Tag: pronunciation

Now a pronunciation editor, Matthew Moreland had the pleasure of being one of OED’s speakers periodically for a couple of years.

You can say that again! A day in the life of an Actor-Phonetician

At the end of last year, a mammoth update meant that OED subscribers can hear words spoken aloud for the first time, in both British and American accents. Little triangles  have appeared next to the transcriptions, and can be clicked to hear the word. It’s now quicker and easier than ever before to find out […]

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Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

How ethical is it to start working in a country where you don’t speak the local language? Before I started teaching English in Poland, this question didn’t trouble me in the slightest. When I taught in Sardinia, I spoke enough Italian to get by; and nobody in Cambodia expected foreign teachers to speak any Khmer […]

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To date, region-specific pronunciations for words from 10 varieties of English have been added to the OED, namely Scottish, Irish, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African, Caribbean, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysian, and Philippine English.

Shibboleth, Sibboleth: pronouncing international Englishes

‘Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right’ says Judges 12:6 of the King James Bible. The word Shibboleth was adopted more broadly to refer to language which can be used to identify those who belong (or rather, do not belong) to […]

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English words of French origins, and how to pronounce them correctly

English words of French origin and how to pronounce them

On 14 July 1789, the storming of the Bastille prison in the centre of Paris marked the beginning of the French Revolution. It was a major watershed in the history of Europe and is today still celebrated as a public holiday in France. The event gave the country a national motto as well: liberté, égalité, […]

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American vs British pronunciation: zebra

American vs British pronunciation: 7 words to watch out for

Americans and Brits. There are some things that we have different words for (zucchini vs courgette, stroller vs pram), and some words we use for different things (always make sure you’ve agreed on a common meaning of pants before you broach the topic). Some words we spell differently – the pesky ‘u’ to remember to […]

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Does the BBC dictate proper pronunciation?

BBC English: does it dictate proper pronunciation?

Language use and notions of correctness have always been central matters for large sections of British society – especially those concerned with class, status, and education. Throughout its history, the BBC played a central role in disseminating what is considered ‘proper’ pronunciation. In its early days, the BBC was even meant to not only entertain […]

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swallows arguing

9 words to argue about with your friends

When it comes to pronunciation, there’s always something to argue about. And we’ve all done it –whether standing in line at Starbucks arguing about espresso or throwing down about whether or not to enunciate the ‘r’ in the second month of the year. So here’s more grist for the argument mill. 1. timbre If you’re […]

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Use these medical pronunciations to avoid being embarrassed at the doctor's office

Avoid embarrassment at the doctor’s office

There’s really nothing worse than pronouncing an obvious word incorrectly – especially when you do it in front of someone who’s an authority on the word. The doctor’s office is one of many places where we find ourselves in this sort of situation. Let’s have a quick look at some words that may cause an […]

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