In this accent reduction puzzle, as usual, there are exceptions and unusual spellings and pronunciation in English. Let’s have a look at the accent reduction puzzle of words spelt with a vowel that is pronounced as a consonant. Because of this, some accent reduction students sometimes miss pronounce these words.

The first accent reduction puzzle  is the ‘u’ in ‘qu’

The ‘u’ in ‘qu’ is spelt as a vowel but said as the consonant /w/.  Some examples of this are queen, quiet, quit, question, acquaintance, acquire, acquit, adequately, antiquated.

The second accent reduction puzzle is the ‘u’ in some ‘gu’ words

In the following words the ‘u’ says /w/.  For example, penguin, anguish, distinguish, sanguine, extinguish, linguist, inguinal, languish, lingual.

The third accent reduction puzzle is when ‘i’ says the consonant ‘y’

We know that ‘y’ can say ‘i’ in some words such as gym, but in the following words it is switched around. The ‘i’ vowel says the ‘y’ consonant sound. For example, union, onion, brilliant, companion, medallion, resilient, billion, million, pavilion, opinion,Brazilian, William, civilian, insufficient.

The fourth accent reduction puzzle is when the ‘o’ vowel says the /w/ consonant

Although there aren’t many of these, it’s worth knowing them: one, someone, onesie, oneself

Also have a look at this interesting article here about what makes a vowel a vowel and consonant a consonant.

Best wishes, Esther

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