British, Australian and American pronunciation for multi-syllable words- Don’t get confused

I recently found an interesting analysis of the different British, Australian and American pronunciation and stress patterns for certain multisyllable words.

It was interesting because it pointed out that British, Australian and American pronunciation are different for many words borrowed from French.

Typically American English puts the stress on the final syllable, whereas British and Australian English makes an earlier syllable stressed.

This is important, because don’t forget, it isn’t just the sounds you make that give you clear English speech, but also the supra segmentals such as correct syllable stress within words, and correct word stress within sentences. These are some of the important elements that give English its particular rhythm and melody.

British, Australian and American pronunciation and syllable stress

English listeners listen for stressed syllables in words, and the words that are stressed in sentences. It is important to get it right. If you stress the wrong syllable, English listeners get distracted or confused as it doesn’t sound quite right, and your speech won’t be clear.

To stress a syllable you need to: say the vowel clearly ; say the vowel slightly louder , longer and slightly higher pitched

To de-stress a syllable or make it the weak syllable, you need to: say the vowel as a schwa /ə/ sound or short ‘u’ sound; the vowel sound ‘loses’ its regular sound and becomes a schwa sound.

I have made an audio recording for you to practise with and I have also written the words out for you below the recording.

 

Remember typically American English puts the stress on the final syllable, whereas British and Australian English makes an earlier syllable stressed.

British &
Australian
American

Adult

/’æd. ʌlt/

/ə’dʌlt/

ballet

/’bæl. eɪ /

/ bæl ‘eɪ/

brochure

/’brəʊ. ʃər/

/broʊ ‘ʃʊr/

cafe

/’kæf. eɪ/

/kæf ‘eɪ /

cliche

/’kli: . ʃeɪ /

/kli: ‘ʃeɪ /

detail

/’di: teɪl /

/dɪ ‘ teɪl /

garage

/’gær . ɑ:ʒ /

/gə ‘rɑ:ʒ

vaccine

/’væk si:n /

/væk ‘si:n /

salon

/’sæl. ɒn /

/sə’lɒn /

Enjoy practising, and let me know if you found this useful by leaving a comment below.

Best wishes,

Esther

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