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Thread: Pronunciation

  1. #1
    paochai01's Avatar
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    Default Pronunciation

    Hi, I'm helping a friend, English is his second language. He gets confused with pronunciation of a lot of words. Similar spelling, different pronunciation. I'm not a teacher and I couldn't explain it to him so well. I told him how inconsistent pronunciation can be and all and it's a matter of just learning to use the words and a matter of watching and listening and becoming familiar with them. Are there rules? I also gave him some pronunciation/spelling poems but I don't think it covers everything. He gets confused how some words with similar spelling/ending differ in pronunciation. I don't know if there are rules or books to master them.
    Here are a few words he found with tricky pronunciation:

    frown-blown (au-ou)
    tow-vow
    few-sew (oo-ow)
    cough-dough-rough (a-ou-schwa)
    draught-taught (ae-a)
    dear-pear (short i-eh)
    tear-tear (short i-eh)
    bother-brother (a-schwa)
    lose-rose (oo-ou)
    sword-word (o-schwa)
    beard-heard (short i-schwa)
    dove-love (ou-schwa)
    wind-wind (short i-ai)
    mould-should (ou-short u)
    boot-book (long u-short u)
    tomb-bomb-comb
    haunt-aunt
    shoes-goes-does
    singer-linger
    lost-post
    blood-food-good
    rush-push
    read-read
    doll-toll
    foul-soul
    glove-cove
    around-wound

    Let me know if there are rules or books I could suggest him to buy to learn the pronunciation of words similar to these.

  2. #2
    AlexAD's Avatar
    AlexAD is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Pronunciation

    That's a great question. I am also interested in the answer. I might add that I was told by a teacher of mine that I didn't have to know that rules. But I've been facing that problem for quite a long period of time. I have some difficulties of pronouncing unfamiliar words and, especially, geographical names.

    I'm still wondering if she was right?

  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Pronunciation

    Dictionary.com | Free Online Dictionary for English Definitions

    The dictionary gives pronunciations of words. This one includes a link you can click to hear the word being said.

    For any "rule" that you learn to know how to pronounce words in English exceptions can be found. The way the language has changed over time and adopted foreign words makes this difficult.

    And geographic place names are especially difficult. But even natives have to learn these. There is no way to know that "Lima" in Ohio is pronounced differently than "Lima" in Peru unless you know someone who knows the natives.

    Even then, the native pronunciation of a place may not be what is commonly used by English speakers. Like Paris.

  4. #4
    paochai01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pronunciation

    Thanks very much, Dave. :)

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