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  1. #1
    niagaro is offline Newbie
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    Default Pronunciation of the letter "e" at the beginning of a word

    Hi everybody,

    I know that every word pronunciation should be studied by itself since English is full of exceptions but I also know there are general rules that apply.

    The question is simple: I would like to know what's the rule about the pronunciation of the letter "e" at the beginning of words. Sometimes it is ɪ and sometimes it is ɛ .

    For example: "Error" is pronounced "ˈerəʳ" and "erroneous" ɪˈrəʊnɪəs



    Thank you in advance!



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pronunciation of the letter "e" at the beginning of a word

    Welcome to the forum, niagaro.

    Unfortunately, there is no rule.

  3. #3
    niagaro is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Pronunciation of the letter "e" at the beginning of a word

    Thank you 5jj,

    I understand.. so I need to study them all...

    Thank you again

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Pronunciation of the letter "e" at the beginning of a word

    The relationship between spelling and pronunciation is one area where English does not do very well.

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    niagaro is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Pronunciation of the letter "e" at the beginning of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The relationship between spelling and pronunciation is one area where English does not do very well.
    I know :D

    Another doubt.. apart from the beginning of the word.. is there really no rule for the letter "e" pronunciation?


    For example:

    for words like: shortest (the "e" here is a ɪ ) vs smallest (the "e" here is a /e/ )

    or tremendous (
    trɪˈmɛndəs) vs tremendously (trəˈmendəslɪ)


    It seems that every other letter has a certain rule but not the "e"..

    Cheers!


    EDIT1: Could it be that for example, when you transform the word in an adverb it changes the pronunciation from /I/ to /e/?

    Another example: specific and specifically.. but it's full of similar examples


    EDIT2: I have noticed that the "E" pronunciation sometimes changes depending on the the word, weather is a verb or not
    Last edited by niagaro; 30-Jan-2013 at 21:07.

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    Default Re: Pronunciation of the letter "e" at the beginning of a word

    Quote Originally Posted by niagaro View Post
    for words like: shortest (the "e" here is a ɪ ) vs smallest (the "e" here is a /e/ )
    In both words, both /ə/ (not /e/) and /ɪ/ are possible.

    or tremendous (
    trɪˈmɛndəs) vs tremendously (trəˈmendəslɪ)
    The vowel in both words is the same. Both the LPD and the EPD give it as /ɪ/; my own feeling is that /ə/ is possible.

    EDIT: Could it be that for example, when you transform the word in an adverb it changes the pronunciation from /I/ to /e/?
    No.
    5

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