Questions tagged [pronunciation]

An informal term referring to the verbalized form of words specific to a language. Can also refer to particular individual's pronunciation, as in an accent or a pathology, or a specific speech event, as in a mispronunciation.

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69
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12answers
23k views

What characteristics are unique to English (or at least rare among language as a whole)?

After wondering about this today at work, I turned to the Internet. A short piece that focuses on pronunciation points toward "none". I've scoured ELU and Google (perhaps not as thoroughly or ...
30
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8answers
20k views

Why do Japanese people have difficulties in pronouncing English?

When I watch Anime, I notice that Japanese English pronunciation is really bad, they twist all the sounds, and they can't pronounce sounds like "L". I think English is the easiest language when it ...
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2answers
4k views

How did שְׁלֹמֹה (shlomo) become Solomon?

According to Wiktionary, שלמה (pronounced /ʃloˈmo/ in Modern Hebrew) is the Hebrew version of Solomon. The pronunciation seems to follow reasonably well from the spelling, and as far as I can tell, it ...
17
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4answers
15k views

Why don't the French pronounce consonants at the ends of words?

I am curious what could have caused the shift in pronunciation. I presume it must have occurred after the spelling of words was standardized. According to the History of French wikipedia article, this ...
16
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3answers
3k views

What's the term for correspondence between the written and the spoken form of a language?

Not all languages have the same degree of correspondence between the spoken and the written form. Saying correspondence, I'm referring to the equivalence between what we write in a certain language ...
14
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3answers
6k views

Can you give me some tips on how to pronounce ejective consonants?

I'll be going back to the Republic of Georgia pretty soon and will try to learn the famously difficult language but last time I was there I couldn't distinguish or reproduce the ejectives. Everybody ...
13
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4answers
2k views

French conjugation, spoken vs written

French verbs are conjugated depending on the subject's person and number (ex. je parle, tu parles, il parle, etc.) However in spoken language most of these sound the same anyway because the end part ...
11
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5answers
3k views

Are there any “simple” languages?

In all the languages I know, at least one of the following aspects is complex/difficult: Alphabet: Complex meaning a large alphabet like in Chinese. Pronunciation: Complex meaning that, for example, ...
11
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5answers
12k views

In Turkish, how exactly does “ğ” affect the vowel it follows?

In Standard Turkish, "ğ" is explained as having no sound of its own but instead lengthens the previous vowel. So would "aa" and "ağ" sound alike? What about "â" and "ağa"? Can there sometimes be ...
11
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6answers
48k views

How to distinguish Korean “ㅔ” /e/ and “ㅐ” /ɛ/?

I've always had trouble with the distinction between the "e"-like vowels in European languages: /e/ vs /ɛ/. But pronouncing them the same has never caused me any problems. In fact I don't even know ...
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6answers
3k views

Is there a voiced-unvoiced pair for R or L in any language?

Voiced and unvoiced consonant pairs exist for /z/ and /s/, /g/ and /k/, /b/ and /p/, and many others. But I've never heard it for /ɹ/ or /l/. I think it's totally possible to use the vocal cords for ...
9
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7answers
5k views

Is American Sign Language phonetic?

In every spoken language I'm aware of, if you read a word you are unfamiliar with, you can generally work out how to pronounce the word from how it's written. You can sound it out. Is this kind of ...
9
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2answers
621 views

What is this phenomenon called, and is it the only occurrence?

Usually it's fairly easy to know the spelling of words in Italian, given the very close relation between that and pronunciation. But that's not always true. The word musulmano in Italian (which means ...
9
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2answers
7k views

Confused about vowel diagram (Vowel chart)! Can you clarify & explain how to read it?

Ok, here is the English vowel chart: I'm really confused, what do "front" "central", "back", "close(high)", "close-mid", "open-mid", "open (low)" mean? Ok, Here is what I understood, please correct ...
9
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3answers
229 views

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

As an adult, I'm working on learning French, coming from a background growing up speaking a few languages natively. According to French friends of mine I practice with, I have a "good" accent, but I'...
9
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3answers
450 views

How is an intervocalic “g” pronounced in Andean Spanish?

It seems that at least in the Andes, a lot of people say e.g. [awa] for "agua"[agwa]. What's the phonological rule behind this? Is it really [w]? Why did this happen in the first place?
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6answers
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Is the sound “ř” unique to Czech?

