They’re a number of the hardest phrases to pronounce in English for each native audio system and learners alike.
English is notorious for its troublesome pronunciation guidelines. Some guidelines are intuitive and are pronounced how you’ll count on them to be, however others have to be memorized and practiced.
Listed below are 25 English pronunciation guidelines that will help you grasp difficult English phrases.
These guidelines give attention to Common American English pronunciation. They could be completely different for different English dialects resembling British English, Australian English or South African English audio system.
Rule #1: Quick phrases have brief vowels
Vowel sounds are generally divided into brief and lengthy vowel sounds. Whereas they might appear difficult, there are some guidelines for realizing when a vowel sound is brief or lengthy.
Quick vowels at all times happen briefly phrases. These are sometimes one syllable and usually have three or 4 letters, for instance:
Rule #2: Two vowels side-by-side make an extended vowel
Two vowels beside one another are usually not unusual in English, however they are often simply mastered with this easy trick.
Particularly, when there are two completely different vowels beside one another, they typically make the lengthy sound of the primary vowel. For instance:
Rule #3: Hold vowels brief earlier than double consonants
Double consonants don’t solely have guidelines for the way they’re pronounced, but in addition play a task in learn how to pronounce the vowel that comes earlier than them.
The rule is easy: the vowel that comes earlier than double consonants is at all times in its brief pronunciation. For instance:
Rule #4: Pronounce double consonants as a single letter
Not like some languages, double letters in English aren’t pronounced any completely different than single letters.
That is true for phrases which have double ll, ss, ff, rr, pp, zz, dd and cc. They’re all pronounced as in the event that they’re singular, like in these phrases:
Rule #5: Pronounce double consonant TT as D
In Common American English, there’s one double consonant that’s not pronounced like its singular counterpart. In reality, the double consonant tt will get lowered to what seems like a d sound. For instance:
Rule #6: If E is on the finish of a phrase, it’s silent
Typically English phrases might be complicated in the event that they finish with an e. Many learners will need to embody the e of their pronunciation, however it’s really silent.
Somewhat, the e causes the vowel earlier than it to grow to be lengthy:
Rule #7: Pronounce C like S when it’s adopted by I, E, or Y
C makes extra of an s sound when it’s adopted by i, e, or y. For instance:
Rule #8: Unstressed vowels make a “schwa” sound
Whereas a “schwa” could appear to be a flowery English sound, it’s really not. In reality, it’s the sound that’s best for our mouths to create: holding the jaw barely open, enjoyable the tongue and making a brief sound. It’s similar to the brief u sound in English.
The cool factor in regards to the “schwa” is that it could possibly occur to nearly any vowel. When a vowel is unstressed in a phrase, it reduces to this sound. This may be seen within the following phrases:
Rule #9: Pronounce the phrase ending TION with a SH sound
The phrase ending tion is difficult to pronounce for 2 causes.
The primary purpose is that the t just isn’t pronounced like a t in any respect. As a substitute, it’s pronounced like a sh as within the phrase “shoe.” Subsequent, the vowels within the ending are lowered to a schwa. As an entire, tion finally ends up being pronounced extra like “shun.”
This provides us phrases that embody the sh sound adopted by a lowered schwa vowel:
Rule #10: G and Okay are at all times silent earlier than N originally of a phrase
Many languages have guidelines that each consonant have to be pronounced, however English has many guidelines that make consonants silent in sure circumstances.
Considered one of these guidelines is that when a phrase begins with a okay or a g after which is straight away adopted by an n, the okay or g just isn’t pronounced. As a substitute, it’s nearly as if the phrase began with a n. For instance:
Rule #11: Pronounce S like Z on the finish of a phrase
There are numerous conditions the place the letter s is pronounced like a z sound.
This occurs when a phrase that ends in a b, d, g, l, m, n, ng, r, th or v turns into plural or an s is added. For instance:
The es ending of plural phrases can also be pronounced like a z like in “buses.”
Rule #12: Pronounce S like Z between two vowels
When s is between two vowel sounds, it’s pronounced like a z. For instance:
Rule #13: Pronounce X like GZ earlier than a pressured syllable
When x comes earlier than a pressured syllable, it could possibly make a gz sound. For instance:
Rule #14: Pronounce X like Z originally of a phrase
There’s one more manner that x might be pronounced.
Hardly ever, it could possibly make a z sound. This pronunciation occurs nearly solely originally of phrases (until you’re saying the phrase “x-ray”). For instance:
Rule #15: Y is each a consonant and a vowel
Y is a novel letter in English: it acts like each a consonant and a vowel.
