Questions tagged [vowels]

This tag is for questions about the pronunciation and orthographic representation of vowels.

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Can the "ee" sound be pronounced as "ay" in songs

I always though that sometimes in songs, words like "me" were sometimes pronounced like "may", as in the month, but I was never a 100% sure and thought it could just be my ears not ...
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0 votes
2 answers
109 views

Does English not have the vowel /ε/? If it exists, what's the difference between /ε/ and /e/? [closed]

I've attempted to search and google related topics and found these two: here and here, although, I'm afraid I don't get their points and I don't know if those would help. I just want to ask and ...
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19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why is editted wrong?

The general rule is that when we have vowel + consonant + vowel we should double the consonant, in order to properly pronounce the whole word. The examples include: submitted , shipping, etc. So why ...
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1 vote
2 answers
191 views

Is it wrong to pronounce "to" as /tə/ before words starting with vowels?

In Oxford Dictionary, it says it is correct to pronounce "to" as /tə/ only before words starting with a consonant. It seems fair to me too because /tə/ sounds off and unsmooth before vowels; ...
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3 votes
1 answer
577 views

Pronunciation of ‘deduce’ as duh-DOOS

When I look up some dictionaries, the pronunciation of the word 'deduce' is /dɪˈduːs/, but it is pronounced as duh·doos ([dəˈduːs]). Is there a rule when to pronounce the vowel /ɪ/ like that?
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1 answer
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Pronunciation of "tag" in American English

I have heard some American English speakers saying the word "tag" like [tεg], but the [ɛ] vowel is somewhat lengthened. Is that a specific regional accent? I can't find this pronunciation on ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
71 views

Why 'TEFL" is pronounced with Schwa /tef.əl/ although it's an abbreviation? [closed]

Why 'TEFL" is pronounced with Schwa /tef.əl/ although it's an abbreviation? What is the logic behind this of insertion a schwa sound?
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-1 votes
1 answer
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"Constructor" pronunciation debate [closed]

I have a debate with my friend on the pronunciation of “constructor” word that he claims there cannot be a pronunciation which is of IPA phonetic as following unlike mine that /ˈkɑn.stɹʌktəɹ/ of which ...
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Does /eɪ/ sound make a slight 'y' sound in the word "DAY"?

I am really confused with this sound /eɪ/ It seems that it has a /j/ or 'aaaay' sound when it is at the end of the word like: Day - /deɪ/ pray - /preɪ/ Also with words like Played Some people (non-...
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0 votes
1 answer
120 views

What is the difference between /ɔ/ and /ɑ:/? [duplicate]

Why they write the word 'Call' as /kɑːl/ (Cambridge) And some others, they write it like /kɔl/ (Collins) So, are they the same in American English?
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12 votes
3 answers
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How do I decide if an "i" is pronounced long or short?

I am an English teacher who has never really learned the complex rules of teaching pronunciation. Many learners here in Spain have difficulties deciding whether an "i" in a word is long or ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Minimal pairs with /ʌ/ and /ɑ/

Would an American native speaker be able to hear a difference between /ʌ/ and /ɑ/ in pronunciation of "done" and "don" and recognize which one was said without a context? For me as ...
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35 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why are the pronunciations of 'bicycle' and 'recycle' so different?

It is obvious that both 'recycle' and 'bicycle' have a common element 'cycle'. 'Cycle' on its own is pronounced with a long 'I' sound /aɪ/. 'Cycle' in 'recycle' is pronounced how 'cycle' is normally ...
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5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there any difference in pronunciation of 'wore' and 'were'?

'Were' and 'wore' sound the same to me. Is it true at native english users' ears? from dictionary: [wɔ:r] for wore and [wə́:r] for were
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1 vote
2 answers
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Is ”Physical”'s IPA spelling not unique?

Could you come up with an explanation why the same adjective "physical" has two IPA renderings of the same pronunciation? Oxford Learners Dictionary: /ˈfɪzɪkl/ (that is the /ə/ is missed in ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"Albeit" pronunciation - does any one say it like 'al-bite'?

