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XVI Jornadas Culturales EOI Cartagena

Rules for English Pronunciation


/ z / after vowel sounds and voiced consonants: dogs, girls, boys, loves, rubs,
calls, Tom's

/ s / after voiceless consonants: cats, rocks, Jack's / Iz / after / s, z, S, tS or dZ /: buses, houses, bushes, matches, bridges,
Rose's, chooses or, fetches

/ d / after vowel sounds and voiced consonants: loved, pleased, rubbed, called
(but learned / learnt)

/ t / after voiceless sounds: fetched, hoped, passed / Id / after d or t: decided, ended, wanted, lasted
also certain participial adjectives: aged, learned, naked, ragged, rugged, wicked, wretched also in posttonic -edly, -edness: fixedly, markedness

/ IN / doing, going, sing, singer / "sIN@ / but finger / "fINg@r /

Double vowel graphemes

ee = / i: /: tree, see, agree, referee, deep, meet -eer- = / I@(r) /: beer, career, peeress -oo- = / u: /: too, zoo, food, pool, room, root, spoon, balloon / U /: good, hood, stood, wood, foot, soot, wool; always in ook / Uk /: book, cook, hook , look, shook, took but: / Vd /: blood, flood -oor = / U@(r) /: moor, poor but: / O:(r) /: door, floor

Double consonants
Whenever there is a double consonant the preceding single vowel is never diphthongised. If the consonant is single it may diphthongise. rubber / V / occasion / @ / back / & /, bake / eI / ladder / & /, lady / eI / difficult / I /, life / aI / mugger / V /, page / eI / dollar / Q BR. E. | A: Am. E./, dole / @U / but roll / @U /
Miguel A. Meroo

grammar / & /, grame / eI / bonnet / Q /, bone / @U / apple / & /, ape / eI / referral / e / fare / e@ / pass / A: /, mass / A: / but bass / eI / written / I /, write / aI / buzz / V /, doze / @U /

XVI Jornadas Culturales EOI Cartagena

Starting a word / "z - / xerox, xylophone Before a stressed vowel / g"z / example, exam, exhausted In any other case / ks / box, ex"cess, ex-wife, exit (Br. E.), Tipp-ex, extra, "excellent

Most -au-
/ O: / audio, August, Austria, author, autumn auxiliary, daughter, fraud, but aunt / & BR. E. | A: Am. E. /, authentic / A: Am. E. /, laugh / A: /

always / dZ / Jane, jet, join, June

always / j / you, yes, yet, young, year But assimilation:
/ d / changes to / dZ / before / j / did you could you should you d@ you / t / changes to / tS / before / j / dont you not yet cant you want you

British (Anglo-Saxon-rooted) words / tS / change, check, church Greek-rooted words / k / chemistry, choir / kwaI@ /, chorus, scheme, psycho French-rooted words / S / Champagne, chef, chalet* ... also: Machine

-et (French origin)

/ "_ eI / chalet, buffet, ballet, bidet, duvet...

/ S@ / ancient, phy"sician, "social, "special, sus"picious; also: "ocean / Si" / always before tonic: speci"ality; also: a"ppreciate, a"ssociate

Extremely common suffixes

-tion / S@n / action, collection, education, etc. -sion / Z@n / (tele)vision but -nsion / nS@n / tension, extension -ture / tS@ / culture, literature, temperature, future but mature / m@"tjU@(r) / -ous / @s / famous, dangerous, gorgeous, marvellous, delicious
Miguel A. Meroo

XVI Jornadas Culturales EOI Cartagena

3-consonant rule:
middle one in cluster of 3 consonants is usually elided, i.e. silent Christmas, postman, bustle, castle, thistle, postpone, handsome, Windsor, sandwich; also in soften, fasten, hasten, listen mashed potatoes next week

-nt or -nd + Consonant sound the t or d is elided (not pronounced)

I dont know / "d@Un"n@U /, he wouldnt like it / "wUdn"laIk@t /, last night / lA:snaIt / Peter and John, / @n "dZQn / second time / sek@n"taIm / you and me / ju:w@m"mi: / old car / @Ul"kA: / she cant go* / "kA:N"g@U /, you mustnt smoke / "mVsn "sm@Uk /

can and cant pronunciation

When these words are followed by a consonant sound, the difference between the positive and the negative meaning is not the / t / sound, but the length of the vowel sound and the stress (or lack of it) in the modal verb. I can drive / aI k(@)n draIv / She can stay / SI k(@)n steI / I cant drive / aI kA:n draIv / she cant stay / SI kA:n steI /

Word stress
Ordinary people who know nothing of phonetics or elocution have difficulties in understanding slow speech composed of perfect sounds, while they have no difficulty in comprehending an imperfect gabble if only the accent and rhythm are natural. p. 15.
From the book "The Mechanisms of Speech" by Alexander Graham Bell, 1916

There are three golden rules about word stress: 1. One word, one stress. (One word cannot have two stresses. So if you hear two stresses, you have heard two words, not one word.) 2. The stress is always on a vowel. 3. Vowel schwa / @ / is never stressed.

