Happy tensing after /l/

Happy tensing is claimed by Wikipedia to occur in General American and Australian English in words like “happy”, “money”, “valley” etc. Here’s an American lady saying “realy badly” as [ˈriɫɪ ˈbædɫɪ] at 1:07:53: https://youtu.be/4LWKWjMNaOs?t=4073 To my ear it’s nowhere near [i] as in “ease”, regardless of the length. And here’s an AmEn speaker with real … Read more

Why do American speakers pronounce “the” as “/ðə/” before vowels?

I learned that we have to pronounce /ðə/ before consonants & /ði/ before vowels. For example, the /ðə/ car, but the /ði/ earth. But it seems that a lot of American people pronounce the /ðə/ before vowels, for example the /ðə/ era. Are these native speakers pronouncing wrong? or it is a dialect or something? … Read more

The /ɪ/ sound vs the /i/ sound – exact difference?

What’s the exact difference in the ‘pi’ sound between ‘happiness’ /ˈhæp.i.nəs/ and epicentre /ˈep.ɪ.sen.tər/ that prompts the Cambridge Dictionary compilers to use a diffrerent vowel code for each case? More generally, what’s the exact difference between the /ɪ/ sound and the /i/ sound, is it just in the duration (in some contexts?)? Is it just … Read more

What was the pronunciation of the a in “trap” in early to mid Modern English in the UK?

I have often read that in Old and Middle English the “a” sound in words like “trap” was pronouned /a/. When it comes to modern English, Wikipedia suggests that this was raised to /æ/ in early Modern English and later lowered to /a/ again. See here: Wikipedia – Pronunciation of English – Changes in realization … Read more

Which diphthong takes place in ‘desirous’?

The phonetic transcription for desirous (in its BrE pronunciation) can be written as [dɪˈzʌɪərəs]. I wonder which diphthong—ʌɪ or ɪə—takes place in this word? Maybe here we can see a kind of haplology? Answer /ʌɪə/ and /ʌuə/ are triphthongs. They are sometimes phonetically realized as diphthongs, but if all three vowel sounds are pronounced, they … Read more

Peculiar pronunciation of ‘architecture’

Watching a footage from 1928-9 i noticed that the narrator pronounced architecture as [‘a:tʃitektʃə] instead of the modern [‘a:Kitektʃə]. Is this known to be the standard American pronunciation of the word around those times or is it likely to be the narrator’s idiosyncrasy/mispronunciation? Answer First, a caveat: “standard” pronunciation doesn’t really exist. Aside from the … Read more

Do Americans pronounce “transient” as \ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt\?

Merriam-Webster pronounces “transient” as \ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt\. However, most Americans pronounce it as \ˈtran-zē-ənt\. Answer Merriam-Webster seems a bit of an outlier with its intrusive t, though Cambridge UK adds a d in the recorded audio of its suggested American pronunciation. It sounds like tangent only with an intial tr. The IPA for that pronunciation is given … Read more

Is it true that t&d, p&b, k&g, s&z, … only differ by voiced vs. unvoiced

According to https://www.lawlessenglish.com/learn-english/pronunciation/consonants-voiced-unvoiced/ there are number of pairs of consonant sounds whose only difference is that one is voiced and the other isn’t. Some of the examples listed are t vs. d, k vs. g, s vs. z and p vs. b. If this is true, how come I can tell the difference between ‘pet’ … Read more

Difference between /əʳ/ and /ɚ/

Consider the word ‘future.’ Cambridge Dictionary shows the transcriptions /ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/ and /ˈfjuːtʃɚ/. Are they different? Answer One is the Standard British English pronunciation, and the other is the General American English pronunciation. In the British pronunciation, you don’t pronounce the /r/ after /ə/ unless the next word starts with a vowel. (The superscript /r/ is … Read more

Phonetic differences between ɑ and ɒ in English and American pronunciation standards

First, I should state I’m a native U.K. English speaker from the West Midlands. With 44 Phonemes present in English, I’m having trouble deciding when I should use ɑ and ɒ, from this website we can an example for ɑ with father. Both American and British pronounce this the same I believe. But on Collins … Read more