Reengineering or re-engineering?

I have seen both spellings of re-engineering used (with and without hyphen). Personally I prefer the hyphenated version as it aids with proper pronunciation of the word. seems to prefer reengineering But then on the other side spell checking software seems to only find the hyphenated version correct. Which version is correct or are … Read more

Is “of” pronounced as “ov”?

Few years back, one of our English teachers told that, In India, we [typically] pronounce “of” as “of” or “off”. But the real pronunciation is “ov”. When I try to listen the same in Google dictionary, it indeed sounds like “ov” :-). But I am not sure, if I am listening it correctly. Since my … Read more

What is this famous example of the absurdity of English spelling?

A long time ago I read about this funny example posited by some relatively well-known author who spelled a word (I forget the word) in the most difficult way possible, but in a way that was totally congruent with orthographic rules from other words of English. It was a simple word, like “fish” but he … Read more

Confusing ‘r’ sounds

In their kids song “Crazy ABCs”, the Barenaked Ladies sing about words that start with confusing sounds: A is for aisle B is for bdellium C is for czar However, when the song gets to “r”: R is for R-gyle No, it isn’t OK, you’re right; I couldn’t find a good “r” word So my … Read more

How to pronounce, “Tut! Tut!”

In older manuscripts, sometimes somebody says, “Tut! Tut!” Was this actually pronounced as written (as if referring to the famous King of Egypt)? Answer It is not known to me as anything but a “double click”. Such sounds cannot be written accurately in English. Wikipedia It may be that some try to pronounce tut, tut … Read more

Why is “Theresa” pronounced with the plosive /t/?

Judging from the spelling I always thought Theresa was pronounced with an interdental fricative. On the German news I often heard it pronounced with a /t/ as initial consonant. I thought this was due to the fact that German does not have interdental fricatives which often results in Germans replacings those with plosives (/t/ or … Read more

Voiced or voiceless cluster in “Brexit?”

I was watching American national news coverage of the “Brexit” poll, and it seemed to me that none of the news anchors nor commentators used a voiced consonant cluster in their pronunciation of the word. That is they all pronounced it /bɹɛksɪt/ and not /bɹɛgzɪt/. Upon discussing the poll with two American friends, I realized … Read more

Is “risky” an acceptable spelling of “risqué”?

Is “risky” an acceptable spelling of “risqué” or “risque” (suggestive of sexual impropriety), such as in this article? Selena Gomez has posed braless in a risky and sultry new photo-shoot for the British magazine British InStyle’s December edition. I looked at Wiktionary and Oxford Dictionaries, and they don’t mention that meaning in their definitions of … Read more

Voiced sounds after voiced and unvoiced after unvoiced

Why do we need a voiced sound after another voiced sound and voiceless after a voiceless sound in English? Explanation: Often in inflected forms, we need to add a voiced sound after the preceding voiced sound (phoneme) and voiceless sound after voiceless sound (phoneme). For example: Pass -> passed (/st/) Since /s/ is a voiceless … Read more