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50

In English, the pronunciation of the is based on the sound of the following letter, not which letter it's written with. University is pronounced with a "y" or [j] in IPA, which in English acts as a consonant at the beginning of a word. In some languages [j] acts as a vowel, but not in English. Therefore, "thuh".


38

I believe that schwa (ə) is something a bit mysterious to many ELLs. The number of questions here, at EL&U, and around the web seems to indicate so. If you are learning English as a second language, and your language has no such concept as schwa, I hope my answer may help you a little. If you look up words in dictionary, soon you will find this "...


21

English spelling is crazy, these two words are pronounced identically except for the first vowel. Don't worry about the 't' at all, it's not really a separate sound. In Standard American English (the British and other varieties of English might have slightly different vowels): 'beaches' = beeeeeeee - chez, The 'eeeee..' sound, when exaggerated, is like ...


12

You seem to be mixing up two rules here. We use an instead of a when the next word starts with a vowel sound. Indeed, 'a ear' would sound clumsy, so we say 'an ear'. We do not use an instead of the; the English have no problem at all saying 'The ice is thick' or 'The ears of a cat are fluffy' (in fact, I would be hard-pressed to find a sentence with 'an ...


10

Most of the time, when you see a word end in this pattern: -VCe where V represents a vowel, C represents a consonant, and e represents an ending e, then the e will be silent. Here are a few exceptions: recipe, simile, hyperbole but such exceptions are very rare compared to the large number of words that follow the general guideline. Also, when words ...


6

/i:/ is the vowel that we find in the word FLEECE. I put that word in capitals because that is how that vowel is often referred to by linguists: the fleece vowel - or FLEECE for short. (This is not random, the word was specifically chosen for a number of specific reasons.) It is the vowel sound at the end of the word guarantee. In transcriptions of British ...


6

First, it might help to listen to the difference between the two words, since Portuguese may have different vowel sounds. An audio clip for pen can be found here. A similar audio clip for pan is here. Next, the two vowel sounds are represented differently in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). However, since the IPA represents all the sounds in ...


6

The umbrella The apple The idea. As an American speaker, I pronounce all of these as "thuh" -- in fact, in normal conversation I blend the vowel sounds together to make one sound: thuhmbrella thuhapple thuhidea. I going to have to suggest that thuh "English Club" is not thuh definitive source for all things English. There is a wide ...


5

The "itch" vowel is IPA /ɪ/, which is slightly more open and back than the "each" vowel, /i:/. See this chart of all the IPA vowel signs courtesy of Wikipedia: This may help if you can locate the vowels of your native language and figure out the "feel" of the three directions (close/open, front/back, and rounding) shown on the chart. The "t" is a red ...


5

There aren't any particularly hard and fast rules in English. Normally an 'e' at the end of a word is not "truly silent", but rather modifies the sound of the final constanant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_e Without silent e With silent e IPA transcription slat slate /slæt/ → /sleɪt/ met mete /...


5

There are several issues here. /j/ and /w/ are phonologically consonant sounds in English Yes, the semivowels /j/ and /w/ are classified as consonant sounds in English, even though phonetically they are like vowels. That’s just how English works. This applies most noticeably to the a/an rule: we say “a university” and “a one-time deal” and as far as I know,...


5

Umlaut: Pronunciation: (UK) IPA(key): /ˈʊm.laʊt/, /ˈʌm.laʊt/ (US) IPA(key): /ˈʊm.laʊt/, /ˈum.laʊt/


4

You will often see "cooperation" written as "co-operation", reflecting its origins as "operation" with the prefix "co-". This explains the pronunciation, which is just the sum of the pronunciation of the two parts. As for the difference in pronunciation between words like "book", "boot" and "floor", there's a thread here that might help.


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

The schwa is two things. To phonologists, it is a vowel sound between e and a. The tongue is lower than e, but higher than a. This is independent of any connections with the English language. To users of English dictionaries, the schwa it is an upside-down e notation which doesn't denote one specific phoneme but different sounds in different dialects of ...


4

Two sounds in English are commonly identified as schwa, and, as a native English speaker, while I acknowledge that they have similar qualities, I find them different. The first is the vowel that occurs in most unstressed English syllables, e.g. the first syllable of about. This sound I produce as follows: my lips leave only a small opening, but I'm not ...


4

Oopsy-daisy (AmE) starts with /ʊ/. And I think it counts as a word—it's in the dictionary.


3

"ake" in "Snake" is pronounced like "Bake" or "Cake". "ack" in "Snack" is pronounced like "Back" or "Crack".


3

The phonemic pronunciation of people is /ˈpi pəl/. So the first syllable is stressed, and the second is weaker (PEO-ple). The upside-down "e" in the second syllable is called a schwa, and it represents a "neutral" vowel. The Random House definition of "schwa" gives as examples: the sound of a in alone and sofa, e in system, i in easily, o in gallop, ...


3

A changes to an if the following word begins with a vowel sound. It doesn't matter what part of speech the word is. Silent letters are ignored. So you say "an hour" because the "o" is a vowel sound after the initial silent "h." Similarly: "an honor, a house." Note that the "long U" sound, as in *uniform" is not considered a vowel for this purpose, so ...


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

Eight is a number. Numbers are normally used as determiners like a/an/the/some/any. When you use a number as a determiner, it is always singular and will not take a determiner (it is itself a determiner). I have some books I have eight books A number can also work as a noun when it specifies how many elements are in a set to describe the rank of ...


3

First things first, vowel pronunciation in English varies widely between dialects. I'm going to answer as a native speaker from the US west coast. Also first things first, eight and ate are homonyms, both phonemically as /et/. it is /ɪt/. eat is /it/. However, the actual pronunciation of these words varies considerably depending on the surrounding words ...


2

The question needs more context. You would use 'the Earth' when 'Earth' is a proper noun, referring to a specific place or thing, the exact planet on which we live. You would use 'an earth' when 'earth' is used more as a pronoun referring to an imaginary or hypothetical Earth-like planet.


2

Here is the rule: Use AN before words such as "hour" which sound like they start with a vowel even if the first letter is a consonant. Also use AN before letters and numbers which sound like they begin with a vowel, such as "F" or "8". Remember, it is the sound not the spelling which is important. For example, "F" is pronounced "eff" like it starts with an "...


2

These words have 2 syllables each, but they normally contain one vowel each when pronounced naturally in General American English. English syllables usually have vowels, but we can also have syllables that contain a consonant. Generally these syllables will contain /l,n,ɹ,m/. /ŋ/ is possible but not too common. This explains why you don't feel your jaw move ...


2

A vowel is a "syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract" (Wikipedia). Although the word "university" starts with a "u," the sound is the same as the sound in "you." Say that word out loud and note that you have to use your tongue to make it. It isn't a vowel sound, so we would say "a university." Contrast this with the word "...


1

"Cooperative" is pronounced as if "co-operative" was still two separate words, but without any noticeable pause between them. Some traditionalists spell "coöperative" with a special accent mark to indicate that the two consecutive "o"s have different pronunciations. (In this context, this "ö" does not indicate the sound of a German umlaut.) Most Americans ...


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