IPA choosing correct pronunciations of words

  • Thread starter Char. Limit
  • Start date
In summary: And in English, spelling in no way dictates sound. Just look at the "ghoti" joke. So the e in egg doesn't mean it's pronounced like a short e. Not at all.What's the point? People make up rules to strive for homogeneity. If I watch a news cast I want to understand the news anchor and not be puzzled about the incomprehensible accent that they speak (which happens in local newscasts).
  • #1
Char. Limit
Gold Member
1,222
22
IPA "choosing" correct pronunciations of words

I was reading a thread here (yes, I can read) when I saw people talking about the IPA "choosing" correct pronunciations of words.

Who are they to do this? How can this bunch of lowlifes say that how I pronounce "egg" or "pretend" is wrong?

Btw, "egg" has an "a" sound in it, a long a, and pretend has a long e and a short e, in that order. There's no short i's in pretend, and no short e's in egg.
Also, cot and caught are homophones to me.

Bonus points for guessing the thread I was reading, or my region of living.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2


They don't decide the pronunciation they just list what they consider to be the most common, it's usually different in English and America dictionaries.

It's a goo point though when anyone proposes simplifying English spelling so that it's more like how the word sounds - but 'sounds' in whose accent ?
 
  • #3


Who are they to do this? How can this bunch of lowlifes say that how I pronounce "egg" or "pretend" is wrong?

Btw, "egg" has an "a" sound in it, a long a
I don't see why egg should have a long "a" sound in it if all words beginning with "e" don't have that as well.
What you have is an accent. Some accents are close to the correct pronunciation and some are way off. Your egg example is one that is way off.
They don't decide the pronunciation they just list what they consider to be the most common, it's usually different in English and America dictionaries.
The most common way of saying "elephantiasis" is "elephantitis", but that's still an incorrect way of saying it.
 
  • #4


leroyjenkens said:
I don't see why egg should have a long "a" sound in it if all words beginning with "e" don't have that as well.
What you have is an accent. Some accents are close to the correct pronunciation and some are way off. Your egg example is one that is way off.

The most common way of saying "elephantiasis" is "elephantitis", but that's still an incorrect way of saying it.

Lol, you know that to me, you'd be the one with the accent?

That's part of my point. Which accent do you choose as the correct one? A Southern accent? Perhaps Bostonian or Cockney? My accent is of the Pacific Northwest dialect. To me, I sound accentless. You'd disagree.

And in English, spelling in no way dictates sound. Just look at the "ghoti" joke. So the e in egg doesn't mean it's pronounced like a short e. Not at all.
 
  • #5


What's the point? People make up rules to strive for homogeneity. If I watch a news cast I want to understand the news anchor and not be puzzled about the incomprehensible accent that they speak (which happens in local newscasts).

I can pronounce the word "egg" in a way that you would never imagine, does that mean that I should?
 
  • #6


I come from South Jersey. We have no accent.
 
  • #7


Char. Limit said:
I was reading a thread here (yes, I can read) when I saw people talking about the IPA "choosing" correct pronunciations of words.

Who are they to do this? How can this bunch of lowlifes say that how I pronounce "egg" or "pretend" is wrong?

Btw, "egg" has an "a" sound in it, a long a, and pretend has a long e and a short e, in that order. There's no short i's in pretend, and no short e's in egg.
Also, cot and caught are homophones to me.

Who cares? English is not a phonetic language. Once you can spell correctly, there's no need to create a storm. Lots of people pronounce 'saw' as 'sore', but they still know that the correct spelling is 'saw'
 
  • #8


jimmysnyder said:
I come from South Jersey. We have no accent.

I'm from Eastern Washington. We also have no accent, to me at least.

Wouldn't it be great if Cockney was the "correct" way of speaking?
 
  • #9


That's part of my point. Which accent do you choose as the correct one? A Southern accent? Perhaps Bostonian or Cockney? My accent is of the Pacific Northwest dialect. To me, I sound accentless. You'd disagree.
I think the accent that pronounces most words how they're meant to be pronounced is the most correct way. Dictionaries have pronunciation guides in them. Do different parts of the country have different dictionaries so that they have different pronunciation guides?
For your egg example, do your local dictionaries back you up on that pronunciation?

I live in Florida. Most black people here have a different accent than most people. You'll sometimes here white kids try to mimic it to sound cool, like Eminem. Their accent is somewhat southern mixed with a unique accent that they created on their own. It's hard to understand sometimes. Is that also a correct way of speaking English? They're not taught that in school, but they're so used to speaking that way casually that it continues despite learning the correct way. All these different accents can't all be perfectly legitimate ways of speaking the same language.
And in English, spelling in no way dictates sound. Just look at the "ghoti" joke. So the e in egg doesn't mean it's pronounced like a short e. Not at all.
Spelling dictates sound. It's just that a lot of words in English come from languages where their rules are applied to the word.

I'm unfamiliar with the "ghoti" joke.

The E in egg does mean that it at least has an "e" sound. You can't just apply any sound to it and expect everyone to accept that as an equally valid alternate pronunciation.
 
  • #10


The "ghoti" joke:

Say I spell the word "ghoti". How do I pronounce it? Well, using the "gh" sound from "enough" (an f sound), the "o" sound from "women" (a short i), and the "ti" sound from "nation" (a sh sound), it's obviously pronounced like "fish".

This just shows the absurdity of the spelling of our language.

Some people pronounce "egg" as "igg", some pronounce it as "aigg", some pronounce it as "egg". Who's correct? Depends on where you live.

