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    #1

    What a difficult problem! Yeah and it's part of English!

    Someone told me that to pronounce English words exactly and natively, learners should learn to pronounce every word and listen how they are pronounced by native speakers to partly imitate them and correct the pronunciation. Is that so hard to do? We have hundreds thousands of words. I mean that we can use some rule to know how to pronounce any word exactly at least that happens in my native language (Vietnamese). But that doen't in English.
    It seems that when looking at many English names (names of person, place ...), the learners can't read them exactly as they should be read and may need to hear or listen the native speakers reading them as a standard (to imitate).
    Or we can read these names some ways?
    For example:
    Evangeline? "E" should be read like "e" in "even" or in "ever" ...?
    Minerva? "i" should be read like "i" in "minute" or in "mine" ?
    Any comments is very meaningful to me!
    Thank you so much!

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      • Interested in Language
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      • American English
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    #2

    Re: What a difficult problem! Yeah and it's part of English!

    There are "rules" for English pronunciation, but they are merely guidelines. English has absorbed so many words from so man origins over the years. Children learn the language much as you describe. They are taught that certain letters make certain sounds, but they also have to learn individual words which are "exceptions."

    There are often more exceptions to the rules than those that follow the rules. Place names are a particular example of this.

    Who would imagine that "Worcestershire" is pronounced the way it is?

    Natives are not immune to this, either. We often mangle names of people and places if we don't know how they "should" be said.

  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What a difficult problem! Yeah and it's part of English!

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    Someone told me that to pronounce English words exactly and natively, learners should learn to pronounce every word and listen how they are pronounced by native speakers to partly imitate them and correct the pronunciation. Is that so hard to do? We have hundreds thousands of words. I mean that we can use some rule to know how to pronounce any word exactly at least that happens in my native language (Vietnamese). But that doen't in English.
    It seems that when looking at many English names (names of person, place ...), the learners can't read them exactly as they should be read and may need to hear or listen the native speakers reading them as a standard (to imitate).
    Or we can read these names some ways?
    For example:
    Evangeline? "E" should be read like "e" in "even" or in "ever" ...?
    Minerva? "i" should be read like "i" in "minute" or in "mine" ?
    Any comments is very meaningful to me!
    Thank you so much!
    As far as pronunciation is concerned we, as learners, should do our best to avoid possible misunderstandings in communication. Phonetic symbols can really help you this way, and once you master them you'll begin to enjoy decoding them in your dictionaries.
    Said that, I believe learning a Language is really enjoyable as far as it's meaningful to you. I know lots of people around me who're learning English just because they love it, and they'd go to any length to solve their problems. I hope you'll take it easy and enjoy it more quite soon.

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    #4

    Re: What a difficult problem! Yeah and it's part of English!

    You pronounce the first syllable in "Rio" like "rye" in rye bread?

    Another point is that different dialects will pronounce the same word differently.

    Example: Americans call the steak (filet) a "filay" with a French type pronunciation, where the Brits (as I have heard) say it with a t like "fill it."

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      • Retired English Teacher
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    #5

    Re: What a difficult problem! Yeah and it's part of English!

    Look no further than either and neither.

    Rover

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    #6

    Re: What a difficult problem! Yeah and it's part of English!

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post

    Example: Americans call the steak (filet) a "filay" with a French type pronunciation, where the Brits (as I have heard) say it with a t like "fill it."
    Unless it's something clearly French like a filet mignon- then we say 'filay' too.

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