Why are non-native speakers so easy to recognize?
When speaking in English, it is necessary to take into account the many exceptions in pronunciation and to never take for granted that you have learned all of the rules. In some cases letters that are written are not pronounced. In others, the exact same suffix can be pronounced in different ways.
Below, we present to you some of the most common pronunciation errors. Read this article and keep it in mind when you are speaking English, and you will be able to blend in seamlessly with English-speakers.
The -Ed Suffix on Regular Verbs
This pronunciation is used when “-ed” is preceded by a “d” or a “t”.
need → needed
end → ended
start → started
want → wanted
Regular verbs that end in a voiceless consonant sound receive this pronunciation. Some voiceless consonants include: /f/ /k/ /p/ /s/ /t/ /sh/ y /ch/.
/f/ laugh → laughed
/p/ stop → stopped
/sh/ wash →washed
/k/ like → liked
/s/ miss → missed
/ch/ watch → watched
When regular verbs end in a voiced consonant sound, they have this pronunciation. Some voiced consonants are: /b/ /g/ /v/ /z/ /m/ /n/ /l/ /th/ /r/.
/b/ grab → grabbed
/g/ beg → begged
/n/ listen → listened
/l/ kill → killed
As you know, the aspirated “h” in English is always pronounced. Here is a list of words that begin with a silent “h”.
honour (UK) / honor (USA)
To this list must be added words derived from those mentioned above, such as hourglassand honesty . From the grammatical point of view, words that begin with a silent “h” require the article “an” instead of “a.” There are also some words that have a silent “h” that is not in the beginning of the word, such as: ache and stomach.
Again, there is no exact rule. There is simply a list of words that begin with “p” followed by a consonant where the “p” is not pronounced. Here are those words:
To this list must be added the word receipt , where the “p” is not at the beginning of the word, is followed by a consonant, but is not pronounced.
There are many other silent letters in English and the only way to recognize them is to memorize them. In general, these are consonants followed by other consonants. Here are some examples: doubt , subtle , assign , design , knife , knight .
The Stress on Derived Words
implant (v) implant (n)
project (v) project (n)
upgrade (v) upgrade (n)
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