an “e”, like “ninety”?

Is it just because "ninth" has only one syllable? That wouldn't make sense, though, because saying "NINE-ith" wouldn't be worse than saying "NINE-e-tee". If we were used to "nineth", we would have ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do “able” and “haste” have long a's?

(There are others, such as table, paste, and baste.) The rule I've heard is that a vowel is made long when succeeded by a consonant and then another vowel. Some words treat double consonants as a ...
1
vote
0answers
81 views

“An” versus “a” before a bracketed word that starts with a vowel followed by a non-bracketed word that doesn't start with a vowel [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement Which of the following is right/preferred: The request is fulfilled by an (ideally) close by node. or The request ...
3
votes
2answers
34k views

Are W and Y vowels? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: When is “Y” a vowel? Is the 'w' in 'cow' a vowel or a consonant? Are W and Y vowels? I learned it depends on the conditions. But I don't know ...
6
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
15
votes
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
34
votes
5answers
165k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

Online rhyme dictionary/rhyming resource that lists rhymes by vowel sound (assonance)

Anyone know of an online rhyming dictionary or rhyme resource that lists rhymes by vowel sound (assonance)? RhymeZone.com doesn't have such an option.
9
votes
2answers
46k views

Why is 'an' used with 'an honour'?

Why is 'an' used with 'an honour'? Isn't 'an' limited to the vowels?
25
votes
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"...
14
votes
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 ...
158
votes
3answers
208k 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!
14
votes
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 ...
27
votes
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 ...

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