Czech has special sound which to me seems to be a voiced trilled r. It is written as "ř". Wikipedia describes it a different way: A raised alveolar trill, and uses the IPA notation [r̝]. Czech ...
8
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2answers
843 views

Is the difference between a labialized consonant [ʷ] and a consonant followed by a [w] audible?

Labio-velarization is a feature of accents of Kabyle in some area(s). For example, the word aseggas could be both pronounced [asəɡɡas] or [asəɡɡʷas]. I think there is a difference between hearing [ʷ] ...
7
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2answers
3k views

Phonetic distortion when words are borrowed among languages

When languages borrow words from other languages, they sometimes deliberately distort words to make them phonetically easier to pronounce. For example, when Japanese speakers are taught the word "...
7
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6answers
2k views

How exactly do the sounds of Arabic “ﻕ” and Georgian “ყ” differ?

The Arabic letter ﻕ and the Georgian letter ყ are often described as being similar, also they are both transliterated using q. ... the Georgian letter ყ is difficult for most Westerners to ...
7
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1answer
875 views

What is the correct term for a “lazy L”?

This question is about a mild form of a specific speech pathology that seems to be gaining prevalence in Australia and if there is a term for it. It is not an "accent" issue, because it can ...
7
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3answers
820 views

Do Linguists pronounce PIE roots

I'm assuming the original pronunciation of words in Proto-Indo-European is unknown. How do linguists talk about the reconstructed roots, do they just assume sounds close enough to english or do they ...
7
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2answers
574 views

Is wikipedia wrong when it speaks of the hebrew shwa not being pronounced ə?

Is wikipedia wrong when it suggests that the hebrew schwa/shva has never been pronounced as 'ə'? Looking at these two wikipedia links https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa "The word schwa is from the ...
7
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0answers
98 views

Northumbrian pronunciation of ge-/gi- prefix and -g suffix

I'm working on a musical setting of Cædmon's Hymn, and I'd like to have the primary setting be in the Northumbrian dialect of its earliest written example (the 737 "Moore" Bede manuscript). I'm ...
7
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0answers
105 views

Historical pronunciation of Hindi यह and वह

The Hindi 3rd person singular proximal and distal pronouns यह and वह are commonly pronounced [jeː] and [ʋoː], in contrast to the [hyper-correct?] pronunciations [jəɦ(ə)] and [ʋəɦ(ə)] one might expect ...
6
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3answers
592 views

What do you call a failed attempt to use the “standard” speech?

Some speakers who use a non-standard accent or dialect of a language, occasionally desire to "adjust" their speech to the standard. I'm interested in knowing if there is a word for when this fails ...
6
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3answers
838 views

What does linguistics call sets of words with the same spelling, different (but perhaps related) meaning, and different emphasized syllables?

In my idiolect, the word "defense", with the emphasis on the first syllable means "the role of defending". With the emphasis on the second syllable, it means "the act of ...
6
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1answer
306 views

Are there different terms for when a language has two ways to spell a sound vs. two ways to pronounce a spelling?

In languages that don't have a perfect 1:1 mapping between sounds and letters in their written form there are two possibilities. In English "bow" and "bough" are two spellings with a single ...
6
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3answers
2k views

Dark L vs L Vocalisation

I am a bit confused about this. Question: Is this the main difference between L-vocalization and the Dark L? Vocalised L - The tip of the tongue DOES NOT touch the roof of the mouth. Dark L - The ...
6
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1answer
2k views

How is Sanskrit “va” supposed to be pronounced?

I'm confused as to how I'm to pronounce Sanskrit's "v" letter. My teacher mostly pronounces it as a "w" in words such as "deva", "svara" or "dvipa" but invariably utters a "v" in syllables "vra" or "...
6
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1answer
425 views

Calabrian/Sicilian and unstressed e/o

I sorta-kinda was "taught" that Sicilian turns all unstressed "e"s to "i"s and "o"s to "u"s. Then I got to know a couple Calabrian songs whose dialect seemed almost Sicilian, so I extended that ...
6
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2answers
304 views

Detailed “quality” of /ð/

I've been learning and using English since I was 10. I have always been more or less aware of the /θ/ sound, but it wasn't until I got interested in IPA notation, when I realized English contrasts /ð/ ...
6
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1answer
399 views

Was it ever common to pronounce “wife's” as “wives”?

Spelling, in principle, should reflect pronunciation, but I've also read that the opposite can happen, and that the pronunciation of a word already in circulation can be changed by altering/...
6
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1answer
210 views

To which extent are people’s perceptions of their own pronunciation influenced by the language’s orthography?

