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I'm playing the pronunciation over and over again but I cannot say it myself: Is the word new in British English and similar ones pronounced as [nyu], like the word meow, or is it pronounced like [ñu:] with the spanish ñ or Czech and Turmen ň?

In other words, is the n pronounced with the mouth positioned like in the pronunciation of normal n (like in nail) or is it positioned like in the pronunciation of y?

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    Questions of pronunciation are not generally allowed on this site, because there is so much variation between different regions and dialects. You'd have to first specify which region/dialect you want to sound like -- "standard" British, "standard" American, Australian, American South, New York City, London "cockney", Ireland, Scotland, etc. etc. Believe it or not all of these do pronounce "new" differently. – Andrew Dec 19 '16 at 20:22
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    @Andrew Pronunciation is on-topic. See the What topics can I ask about here?. – Mick Dec 19 '16 at 20:47
  • The Cambridge Dictionary is good for pronunciation, both for BrE and AmE. – Mick Dec 19 '16 at 20:48
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    @Andrew, Mick, no, no, no! Pronunciation is super on-topic here. Downvoting questions about pronunciation because accents exist is silly. There are varieties of AmE and BrE pronunciation which are standardly taught to learners. These questions are generally on-topic and answerable. – snailboat Dec 19 '16 at 21:18
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    This question asks about phonetics, and the phonemic transcriptions in dictionaries alone are insufficient to answer it. If it is closed with "entirely answerable by a dictionary", I will reopen it. – snailboat Dec 19 '16 at 21:21
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To an English-speaking ear, these two variants (consonant sequence ny versus palatalised ñ) sound identical. In fact, your question is probably incomprehensible to most monolingual English speakers.

For myself (British English), I pronounce it as a palatalised ñ. But either variant is fine, and nobody will notice the difference.

  • in fact, I'd say ñ is "palatal", not "palatalized" – sumelic Dec 20 '16 at 1:40
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In BrE, new is pronounced with a /y/ sound: "nyew". In AmE, it is "noo".

new [adjective] uk ​ /njuː/ us ​ /nuː/

Cambridge Dictionary

  • And in Australian it can sound more like "nee" or "neah". youtube.com/watch?v=AdnYuQ80tKk – Andrew Dec 19 '16 at 21:02
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    There are many Americans who say nju (and njus for news), myself being one of them. I am actually quite surprised to see nu given as the prevalent pronunciation, though this is the case in American dictionaries as well. FWIW, while I also distinguish between duel and dual (djuəl and duəl) when most don't, I do say tʃus and sut for chews and suit. – choster Dec 19 '16 at 23:14
  • Cambridge is pretty reliable for their British RP recordings. I am never too sure about their AmE versions. – Mick Dec 19 '16 at 23:25
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    I think this is not as good as TonyK's answer because, as explained there, there are actually multiple ways this can be realized phonetically. A dictionary gives a phonemic transcription, which doesn't fully answer the question since [nyu] and [ñu:] are phonemically equivalent. – sumelic Dec 20 '16 at 5:54

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