English Vocabulary


English pronunciation

Hi there !
I'm new here, and I have a topic that I'd want to discuss.


I read a lot, and the difficulty for me is to pronunce correctly in my head the words I read, so I don't take wrong habits.


It seems to me there's a rule ( with exceptions, of course, as all the rules ;) ) for "a" and "i". Here is what I think :


1. When "a" and "i" are followed by 1 consonant only, then at least 1 vowel, they are pronunced as diphtongs ( "ei" and "ai" )
(ex: take, like...) ( first exception I see, "live", to differentiate adjective ( "laiv" ) and verb ( "liv" ))


2. When "a" and "i" are followed by 2 consonants, or 1 consonant that is the end of the word, they are pronunced as "a" and "i", one sound only. (ex: tack, lick...)


Do you agree with me ?
Is this really a rule ?
It would be great...


Thanks in advance for your posts !

6 comments

  • ?...and what does the rule say about Idoine, is it 'Aïe'doine as if it hurts in French or 'E'doine like in email ?;)
  • From Sophie Moa:
    ?...and what does the rule say about Idoine, is it 'Aïe'doine as if it hurts in French or 'E'doine like in email ?;)

     
    As it's french, "i" as in "e"mail (there's only that pronunciation for "i" in French).


    For the little story, several years ago I needed an alias, and didn't want one like "happyflower" or "crazylobo"..., for it would be used in my work too.
    I needed the appropriate one, that is "Idoine" in French ! ;)
  • Hi you, the so well suited to your job,


    I was a bit taken aback at reading your rule for pronunciation. Even if it doesn't stand up against a close scrutiny, it's true that the rules you were drawing can be implemented to scores of cases. However there are so many cases that stray from the rules that I wonder whether I had better changing my mind: up until now I had always thought that English was the most wretched language for pronunciation.


    So I weigh up the pros and the cons of your first rule in order to reform my habit to pronounce 'habit', 'amenities', 'to amass', 'civility', 'divinity' and whatnot.


    I weigh up the pros and the cons of your second rule in order to reform my habit to pronounce 'to bark' 'a gable' 'a farm' 'a wall' 'to fall' ...


    As I consider your ideas appropriate to a learner of my kind, I am looking forward, Idoine, to getting more specifics of the rules you are drawing up.


    Yours, closely concerned,
    Joe
  • Thanks Joe, for your examples of exceptions.


    I could amend my second rule with the specific pronunciation of the "all" group, as it seems to be always the same sound.
    And although with a precision: ...followed by 2 consonnants [b]that are pronunced[/b]..., as the "r" in bark and farm just extend the sound of the "a"...
    Now it doesn't solve 'gable', except if we accept the specific pronunciation of the group "able", or "aple", when in a short word... (see 'maple' too, and vs 'capable')


    Now for the first, the group "ity" is a specificity too...
    And I could amend with: ...[b] except when it's the first sound of the word[/b]...


    When I read your examples, I see that I have already 'assimilated' many exceptions (see, another one, for the beginning of the word that is !).
    There's 'divinity', but also 'divine'...
    Seems to me we need to introduce the notion of the accentuated syllable too !


    So complicated !


    Thank you for your post !
  • I'd nearly agree, Idoine, but this rule seems to eliminate Cockney English which is not fair :(
    May I ask a question ? how do you manage to get bold characters in this box ?
  • From Sophie Moa:
    I'd nearly agree, Idoine, but this rule seems to eliminate Cockney English which is not fair :(
    May I ask a question ? how do you manage to get bold characters in this box ?

     
    My first aim is to speak "standard" english ;). As for Cockney, and other variations, it will be later.
    Just to illustrate that point, one of the first books I read in english was 'Redwall', by Brian Jacques. In this series, some species of animals speak with an accent (moles have one, hares another...), that is reproduced in words. Not easy at all to decipher, but pretty interesting because it forced me to really read (almost pronounce) the text to understand it !


    For the bold caracters, I'm using BBcode. If you know HTML code, it's the same but you need to replace <...> with [...]. You can see it if you quote my post.

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