63

It's an example of medial cluster reduction. The t was once pronounced but in the 17th century, the t in some words was dropped whenever it was preceded by a fricative (/f/, /v/, /s/, /θ/ etc) and followed by a sonorant (/l/, /m/, /n/ etc). Examples: In 'often', the t is preceded by /f/ which is a fricative and followed by /n/ which is a sonorant. In '...


58

TLDR The W in 'two' and 'sword' is silent because of a sound change that took place somewhere between Old English & Middle English. The change applied to words in which the W was preceded by [s, t] and followed by a back vowel like [ɔ o ɑ u] etc. 'Swore' and 'sworn' also lost their W's at one point, but were later on restored by analogy with swear. The ...


45

"sc" is pronounced as "s" before letters Y, I and E in the beginning or middle of a word, or at the end of a word followed by E: scene, descent, scythe, science, convalesce... In most other cases it is pronounced as sk: scanner, scope, scratch, scream, scum... There are exceptions where "sc" is pronounced as "sh": Crescendo, fascist, conscious...


18

In 1988, research by J. C. Wells for the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary showed that only 27% of British English speakers pronounce the "t". Subsequently, 1993 research showed that only 22% of Americans pronounce the "t". Whether things have changed in the subsequent thirty years I don't know. The major dictionaries include both ...


13

"Sord" is the correct pronunciation. "C-word" definitely isn't correct. However, I can see why you'd be confused. The "w" in "sw" in this case is silent. However this isn't always the case. Take the word "swore" for example. It is pronounced as "sw-ore." This is one of the things that makes English so hard to learn.


9

No, "sc" does not always correspond to /s/. As SovereignSun mentions, usually this pronunciation only shows up in the combinations "sce", "sci" and "scy". A somewhat common exception to this in British English is the word "sceptic", which is pronounced with /sk/. The prounciation /ʃ/ shows up in a few words where "sc" is followed by "i" or "e". Sometimes ...


7

forte actually comes with two different pronunciations, though many people confuse the two in terms of how to use them. forte, used to mean a strength or strong point, meaning originates from the French word fort, meaning 'strong'. The correct pronunciation of forte in this context is fort. forte, as used as a direction in music to mean loud, originates ...


7

A "t" which follows a fricative consonant is often (but not always) silent. Here are some examples from "pronunciation studio" -ften: often, soften -sten: listen, glisten, hasten, fasten, moisten, christen, chasten -stle castle, nestle, pestle, apostle, thistle, whistle, wrestle, gristle And in other situations the /t/ is dropped when ...


7

You will find that all good dictionaries include pronunciation. For example, the Wiktionary entry for sword shows that there are up to four different pronunciations of this word, all of them with a silent "w": General American: /sɔɹd/ Received Pronunciation ("typical" British): /sɔːd/ rhotic, without the horse–hoarse merger: /so(ː)ɹd/ non-rhotic, without ...


6

The "c" is silent when preceded by an "s" followed by an 'e' or an 'i' at the beginning of a word. Found this on a site which had rules on silent letters. Authenticity is not known, but it sounds correct.


6

Ministrone is an English loan word from Italian. Italian language courses teach the Standard Italian pronunciation in which almost all letters are vocalized except silent h. (So for example, "bella" is pronounced "bel la", not "be la".) So minestrone is pronounced "min eh stron ee" or "min eh stron eh". However, many people in America pronounce it "...


6

"Sc" can be a digraph (two letters combined to make one sound) or a consonant blend (two letters combined that make two sounds). This is why you hear one sound with the "sc" in "science" or "sent," and you hear two sounds with the "sc" in "scare." I would argue that neither is silent; it's used as a consonant digraph to make one sound.


5

First you should know that there is an old film called "Django", a 1966 "spaghetti western" directed by Sergio Corbucci. The actor who plays Django in that film is Franco Nero, who you might recognize as the same man Jamie Foxx says "the D is silent" to in Tarantino's film. So it's a hidden joke -- the new Django (Foxx) tells the old Django (Nero) how to ...


5

Here are my thoughts as an American English speaker; I don't have references for this so some of it may be wrong. The pronunciation that sounds most natural to me is [mɛɾɚ], with /h/ omitted and the /t/ flapped and voiced. I would not be surprised to hear [mɛʔt̚hɚ] in slower or more deliberate speech. By [ʔt̚], I mean to indicate an unreleased voiceless ...


