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

Pronunciation: vowels before dark L (Any accent)

To native speakers of English, how do you compare a vowel before a dark L and one without a dark L. Example words: gold, goal, sold, soul, hole, hold, bowl, bold go, so, ho, bow(noun) . pool, school, cool, tool poo, coo, too . ball, hall, wall, mall awe Is the vowel/(start of diphthong) rounder? … Read more

“Extra W” sound in words

I’ve wonder that in some sentences, or words, even though phonetically you don’t have a ‘W’ sound, you can still hear some type of extra w’ sound. So for example. The phrase: “Do it”. /du ɪt/ will sound more like /du wɪt/ same with the verb= “doing” ˈduɪŋ becomes /ˈduwɪŋ/. Am I crazy? Hope you … Read more

Scottish, English, why not *Walish?

As the title question asks, and particularly in light of the Old English word wælisc apparently used to refer to “Welsh”, when, why, and how did the English adjective meaning “of or relating to Wales” become “Welsh”? In particular: Which of the apparently l Old English forms made it into Middle English? Where (ie, what’s … Read more

Why are “fun” and “hulk” phonetically transcribed with the same vowel but pronounced differently?

I see many words in English have the same phonetics but I don’t know why they sound different. It means if we read the phonetics and pronounce, it will be wrong. Here are the examples. fun : /fʌn/ hunt : /hʌnt/ luck : /lʌk/ hulk : /hʌlk/ bulk : /bʌlk/ As you can see, the … Read more

Is there a hidden [y] vowel sound in /u:/?

My native language is Danish, with its gigantic number of vowel sounds, and this undoubtedly affects how I hear English vowels. However, one phenomenon in English has bothered me for many years, especially in Received Pronunciation, and I have so far been unable to locate any descriptions of it. No matter how many times I … Read more

Do syllables only contain one vowel? Also Some questions on word stress

For this word: ○ recommend ○/ˌrekəˈmend/ 1) /rekə/ is the first syllable. Does it contain two vowels? ■ e is a vowel ■ ə is a vowel I thought syllables can only contain one vowel? 2) the [ ‘]symbol before /rekə/ means that /rekə/ is stressed. So why is the “o” in “reco” reduced to … Read more

Why is the “o’ in “clover”, “cove” and “over’ pronounced differently in “cover”?

Etymonline tells me that cover is derived from Old French and Late Latin. mid-12c., from Old French covrir (12c., Modern French couvrir) “to cover, protect, conceal, dissemble,” from Late Latin coperire, from Latin cooperire “to cover over, overwhelm, bury,” from com-, intensive prefix, + operire “to close, cover,” from PIE compound *op-wer-yo-, from *op- “over” … Read more