This is most likely just a case of me "learning" to pronounce 'albeit' wrong, before I ever heard the word spoken by a native speaker. Had similar issues with other words in the past, so... ...
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3 votes
1 answer
51 views

Why are "define" and "definition" pronounced with different vowels? [duplicate]

It just doesn't make sense. "Define" has a long vowel and "definition" has short. Isn't "definition" the noun form of "define"? Shouldn't both have the same ...
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1 vote
1 answer
91 views

Segmental -> [sɛɡ|mɛnt"ə"l] Can I omit the "/ə/" sound?

segmental [sɛɡ|mɛntəl] Can I omit the /ə/ sound? Due to another dictionary's pronunciation [seɡˈmentl]
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  • 2,572
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does "wind" have two different pronunciations?

The word "wind" seems to be problematic (with almost all other English words that behave strangely). When it is used as a noun to mean the movement of air, it is pronounced to rhyme with &...
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0 votes
2 answers
117 views

Which British accents feature pronouncing [i] like "eyi"?

Pronouncing [i] like "eyi" has always been in my life, but I don't know who from I heard it so much. I finally found a person who actually speaks like this. It's Matthew Murphy, the vocalist ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Pronunciation of "Lives" [duplicate]

I often wonder what is the proper pronunciation of "lives", like how would I pronounce "human lives", am I suppose to pronounce it like: Leeves Like i in thing. Or more like: ...
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1 vote
1 answer
110 views

"Law" vs "Lawyer" pronunciation, why is the "law" part sometimes pronounced differently?

So I've recently watched "Crazy Ex Girlfriend" (which is set in SoCal), and I've noticed everyone there pronounced "Law" and "Lawyer" differently, which was really ...
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1 vote
2 answers
156 views

Why are the vowels in "decisive" and "decision" different?

"Decision" is a very common and I have known it for most of the time in my life. It's pronunciation is /dɪˈsɪʒ.ən/. "Decisive" may be common in English speaking countries but I ...
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4 votes
2 answers
463 views

US-American pronunciation of 'e'

Since quite some time I get the impression, that especially in US-American, spoken english the pronunciation of 'e' (as in 'best' — /ɛ/) seems to shift towards 'a' (as in 'flat' — /æ/). Some recent ...
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1 vote
1 answer
650 views

Are "father" and "farther" pronounced exactly the same in British English?

In American English, "farther" is differentiated from "father" by the middle R, but I am talking about the British English in which the R's are only pronounced before vowels ...
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1 vote
1 answer
478 views

Should there be an article at the start of a factual sentence?

____Umbrella is of no avail against a thunderstorm. An A The No article (I opted for option "d" since we are not talking about any single umbrella. We are talking generally. what's your ...
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11 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why is "threepenny" pronounced as THREP.NI?

First of all, "threepenny" is a British word meaning "costing or worth three pence". It's quite an uncommon word. If you haven't heard it before, I'm pretty sure you would ...
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5 votes
2 answers
242 views

Why don't the vowels in "northern" and "eastern" get short like "southern"?

As you have probably seen the very recent question Why are “south” and “southern” pronounced with different vowels? The only (excellent) answer suggests that it is because of "Trisyllabic Laxing&...
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37 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why are "south" and "southern" pronounced with different vowels?

I was wondering why we pronounce the vowels in the words south and southern. They seem to be very closely related to each other. Both refer to the same direction. South is a noun and Southern is an ...
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14 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why does "elite" rhyme with "beet" rather than "bite"?

Why is "elite" pronounced /ɪˈliːt/ (rhyming with beet) and not /ɪˈlaɪt/ (rhyming with bite)? Most words that end in ite are pronounced with /aɪ/ — lite, trite, site, etc. — but elite is ...
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0 votes
1 answer
88 views

Counting syllables in English rhymes

I have the same question as answered here: Counting syllables in English words But for rhymes and their metre. When you look for words that rhyme with "castle", does castle still count as ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
93 views

Words with 'oo' that aren't pronouced as [ʊ]

I'm looking for words that has double o, but aren't pronounced as [ʊ]. (aren't like moon, goose, school) Ideally is there a rule, or even a hint for finding these kind of words? Looking at the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
153 views

Why are the vowels in "sense", "nonsense" and "nonsensical" pronounced differently?

