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  1. #1
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    Default How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    Hi Everybody,

    I'd like to know how to pronounce "Twilight" correctly? And please tell me how to put the word stress in this word. Thanks.


    WYH

  2. #2
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    Twi (rhymes with Tie, or Thy, or Why)
    Light (rhymes with sight, might - or lite)
    Emphasis is pretty neutral - almost the same on both, I suggest.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlinger View Post
    Twi (rhymes with Tie, or Thy, or Why)
    Light (rhymes with sight, might - or lite)
    Emphasis is pretty neutral - almost the same on both, I suggest.

    As you are native speaker, would you speak like the audio clip below (recorded from Longman Dictionary)? I mean the stress on 1st syllable only....the 2nd syablle is unstressed...Actually I always hear the dictionary pronunciation, but I also want to learn the pronunciation in real life....Please advise.

    http://www.supload.com/listen?s=07kq17

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    There are two audio clips, both of them are native speakers who speak "Twilight" with different word stress, the clip one is stress on both syllables, the clip two is stress on the first syllable only, both pronunciations are common in real life? Which one is more common? As teacher told me if the word has more than one syllable, then we can't stress on all syllables, one is stressed and other is unstressed...Please advise...thanks a lot.

    Clip one:

    Download Tl - MP3 Ringtone Tl by Tl - Free Music Hosting

    Clip two:

    Download Tl - MP3 Ringtone Tl by Tl - Free Music Hosting

  5. #5
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    The dictionary pronunciation is accurate; it probably always will be.

    I would say many people would replace the word final /t/ with a glottal stop.

  6. #6
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    To say that syllables can only be stressed or unstressed is useful when simply learning a language, or learning vocabulary. However, in linguistics, linguists and phoneticians will say that words can have three stresses. Some linguists even say it can be four, maybe even five or six depending on which book you read.

    The most common example is 'photograph'. The first syllable is stressed, but so is the last syllable; the middle syllable is unstressed. If you know IPA symbols, there exists a diacritic for primary stress, and secondary stress. Thus, photograph is transcribed as /ˈfəʊtəˌgrɑ:f/, where /ˈ/ is the primary stress, and /ˌ/ is secondary stress.

    A lot of the focus of your threads is on word stress, so I would suggest that you try to learn the IPA if you don't know it already. It helps a great deal when knowing which syllables are unstressed. There are three unstressed vowels in English - /ɪ/, /ʌ/, and /ə/. The first two can be stressed or unstressed, depending on the word. /ə/ or 'schwa' can only be unstressed.

    If the syllable has other vowels it is hard to say it is unstressed, because the other vowels can't really be unstressed.

    Twilight has two diphthongs - /twaɪlaɪt/ - and the diphthongs are the same in both syllables. How can one /aɪ/ be stressed, and the other /aɪ/ not be stressed? Stress isn't something that occurs because of extrinsic force, air, or anything else. Stress occurs because of the intrinsic nature of the vowel. To me, both syllables in 'twilight' are stressed. The first perhaps a little more than the second, but I would say this is more to do with intonation that stress - the first syllable being higher pitched than the second.

    Some people might say the second syllable is a 'full vowel, not stressed'. I much prefer to say that both syllables are stressed; the first is a primary stress, the second a secondary stress.

    I'm not going to say that stress isn't important, but it isn't important enough to debate as much as linguists do, in my opinion. Those two sound clips you gave me sound identical. The only way I would be able to show a difference is to analyse them using computer software. This might show a difference, but is it an important difference? I don't think so.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linguist__ View Post
    The dictionary pronunciation is accurate; it probably always will be.

    I would say many people would replace the word final /t/ with a glottal stop.
    Hi Linguist, thank you very much for your answer. For the topic of glottal stop, I hear that many Americans would always use glottal stop in word final /t/, but not in British English even I find the words in longman talking dictionary, so I'd like to know is glottal stop more common in American English, right?

  8. #8
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to pronounce "Twilight"?

    I would say most of the major dialects of Britain - Northern Ireland English, Scottish English, Northern English (including Yorkshire, Mancunian, Geordie etc), Midlands (including Brummie etc) - all have glottal stops in word final position. Many of these will use glottal stops in word medial position too.

    Some Southern English dialects will use it too; Cockney, most likely. However, others, such as Received Pronunciation and Estuary English, probably pronounce the 't' in all positions. I really dislike calling 'received pronunciation' a dialect, because so little people speak it (around 2% of Britons) and it is further split into three parts - Conservative, General, and Advanced - which makes me wonder what makes it so different from Estuary English, or 'Kentish' for example.

    So really, what I'm saying is that if you are going by 'Standard English' and the tiny amount of RP speakers then yes, glottal stop is more common in American English. If, however, you are going by what 80% or more of Britons actually speak like, then I would say the glottal stop is as common as in American English.

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