How to Pronounce?

After writ­ing a cou­ple of arti­cles on stressed pro­nun­ci­a­tion and silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion, I got a lot of requests to write a note on pro­nun­ci­a­tion in gen­eral. To start with please not that it is pro­nun­ci­a­tion not pro­noun­ci­a­tion. Before jump­ing into deep waters, let us look at the basics of speech. Once you learn to strike the key note prop­erly then you would have no prob­lems in pronouncing.

Eng­lish is not Phonetic

Before start­ing the exer­cise we should under­stand that Eng­lish is not pho­netic i.e. the words are not pro­nounced as they are spelt. To make mat­ters worse, there is stressed/silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion also homo­phones (words hav­ing dif­fer­ent mean­ing but same pro­nun­ci­a­tion) are to be taken care of. To start with we should there­fore get a grasp of the syl­la­bles and their pro­nun­ci­a­tion. You can lis­ten to the syl­la­ble pro­nun­ci­a­tion in many of the sites avail­able over the inter­net. Make sure you prac­tice as you lis­ten to them.

Learn­ing Phonemes:

Learning Phonemes

Learn­ing Phonemes

Phonemes help in get­ting the basics for pro­nun­ci­a­tion cor­rectly. You may need to check few of the freely avail­able soft­ware to get you phonemes cor­rectly. Once your phonemes are in place, we can look to explore other things. The below table would help you to infer the phonemes and their usage.

Pronunciation - Sounds

Pro­nun­ci­a­tion — Sounds

After phonemes, we should look at their usage from the per­spec­tive of Eng­lish usage. Remem­ber Eng­lish is not pho­netic? So we need to take care of homo­phones, stressed pro­nun­ci­a­tion, silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion and likes. Remem­ber this list is not exhaus­tive, but one may move to oth­ers once these are mastered.

Symbols sounds and examples

Sym­bols sounds and examples

Phonetics Symbols sounds and examples

Pho­net­ics Sym­bols sounds and examples

I hope this would suf­fi­ciently excite you to unravel the puz­zle of pro­nun­ci­a­tion and set you apart in Eng­lish speak­ing community.

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