Love, work and police: pronouncing the letter ‘o’.

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by Liz Walter

Pronunciation is one of the hardest things to master in English. Today I’m going to look at the letter ‘o’ and concentrate on some common pronunciation errors.

Most students have no problem with the short vowel sound /ɒ/ found in British English in words such as hot, boss and across. (Americans pronounce this as a longer sound /ɑː/.) Students also generally understand how adding an ‘e’ to the end of a word leads to a longer sound /əʊ/ (UK) /oʊ/ (US), for instance hop/hope, not/note.

Continue reading “Love, work and police: pronouncing the letter ‘o’.”

Women and biscuits: common pronunciation errors in English

by Liz Walter
women+biscuits
There’s no getting away from the fact that pronunciation in English is difficult. Unlike many other languages, the relationship between the letters in a word and its sound is often weak, to say the least.

For this reason, there are pronunciation problems with extremely common words which I notice over and over again in my classes, so this blog post will explain how to avoid some of them.

I want to start with one really general issue: the –ed ending on past tenses. This causes a lot of problems for learners but there is in fact a simple rule: it is only pronounced as ‘id’ when the verb ends with a ‘d’ or ‘t’ sound, e.g. folded, painted.

For all other verbs, -ed is pronounced as ‘d’.  After some consonants, it will come out sounding more like ‘t’, but you don’t need to worry about that because it will happen naturally. Continue reading “Women and biscuits: common pronunciation errors in English”