This time I thought I would bring you an interesting article on English pronunciation that I found in the Guardian newspaper entitled “8 pronunciation errors that made the English language what it is today.”
It’s very interesting to see how English pronunciation has developed over time and the influence it has on our current pronunciation.
I have also noted in my work with people, that certain errors continue to come up when people are learning to pronounce English clearly, that are often based on how the word is spelt.
English pronunciation errors
1) Pronouncing the /g/ in the ‘ng’ phoneme
The /g/ is not pronounced in the ‘ng’ combination. So it isn’t running but running. The ‘ng’ is neither pronounced as an /n/ or a/g/ but has a totally different sound just like ‘sh’ isn’t /s/ or /h/ but something else. There is a whole section in my accent reduction program (click for the British course or American course), teaching how to say this phoneme properly.
2) Pronouncing the /r/ in vowel combinations for English pronunciation of British and Australian accents
So you would think that if the /r/ was there in the ‘or’, ‘er’, ‘ar’ phonograms that you would pronounce it! Not so when you are learning a British or Australian accent. Of course you do pronounce it when using an American accent just to confuse the issue.
For a British and Australian accent the ‘or’ ‘er’ and ‘ar’ are pronounced each as separate vowels without the /r/ sound. This training is also included in the speak more clearly accent reduction courses.
3) Pronouncing the silent /b/ at the end of English words
In the following words the /b/ is not pronounced :
lam not lamb
com ( coem ) not comb
tom (toom) not tomb
bom not bomb
4) In English Pronunciation ‘ed’ doesn’t always say /ed/
This can be confusing at times but here’s the rule:
If a past tense regular verb ends in /t/ or /d/ then the ed says /ed/ e.g. wanted, indebted, raided
If a past tense regular verb ends in a voiced consonant ( the last thing you pronounce is the voiced consonant- in ‘love’ the last pronounced sound is the voiced /v/), then the ed says /d/ e.g. loved, hugged, rubbed, hosed. ( the /s/ is saying the voiced /z/ sound in hosed)
If the past tense regular verb ends in an un -voiced consonant the ed says /t/ e.g. hoped ( it becomes a consonant blend of two unvoiced consonants – hoept), clicked, walked, fished.
Have a look here for more detail, and an audio training clip for when ed says /d/
Last but not least, here is the link to the article I was speaking about at the beginning of this article.
Enjoy! Best wishes,