When y is originally of a phrase or syllable, it’s thought of a consonant. In these circumstances, it’s pronounced with the lengthy ee sound like in these phrases:
When y is on the finish of a phrase or syllable, it’s a vowel and might be pronounced in just a few alternative ways.
Y seems like an extended e sound on the finish of some phrases. This pronunciation occurs principally in adverbs (phrases ending in ly that describe verbs) or phrases that finish in ity:
Y seems like ai in one-syllable phrases resembling:
It seems like a brief i sound in phrases the place it’s in the course of a syllable:
When mixed with a, the ay mixture is pronounced like an extended a sound:
Rule #16: NG generally seems like two letters caught collectively
There’s, nevertheless, a second pronunciation of ng. In reality, there are specific phrases the place the ng just isn’t pronounced as a singular sound, however quite pronounced in such a manner that you simply hear each letters: n and g. For instance:
Rule #17: Previous tense endings aren’t at all times pronounced as D
The common previous tense in English is fashioned by including ed to the tip of verbs. This ending, nevertheless, might be pronounced a number of methods.
The primary manner is as a basic d sound. This occurs for verbs that finish in voiced consonants (consonants that use the vocal cords) like n, m, g, l, z, b, r and v:
The second pronunciation of the ed ending is as a t. This occurs for verbs that finish in unvoiced consonants (consonants that don’t use the vocal cords) like okay, f, s and p:
The third pronunciation of this ending is pronounced like id with a brief i sound. This pronunciation is for verbs that already finish in a t or a d as within the following:
Rule #18: Typically H is silent
There are just a few phrases during which you don’t let this little little bit of air out and quite pronounce the phrase as if there isn’t a h in any respect resembling the next:
Rule #19: Pronounce OO as a brief U when it’s adopted by Okay
Rule #20: Pronounce EI as an extended E if it comes after C in a pressured syllable
Rule #21: Pronounce S, Z and G like a French speaker in particular phrases
Consider it or not, the French language had a huge impact on the way in which English phrases are written and pronounced. Probably the most evident French sounds in English is in some phrases with s, z, or g:
This sound is fairly uncommon and solely happens in particular phrases. I like to recommend memorizing these phrases as there’s no rule for when the sound needs to be made.
Rule #22: OU has many pronunciations
You’d count on ou to be pronounced nearly like “ow” normally resembling with phrases like “about” and “shout.” There are additionally fairly just a few situations when this doesn’t apply and the ou mixture is pronounced in a different way.
If the mix is oup, an extended o sound is fashioned:
With ould, a schwa sound is created and it sounds extra like ood with not a lot of an l sound:
If the mix is ough, there may be quite a lot of pronunciations, relying on the phrase. It may sound like there’s an f on the finish resembling these phrases:
These ones is usually a bit troublesome and memorization is one of the simplest ways to recollect which phrases make which sounds with the ou mixture.
Rule #23: Stress on the primary syllable makes the phrase a noun
Phrase stress doesn’t solely have an effect on the pronunciation of some letters, however it additionally adjustments the which means of some phrases. As a matter of reality, altering the stress on some phrases adjustments them from nouns to verbs.
When phrase stress is on the primary syllable of some phrases, that phrase is in its noun kind. When stress is on the final syllable, that phrase is in its verb kind.
This may be seen within the following phrases:
professionalduce (noun kind) and “professionalduce” (verb kind)
As in, “The farm professionalduces numerous professionalduce.”
increase (noun kind) and increase (verb kind)
As in, “We now have to increase our gross sales to see an increase in revenue.”
Rule #24: L turns into darkish close to the tip of a syllable
The letter l has two pronunciations known as the “clear l” and the “darkish l.”
“Clear l” is the frequent pronunciation of the letter that we’re used to as within the phrases “go away,” “free” and “pluck.” The “darkish l” is pronounced by elevating the again of the tongue throughout pronunciation.
This usually happens when l is on the finish of a syllable as in these phrases:
This rule additionally applies to phrases that finish in le:
In these phrases, it nearly seems like there’s a “schwa” previous the “darkish l” sound.
Rule #25: TH might be voiced or voiceless
Though th is taught as a sound that’s considerably distinctive to English, its complication doesn’t cease there. In reality, the “th” in English is pronounced as two distinct sounds.
The primary “th” sound is voiced (vocal cords vibrate) as within the following phrases:
The second “th” is unvoiced (vocal cords don’t vibrate) as in these phrases:
Sadly, there’s no rule for when to make use of which sound. That implies that you’ll must memorize which phrases have which sound.
Don’t concern bizarre English pronunciation! By studying these easy guidelines, you may grasp English talking and talk clearly with whoever you meet!