Insight into the pronunciation of the word algae?

Can anyone provide some insight into the pronunciation of the word algae? Various dictionaries give either the /g/ version as in gear or the /dʒ/ version as in jeep. For example: Is there an American or British convention for pronouncing this word? Are these conventions the same on both sides of the Atlantic? … Read more

Weinstein: Why “Winesteen”, not “Winestine” or “Weensteen”?

I am constantly bemused by American pronunciation of German names. How did it come to be pronounced “Winesteen”? The German pronunciation, of course, is Vineshtine. I can understand the consonants changing to the English form that corresponds to the spelling, but why are the two vowels pronounced differently? Answer In 1787, Emperor Joseph II decreed … Read more

Why there are three different sounds for -ed?

Following this question on the pronunciation of the final -ed. What is the reason why there are three different pronunciations (/ɪd/, /t/ and /d/)? I’m well aware that phonetic shifts exist, I study linguistics. I just wanted to know how this particular shift happened. Answer Preamble Syllables have two main parts, an ᴏɴsᴇᴛ and a … Read more

How to pronounce furore/furor?

I know what the word “furore” means. I also know it’s a variant spelling of “furor”. “furore” seems to be a BrE spelling. I’ve never spoken this word despite how often I’ve seen it in both its forms. According to the dictionary the two versions aren’t just spelling differences but represent different pronunciations: furore (fjʊˈrɔːrɪ) … Read more

How to pronounce words starting with hypo-?

According to Wiktionary, hypocrisy (/hɪˈpɑkɹəsi/) and hypothesis (/haɪˈpɒθɪ̈sɪs/) are both coming from French, from Latin, and earlier from Greek, with the same root ὑπό (hupó). However, the ‘y’ in hypo- is pronounced completely different in both cases. One plausible theory could be that hypocrisy used to be written ipocrisie in the XII century, and the … Read more

Actor, motor, tutor, … mentor?

There is a very productive suffix in English coming from Latin: ‘-or’: doctor, actor, aviator, etc. meaning ‘the person that does the thing’. It is spelled ‘-or’ but is pronounced to rhyme with the English Native spelling of the similar meaning ‘-er’ or in IPA for American English as from the NURSE lexical set: /ər/ … Read more

What is the correct pronunciation of SQLite?

I seem to be hearing many different vocalizations of the name, and I’m not sure which one is correct. The last thing I want to do is “erroneously” drop the name in a meeting, and someone feel the need to correct me. So is it pronounced “Ess-Cue-El-ight”, or “Ess-Cue-El-Eye”, or something else entirely? Is there … Read more

What’s up with the pronunciation of “awry”?

I was just watching a show where someone said “awry“. I have noted this numerous times before and wondered, but now I just have to understand: Why is it pronounced as “aww-rye” [low tone on the aww] instead of “aww-ree” [high tone on the aww]? Answer PLEASE NOTE: English is not a tonal language like … Read more

Why is the word “folks” pronounced [foʊks]?

Why is the word folks sound like it’s pronounced [foʊks] rather than [fɔɫks]? It’s as though people are thinking it’s spelled fokes. Answer This is the result of historical loss/vocalization of the sound /l/ in certain contexts. As Max Williams mentioned, we also see this loss in -alk words like walk, talk, chalk, balk, stalk. … Read more