Stress on English nouns and verbs

More than 90% of all 2 syllable English nouns are stressed on the first syllable. More than 60% of 2 syllable verbs are stressed on the second syllable.
Miguel A. Meroo

XVI Jornadas Culturales EOI Cartagena Stress on first syllable rule >90% 2-syllable nouns Most 2-syllable adjectives Stress on last syllable rule >60% 2-syllable verbs example to preSENT, to exPORT, to deCIDE, to beGIN example PRESent, EXport, CHIna, TAble PRESent, SLENder, CLEVer, HAPPy

Compound words (words with two parts) rule For compound nouns, the stress is on the first part For compound adjectives, the stress is on the second part For compound verbs, the stress is on the second part example BLACKbird, GREENhouse bad-TEMpered, old-FASHioned to underSTAND, to overFLOW

Stressed vs Unstressed Words Content vs Function Words

Stressed words are CONTENT WORDS such as Nouns (most) Principle Verbs Adjectives Adverbs e.g. e.g. e.g. e.g. kitchen, Peter visit, construct beautiful, interesting often, carefully

Non-stressed words are FUNCTION WORDS such as Determiners Prepositions Conjunctions Pronouns Auxiliary verbs e.g. e.g. e.g. e.g. e.g. the, a, some, / @ / as, at, for, from, of, to / @ / but, and / @ / them, us / @ / does, am, can, have / @ /

But dont, doesnt, havent, hasnt, wasnt, werent, cant, couldnt, wont, wouldnt, mustnt, (stressed because negative) If I had KNOWN it, I would have aRRIVED EARlier. On the first day, I didnt know what to do. What do you do?

Miguel A. Meroo

XVI Jornadas Culturales EOI Cartagena

Rhythm in Words: Visual Example

Total syllables 3 Stressed syllable 1st




Intonation and Sentence Type..
Declarative Wh- question Yes / no question Imperative Exclamation Question tags: - expecting confirmation - less certain expectation falling rising falling falling rising falling falling


e.g. I love you e.g. Whats your name? e.g. Are you English? e.g. Come here! e.g. How nice!

e.g. Youre English, arent you? e.g. She likes beer, doesnt she?

A. Underhill 1994: 84 Sound Foundations Heinemann

Typical intonation Patterns

Could you do something for me?

Two teas, please!

Miguel A. Meroo

XVI Jornadas Culturales EOI Cartagena

The Chaos Gerard Nolst Trenit (1870-1946)

Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word, Sword and sward, retain and Britain. (Mind the latter, how it's written.) Now I surely will not plague you With such words as plaque and ague. But be careful how you speak: Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Cloven, oven, how and low, Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Exiles, similes, and reviles; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war and far; One, anemone, Balmoral, Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Scene, Melpomene, mankind. Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Toward, to forward, to reward. And your pronunciation's OK When you correctly say croquet, Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, Friend and fiend, alive and live. Ivy, privy, famous; clamour And enamour rhyme with hammer. River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Doll and roll and some and home. Stranger does not rhyme with anger, Neither does devour with clangour. Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, And then singer, ginger, linger, Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. Query does not rhyme with very, Nor does fury sound like bury. Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. Though the differences seem little, We say actual but victual. Refer does not rhyme with deafer. Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. Mint, pint, senate and sedate; Dull, bull, and George ate late. Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, Science, conscience, scientific. Liberty, library, heave and heaven, Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. We say hallowed, but allowed, People, leopard, towed, but vowed. Mark the differences, moreover, Between mover, cover, clover; Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, Chalice, but police and lice; Camel, constable, unstable, Principle, disciple, label. Petal, panel, and canal, Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, Senator, spectator, mayor. Tour, but our and succour, four. Gas, alas, and Arkansas. Sea, idea, Korea, area, Psalm, Maria, but malaria. Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. Doctrine, turpentine, marine. Compare alien with Italian, Dandelion and battalion. Sally with ally, yea, ye, Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. Say aver, but ever, fever, Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. Heron, granary, canary. Crevice and device and aerie. Face, but preface, not efface. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. Large, but target, gin, give, verging, Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. Ear, but earn and wear and tear Do not rhyme with here but ere. Seven is right, but so is even, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work. Pronunciation -- think of Psyche! Is a paling stout and spikey? Won't it make you lose your wits, Writing groats and saying grits? It's a dark abyss or tunnel: Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, Islington and Isle of Wight, Housewife, verdict and indict. Finally, which rhymes with enoughThough, through, plough, or dough, or cough? Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give it up

Miguel A. Meroo

XVI Jornadas Culturales EOI Cartagena

Miguel A. Meroo