I'm a bit confused by these words. Since "nonsense" derives from "sense" but the vowel in "sense" is /ɛ/ and it reduces to /ə/ in "nonsense". BUT "...
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19 votes
2 answers
4k views

'Me' vs 'my' [pronunciation] in British English

I noticed that British people sometimes use me instead of my. For example, Liam Gallagher does it quite often. Example: The wind was strong I have nearly lost me pants What is a story behind this ...
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0 votes
1 answer
142 views

the pronunciation of "gripe"

Cambridge Dictionary gives IPA symbol /ɡraɪp/ for "gripe" while Merriam-Webster gives /ˈgraɪp/. Both audio clips on them sound like grape, at least sound closer to grape than to white. When ...
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  • 383
0 votes
2 answers
541 views

How many vowels in each syllable?

I'm trying to improve my spelling, and I came across this article, which states that "Every syllable has one vowel'. How can this be true while words like room, pain, eat, grow, etc. Have one ...
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1 vote
2 answers
560 views

How to tell apart /ɝ/ and /ɛ/?

Today I discovered the word "scurry" and I immediately found that I couldn't tell it apart with "scary". I looked it up and found that it boils down to differentiating /ɝ/ and /ɛ/, ...
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1 vote
0 answers
50 views

a EULA or an EULA [duplicate]

We use "a" before words that start with a consonant sound and "an" before words that start with a vowel sound. "EULA" seems to start with a semivowel sound. An end-user license agreement (EULA, /...
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  • 327
1 vote
1 answer
65 views

Which phonetic alphabet represents the this sound?

Which phonetic alphabets represents the sound of 'u' in words like 'truck'? My real name includes written 'sam' but it is read as 'sum'. So I want to know what could I write between s _ m to make it ...
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0 votes
2 answers
124 views

When contract "used to" as "usta", is it pronounced /ə/ or /a/?

In everyday english, people like contracting words, for example, "used to" would be contracted as "usta". When people pronounce a single "usta", it sounds like /juːstah/; when people pronounce a ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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Minimal pairs for i vs ɪ and is there an important difference?

According to a vowel question in Linguistic SE, English can be considered to have vowels [i ɪ e ɛ æ ɑ ɔ o ʊ u ʌ] which can be reduced to [i e æ ɑ o u ʌ] (plus an orthogonal length or ...
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0 votes
2 answers
323 views

Pronunciation of 'lunch'

I believe that I can pronounce the words 'call' and 'balloon' "a" in call sounds like "o". To me, there is no difference between "a" in balloon and "u" in lunch. How can we distinguish between them?
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0 votes
1 answer
66 views

Confusion with /e/ sound

An exercise from English pronunciation in use (Elementary), J. Marks: Seven of these numbers have /e/. Which are they? Three, seven, eight, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, seventeen, eighteen, twenty, ...
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39 votes
6 answers
16k views

Can fluent English speakers distinguish between “steel”, “still”, and “steal”?

Can fluent English speakers understand this sentence the first time they hear it? What? They still steal steel? Can they hear a difference between the pronunciation of the words still, steal, and ...
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0 votes
1 answer
115 views

Confusion in placing Articles a and an before nouns

When I was a kid I was taught that Article An should be placed before nouns starting with a Vowel letter, but now i got to know that it's actually the sound of vowel we should focus not the letter. ...
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0 votes
2 answers
198 views

The correct pronunciation of "where is"

Is it [weriz] or [weəriz]? In case of ‘there is’ I'm almost sure there is no schwa, but I'm not sure it's the same with ‘where is’. To avoid disambiguations I have to add that I'm interested in ...
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3 votes
1 answer
725 views

How to differentiate the pronunciation of it, eat, eight and ate?

I'm trying to refine my spoken English from scratch, and one of the biggest issue for me are the pairs of vowels: tense /i/ and lax /I/. I really can't tell the difference between them. I know that /i/...
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1 vote
2 answers
196 views

Pronunciation in British v. American English

Why are words like privacy pronounced like /ˈprɪv.ə.si/ in British and /ˈpraɪ.və.si/ in American English (short vowel in the first case, long in the latter one)? I read that determining whether a ...
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  • 11
0 votes
2 answers
4k views

What's the difference between /ɜ/ and /ə/?

Someone said, one is k.k sound mark, and another is international sound mark. Then, I find this They are both in one phonetic system. Why?
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  • 3,383
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

Example Sentence for learning 'short' vowel sounds

As a teaching tool, I'm looking for a sentence that contains the 5 short vowel sounds (cat, get, sit, got, mud). The sentence should be as short as possible, contain words that are as phonetically ...
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