29 Jul 2016
English Pronunciation Facts
This is the term for a way a word is spoken!
Some words are more difficult to pronounce than others. Some sound entirely different to the way they are written. And, if you ask different people across the United Kingdom to say a word, you will no doubt notice that they say it differently. Keeping that in mind, below we are going to provide you with some important facts to help with your English pronunciation.
What influences the way a word is pronounced?
Where a person comes from plays a huge role when it comes to the way they speak. You will find some English people a lot easier to understand than others. Those from Central or West London tend to be fairly easy to understand, pronouncing things in line with the way you are taught. However, if you speak to someone from the north of England, such as Newcastle, it is likely that you will have some difficulties. Some people even say it is like they have their own language!
Here are some important pronunciation facts that will help you to master the English language…
1. We don’t always say things how we spell them – Annoying, we know! But, English is not a phonetic language.
2. Concentrate on the stressed words in a sentence – Unlike a lot of languages, which are syllabic, English is a stressed language. It focuses on specific stressed words in a sentence, while other words are simply glided over.
3. Stress the vowel – The stress in a singular word should always be on the vowel.
4. So, how do you stress a vowel? – To pronounce a vowel, you should force air over your vocal cords through your mouth. The sound that comes out is determined by the shape of your mouth. Practice saying ‘o’ and then ‘e’ and you will see what we mean.
5. Pronouncing consonants – To produce consonant sounds, you will partially or completely stop your breath. Consonant sounds often come in pairs, and they can be voiced, meaning the vocal cords vibrate, or they can be voiceless, meaning there is no vibration.
6. And, just to confuse matters further… – Some words can be spelt differently, but sound the same, such as ‘four’ and ‘for’, and some words can be spelt the same but have different pronunciation, such as ‘live’ – which is pronounced differently when it is said in the context ‘he wanted to live with his girlfriend’ when compared with ‘live music’.
Keeping the above facts in mind should help you a lot when it comes to learning, and understanding the complexities of the English language!