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  1. wotcha's Avatar
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    #1

    Pronunciatio of 'the' before 'united', 'UK' and 'USA'

    I've learned that we have to pronounce 'the' as 'ː' not 'ə' before vowels such as 'a, e, i, o u' and

    I wonder if the same rule can be applied to 'united', 'UK' and 'USA'.


    Thank you.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Pronunciatio of 'the' before 'united', 'UK' and 'USA'

    I don't do phonetics but I'm assuming that the two versions you quote are the equivalent of "theee" and "th-uh". If so, then before UK and USA, we use "th-uh" (your second phonetic one I think) because the letter "U" when spoken sounds as if it starts with a "y" so that's how we treat it. Don't forget that vowels can be pronounced differently at the beginning of a word depending on the word (underground vs unicorn for example - "underground" takes your first phonetic "the" and "unicorn" takes the second).

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Pronunciatio of 'the' before 'united', 'UK' and 'USA'

    emsr2d2 is right.

    In most major varieties of English, we use /i:/ before vowel sounds, ( so we use it before words that begin with a silent 'h', such as 'hour'). We use /ə/ before consonant sounds. Word-initial /j/ is considered to be a consonant sound, and we therefore use /ə/ before such words a 'year', 'European' and 'union'

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