Spelling Pronunciation

How do you pronounce that combination of letters?!

English pronunciation is notoriously difficult, largely due to the many influences of the language; mostly Latin, French, Germanic, Greek, and others.

The inspiration for this post came from the Fidel Chart, which is a language-teaching method created by Caleb Gattegno that makes extensive use of silence as a teaching method (Wikipedia).

As both a teacher and a student, I am not a fan of the Silent Way method of teaching, but the Fidel Chart does have value in learning.

However, I noticed that the Fidel Chart was missing two key details: the target sound in the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), and examples of words that contain the target sound!

I have generally arranged the sounds according to the IPA and separated them into two groups: vowels and diphthongs, which are the most tricky; and consonants and glides.

Note that silent letters are grouped in where most appropriate, and that pronunciation changes from region to region. The pronunciation we use here is Standard Canadian English, which is spoken mostly across central and western Canada, or Pacific Northwest English, which includes British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon, and some of California and Idaho.

If I have missed any letter/sound combination, please let me know and I will add it 🙂

 

Vowels and Diphthongs

/i/ /u/
e me ew new
ee meet o to
ea each oo too
ei receipt oe shoe
eo people eu maneuver
ey monkey ou you
i ski ough through
ie piece oup coup
y only u student
ue blue
ueue queue
ui juice
/ɪ/ /ʊ/
a purchase oo took
ai captain ou would
ee breeches
ei forfeit
i sit
ie sieve
u busy
ui guitar
y hypocrite
/ei/ /ɘ/ /ow/ /oi/
a alien a another au mauve oi voice
ai mail e enough eau plateau oy boy
au gauge i cigar ew sew
ay day o together o no
e there oo brooch
ee fiancé(e) oe toe
ea break ol folk
et ballet ou soul
ey they ough dough
ei eight ow low
/ɛ/ /ʌ/
e bed o mother
ea heaven oo blood
eo leopard ou touch
ai said u but
ay says
u bury
ei friend
/æ/ /aɪ/ /aw/ /ɒ/
a and ai aisle ou about a father
au laughter ei neither ough plough al palm
eye eye ow how aw dawn
i bite au daughter
ic indict e entrée
ie die ea Sean
is island o not
uy buy oi reservoir
y my ou cough
ye bye ow knowledge

 

Consonants and Glides

/p/ /b/ /m/
p pen b big m more
pp happy bb bubble mm hammer
mb thumb
/t/ /t/ /d/ /n/
t top d door n new
tt butts dd middle gn sign
ght night t (ɾ) thirty kn knew
pt pterodactyl tt (ɾ) better pn pneumonia
nt winter
/k/ /c/ /g/ ʔ
c cup g good t before n button
ch choir gg bigger
k key gh ghost
ck back gu guest
qu quiet
/m/ /m/ /n/ /ŋ/
m me n no ing sing
mm hammer nn running
mn autumn
/f/ /f/ /v/
f fun v van
ff stuff vv divvy
gh laugh
ph photo
/θ/ /θ/ /ð/
th think th the
th breathe
/s/ /z/
ci cider es goes
s sun se please
ss pass z zoo
ps psychologist zz buzz
sc science
/ʃ/ /ʒ/ /h/
ch machine su usually h house
ci special si vision
ss mission
se Sean
sh ship
su sugar
ti station
/d͡ʒ/ /t͡ʃ/
dge bridge ch chat
g general tu nature
j just
/l/ /ɫ/
l like milk
/w/ /j/
w wet y yes
wh white u use
/ɹ/ ɚ
r run er her
rr berry ir shirt
ur turn

 

 

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Alot vs. A Lot vs. Allot

First of all, the word “alot” does not exist in the English language.  It is often incorrectly written instead of “a lot”.  You wouldn’t write “afew” or “alittle” so please don’t write “alot”.  It’s “A LOT”.  Two words.

“A lot” can be a noun or adverb.

As a noun, it means to a large extent, large amount, or large number.

  • I have a lot of shoes.
  • There are a lot of people at this party.
  • She puts a lot of effort into her work.

To confirm that “a lot” is a noun, see if you can substitute “a bunch” and still have it make sense.

  • I have a bunch of homework.
  • There are a bunch of people at this party
  • She puts a bunch of effort into her work.

As an adverb, it means to a great extent or degree.

  • He cares a lot about his family.
  • They work a lot.
  • She sure texts a lot.

To confirm that “a lot” is an adverb, see if you can substitute “regularly” and have it still make sense.

  • He cares regularly about his family.
  • They work regularly.
  • She sure texts regularly.

The verb “to allot” means “portion, designate, dedicate, ration, grant, give out, or set aside”.

  • The government will allot 2% of its budget for emergency services.
  • His mother only allots him a half hour of TV a day.
  • The newspaper will allot a full page to each of the mayoral candidates.

And finally, here is a super cute cartoon for the visually inclined.