In my experience, literate native speakers of a language tend to assume that the language’s orthography is significantly more phonetic than it actually is or, with other words, tend to think that ...
6
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1answer
435 views

What vowels are most likely to be deleted in European Portuguese?

Stepping off of the airplane in Lisbon, I could immediately hear that the pronunciation was much different from Brazilian Portuguese, which I am more accustomed to. The level of vowel deletion was ...
5
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7answers
1k views

If similar phonemes are pronounced the same, will this be difficult to understand for a native speaker?

In French, phonemes like /e/ and /ɛ/ are so similar in sound. In English, phonemes like /o/ and /ɔ/ are so similar too. Briefly, almost any language, contains phonemes which are very similar to each ...
5
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4answers
438 views

American English speakers needing subtitles more often

I often ask my American English native speaker friends this question: When watching a movie in American English, do you turn the subtitles on? Quite a lot of them say that they always do ("in ...
5
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3answers
1k views

What is the phonetic reason for the occurence Sun and Moon letters in Arabic?

In Arabic, letters (or more accurately phonemes) are categroised into two categories: Sun letter and Moon letter in regard to what happen if we add Al (the) to them. Moon letters don't cause any ...
5
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2answers
609 views

Phonology vs phonetics : /ʁɔz/ vs [ʁoz]

It's written on French Wikipedia that the noun “rose” is represented in phonology by /ʁɔz/ whereas Wiktionary is claiming that it should be /ʁoz/. In both case, the associated representation in common ...
5
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2answers
6k views

Why is English spelling so inconsistent?

English spelling is in many respects not phonetic and there is often no one-to-one mapping between spelling and pronunication. E.g. 'a' is /ej/ or /ey/ instead of /a/ as in Albert 'c' is /s/ not /c,...
5
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5answers
638 views

Is voice really the only difference between [s] and [z]?

I have read some time ago that [z] is the voiced counterpart of [s], as [d]-[t], [g]-[k], [b]-[p] and [v]-[f]. For all pairs except the first, I was able to consciously perceive it by starting to ...
5
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2answers
201 views

Why are the Egyptian and Hittite versions of Tutankhamun's name different?

The sacred writing of Egyptian king Tutankhamun's throne name is shown belong aside the same name as it appears in a letter written in cuneiform to his majesty from the king of the Hittites. The four ...
5
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3answers
392 views

Are Mongolian “хан” and “хаан” the same word despite the usually important difference in vowel length?

I've just noticed that if you look in several English and Mongolian dictionaries that the Cyrillic Mongolian word "khan" is given as either "хан" with a short vowel, or "хаан" with a long vowel. (So ...
5
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3answers
492 views

Why is the Polish pronunciation of Łódź [wut͡ɕ] rather than [wudʑ]?

I've been told that "the word-final affricate dź in Polish should be devoiced to /t͡ɕ/". What are the linguistic precedents for this, and why is this devoicing not evident in the Wikipedia ...
5
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2answers
112 views

How does the Sankt Goar isogloss work?

The Sankt Goar line crosses the german town of Sankt Goar and separates the dialects that have t in words like wat and dat and the dialects that have s in the corresponding words was and das. Is this ...
5
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4answers
925 views

Does Basque sound like Spanish, or vice versa?

I am always amazed by how similar both languages sound despite being very different in almost every other aspect. I suspect that this is a classical example of a Sprachbund, but I am interested in ...
5
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1answer
504 views

Is the concept of syllables pronunciation-relevant in languages with mora-based pronunciation?

Japanese pronunciation is mora-based (correct me if there is a better word), i.e. each mora is pronounced with equal length. Still I sometimes see the concept of syllables used, e.g. 疲労 /hirō/ '...
5
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2answers
10k views

What do (…) brackets mean in phonetic spelling?

ex·act·ly iɡˈzak(t)lē/ If the t is in brackets, does it mean that I don't have to pronounce it? I'm asking because I'm a native English speaker and I never pronounce the "t" in "exactly".
5
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3answers
281 views

Can one tell interdental n, l, from alveolar n, l, by hearing?

According to several well documented linguistic studies, a few languages like Mapudungun make a phonemic difference between interdental n, l, (let us spell it nd, ld), and a so called "alveolar n, l". ...
5
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1answer
5k views

How and why did so many French letters become silent?

It would seem that much ease of use must have been lost when a lot of French letters came to be silent - I never fail to be amazed that "il parle" and "ils parlent" are homophones, and it's very easy ...

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