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

Is /ɑ/ a back or central vowel in GA English?

/ɑ/ is called open back unrounded vowel, however it appears in the center bottom of the vowel trapezoid of General American English at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_American#Phonology . Why? If GA English indeed uses that bottom central vowel, why not represent it with /ä/ (open central unrounded vowel)? The cot-caught merger is out of the scope of this … Read more

What is the rule that causes the -ti in rectilinear to be pronounced with a short i?

So, I have always pronounced rectilinear with a long i sound (recteelinear), until the other day when, much to my embarrassment, I heard it pronounced with a short i (rectuhlinear). How would I prevent this pronunciation mistake in the future? What rules are there regarding the long/short i in cases like rectilinear vs rectify? Answer … Read more

Why isn’t Robert Mueller’s last name pronounced like Ferris Bueller’s?

Mueller, Mueller, Mueller? Why isn’t Robert Mueller’s last name pronounced like “Bueller” of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” fame? Is there a correct pronunciation? I’ve been pronouncing it like Bueller for nearly 2 years. I’ve heard some people on TV pronounce it like I do, but most pronounce it “Muller.” Answer The simple answer is that … Read more

for words ending in “ing”, what parts are stressed?

For words ending in the -ing suffix, is the suffix stressed? Unstressed? Does adding the -ing suffix affect the stress of the other syllables? Example: (u is untressed, ‘ is stressed) Deteriorate is (U ‘ U U ‘), is deteriorating (U ‘ U U ‘ U)? Is it (U ‘ U U ‘ ‘)? Answer … Read more

Why is there an ‘h’ at the end of the word ‘cheetah’?

This question is prompted by another question on Stack Exchange regarding the addition of a last letter for no apparent reason during transliteration from Aramaic to Greek : We have the Aramaic given (חקל דמא haqel d’ma, field of blood) (Acts 1:18–19)—but again, with an otherwise inexplicable χ attached to the end: Ἁκελδαμάχ. It made … Read more

What are the words ending in “-ey” pronounced [eɪ]?

As a native French speaker, I used to pronounce the end of all the English words ending in “-ey” as [eɪ] instead of [i]. Most noticeably, such of those words that are directly used in French are almost automatically mispronounced as ending in [eɪ] by even good English French speakers: hockey, jockey, (silicon) valley… or … Read more