Also, Merriam-Webster supports me on the pronunciation of egg:

Merriam-Webster said:
Main Entry: egg
Pronunciation: \ˈeg, ˈāg\

See? Long a. It's an "aigg" sound. And I believe Merriam-Webster.
 
  • #11


Say I spell the word "ghoti". How do I pronounce it? Well, using the "gh" sound from "enough" (an f sound), the "o" sound from "women" (a short i), and the "ti" sound from "nation" (a sh sound), it's obviously pronounced like "fish".
That's pretty funny.
This just shows the absurdity of the spelling of our language.
Not really, since you have to break a bunch of rules to get to that conclusion.
Some people pronounce "egg" as "igg", some pronounce it as "aigg", some pronounce it as "egg". Who's correct? Depends on where you live.
Call me crazy, but I tend to think the one who pronounces E's like E's is correct.
See? Long a. It's an "aigg" sound. And I believe Merriam-Webster.
That's interesting. But notice it's the second one, indicating it's less common. And if you click to hear the pronunciation, he only says it with the E sound.
A lot of people do pronounce it like that, god knows why, but I guess that's the reason for having it show up as an alternate pronunciation.
 
  • #12


This makes for an amusing topic.

I was taught to read using the "Hooked on Phonics" method. (Does anyone remember that stuff?)

I grew up in Mississippi, but have little or no southern accent. It doesn't mean I don't have an accent, everyone has an accent. While some dialects have unique ways of pronouncing words, most words can only be read one way using the standard rules. I can honestly hear the difference between cot and caught from a person who is reading the word. Egg can be said different ways by different people, but it can only be read one way. With the letters it is given. I have friends who pronounce oil, ole. They poke fun at the way I say it, but its just a result of my learning to say words as they are spelled. One of my favorites is against. People around where I live say aginst by spelling but the spelling suggests that the a says its name.
 
  • #13


Pattonias, I pronounce "against" yet a third way: as if it were spelled "agennst", like the "enn" in Glenn.

Even if it's an "alternate" pronunciation, it's still one of two correct pronunciations.

Also, to me, "cot" and "caught" both have the o sound in "dog", "Bosnia", and "rotting".

Hopefully the three word examples will cover any differences in dialect.
 
  • #14


Pattonias, I pronounce "against" yet a third way: as if it were spelled "agennst", like the "enn" in Glenn.
Me too. The only person I've heard say it with the "gain" part pronounced like "gain" by itself is Jean Grey from the X-Men cartoon.
Also, to me, "cot" and "caught" both have the o sound in "dog", "Bosnia", and "rotting".
Me too. I honestly don't see how you could pronounce it any other way. The "au" part is pronounced like an "o" and the "gh" is silent. So you're left with a word sounding like "cot".
 
  • #15


leroyjenkens said:
Me too. The only person I've heard say it with the "gain" part pronounced like "gain" by itself is Jean Grey from the X-Men cartoon.

Me too. I honestly don't see how you could pronounce it any other way. The "au" part is pronounced like an "o" and the "gh" is silent. So you're left with a word sounding like "cot".

As far as sounding like Jean Grey, I don't remember lol

I can hear the gh in caught it makes the word a little longer and I can hear the h sound. In cot, the word is shorter (takes less time to say) and has no h sound. I kind of wish we had audio for this discussion. It would be really neat to hear each others dialects.
 
  • #16


Oh, if only Wiis had microphones...

Actually, I looked up my own dialect, and the "cot-caught merger" essentially is the only thing we do, apparently...
 

Related to IPA choosing correct pronunciations of words

1. What is IPA and why is it important for choosing correct pronunciations of words?

IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet, and it is a standardized system of symbols used to represent the sounds of spoken language. It is important for choosing correct pronunciations of words because it provides a consistent way to transcribe and understand the sounds of different languages, allowing for accurate pronunciation across languages.

2. How do I know which IPA symbols to use for a specific word?

The best way to determine which IPA symbols to use for a specific word is to consult a reliable IPA chart or dictionary. These resources will provide the correct symbols for each sound in the word, allowing you to accurately pronounce it. You can also listen to audio recordings of the word to ensure you are using the correct symbols.

3. Are there any exceptions or irregularities when using IPA for pronouncing words?

Yes, there are some exceptions and irregularities when using IPA for pronouncing words. Some languages may have sounds that do not have corresponding IPA symbols, or may have variations in pronunciation that are not captured by the IPA. Additionally, some words may have multiple acceptable pronunciations, so it is important to consult a reliable source for the most accurate pronunciation.

4. Can I use IPA to help with my own accent or pronunciation?

Yes, IPA can be a useful tool for improving your own accent or pronunciation. By learning the IPA symbols and their corresponding sounds, you can identify and correct any errors in your pronunciation. Additionally, using IPA can help you more accurately pronounce words in different languages, as it provides a standardized way to represent sounds.

5. Is it necessary to learn IPA in order to correctly pronounce words?

No, it is not necessary to learn IPA in order to correctly pronounce words. Many people are able to learn and use correct pronunciation without using IPA. However, for those studying linguistics, language learning, or working with different languages, learning IPA can be a valuable skill for accurately pronouncing words.

Similar threads

  • General Discussion
2
Replies
51
Views
5K
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Programming and Computer Science
2
Replies
35
Views
2K
Replies
19
Views
2K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
0
Views
765
  • Art, Music, History, and Linguistics
Replies
16
Views
2K
  • General Discussion
Replies
33
Views
15K
  • Quantum Physics
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
47
Views
5K
  • Special and General Relativity
2
Replies
51
Views
2K
Back
Top