English Pronunciation How to pronounce 'world' and other 'wor' words

How to Pro­nounce ‘world’ and oth­er Eng­lish ‘wor’ words AUDIO les­son

I am often asked the fol­low­ing ques­tion when work­ing with Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion, “How do I pro­nounce the word ‘world?' ” Because of the spelling it is tricky!

Is it:  world /wɔːrld/ (Amer­i­can) , /wɔːld/ (British/Australian)   or  world /wɝːld/ (Amer­i­can),  /wɜːld/ (Brit/Aussie)??

If you picked the 2nd lot where the ‘or' says ‘er' you were right. 

So here is the secret:  When an ‘or' has the ‘w' let­ter right before it, the ‘or' changes and is said as a stressed ‘er' /ɝː/ (Amer­i­can), /ɜː/(Brit/Aussie).  So when you want to know how to pro­nounce ‘wor' in a word, you  actu­al­ly need to say ‘were', and then add the rest of the word.  For exam­ple, ‘world' is said ‘wereld'.

(Some main excep­tions are – worn, wore- in these words the ‘or' is pro­nounced ‘or' as in form.)

I have pre­pared an audio les­son for you below so you can prac­tise how to say ‘world', and oth­er Eng­lish ‘wor' words cor­rect­ly.  

How to Pro­nounce ‘world' and oth­er Eng­lish ‘wor' words – word list:

world    /wɜːld/ (British and Aus­tralian) /wɝːld/ (Amer­i­can)

world­wide

world­ly

work

work­er

work­ing

worked

word

worst

worm

worth

worth­less

world wind

worse

wor­ship

wor­thy

wor­ry  /wɝːr.i/(Amer­i­can ) – for the British and Aus­tralian pro­nun­ci­a­tion the ‘er' is said as an ‘u' as in ‘cup'- wor­ry /ˈwʌr.i/ 

Best wish­es, Esther

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