5

Every language has a fixed set of rules called 'Phonotactic rules' that govern the licit and illicit sequences of sounds in syllables. A sequence of sounds that is allowed in one language may not be allowed in another language, for instance, the cluster /pn-/ is phonotactically well-formed in Greek, but ill-formed in English, that's why the /p/ in pneumonia ...


4

The Original Poster has found an enormous typo/display problem in the Cambridge Dictionary. The type of British English described in the Cambridge Dictionary is Southern Standard British English. This variety of English is non-rhotic, which means that we only pronounce R when it occurs directly before a vowel sound. The correct pronunciation is /ʃɔː/, not /...


4

This is normal, not peculiar to Ms. Swift. In speech th- is often assimilated to an immediately preceding continuant, not only with that but at the onset of any unstressed function word such as the, this, they, them.


4

Yeah, it's probably meant to make sure people don't say something like "duh-jango". Many English speakers don't know that much about phonetics and aren't consciously aware that the "j" sound is an affricate that starts out the same way as the "d" sound. Even if they are aware, some might mistakenly think "dj" was supposed to represent a lengthened version ...


4

Yes, the ⟨p⟩ is always silent in words that start with ⟨ps⟩. The cluster /ps-/ is not a legit onset cluster in English because it violates the Phonotactics constraints of English. Every language has a fixed set of rules called Phonotactics or Phonotactic rules/constraints that determine the permissible sequences of sounds. In simple words, Phonotactics ...


4

Two thoughts: "For" would look the same as the preposition "for", so would potentially be a little confusing in a way that "forty" isn't. Some speakers apparently say "four" differently from the "for-" of "forty". The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary by J. C. Wells gives only /fɔ:/ for British ...


4

First and foremost, there's no 'correct' or 'incorrect' pronunciation. Pronunciation of a particular word varies from speaker to speaker or accent to accent. All the pronunciations you've given are correct and native speakers will understand what you mean. first case: the t is pronounced a clear t, [t]: no assimilation, glottalisation or t-deletion (t-...


3

No, it is not always silent. "Scar" rhymes with "car, pronounced "kar." English orthography is a mess. Virtually any rule you care to make will have exceptions. One reason for the frequency of exceptions is that English is happy to accept words from other languages, which have their own rules of orthography.


3

No. Most (but not all) of England and Wales (but not Scotland) is non-rhotic, which means that a final /r/ is never pronounced unless the word is followed in the same breath-group by a vowel-initial sound.


3

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary: late 14c., sent "to find the scent of," from Old French sentir "to feel, smell, touch, taste; realize, perceive; make love to," from Latin sentire " to feel, perceive,sense, discern, hear, see" (see sense (n.)). Originally a hunting term. The -c- appeared 17c., perhaps by influence ...


3

Interestingly, forty is spelt differently from four and fourteen. There are good phonological explanations for this quirk. IIRC, at the close of the middle English period, forty had a diphthong [ou] which in Early Modern English merged with [o:]. [o:] was developed from middle English [ɔ:]. At that time, forty had two syllables due to which [o:] was ...


3

Regarding "know," you will notice certain patterns in English pronunciation that allow you to make a good guess at a word's pronunciation even if you've never encountered the word before. For example, I think the combination kn- at the beginning of a word is always pronounced as "n-" (silent K) in English words. Examples: know, knew, ...


2

Some of the answers here are less than convincing. For example, we are told that we have to keep spellings such as "psychology" to keep the connection with other languages such as Spanish, where it is written "psicología". But hang on a minute. Spanish has simplified the "Ch" to "c" and has also changed the "y&...


2

The full word is is pronounced with a /z/, not with an /s/. If this word is contracted with a preceding word, then if the last sound in that word is unvoiced then 's will be pronounced /s/. Otherwise it will be pronounced /z/. The Original Poster is correct that if a following pronoun begins with H, then if the word is not stressed, there will usually be ...


2

To answer your questions simply: the h can be silent, and generally is in casual English when pronouncing words that begin with wh- such as what, where and whip. In casual conversation, the h of his can become very subtle, but full omission of the h pushes this from proper English to regional dialect. When I say, "What's his name?" the h is subtle ...


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