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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Do you find English pronunciation confusing? Well, don’t worry - you are not alone. Even native speakers of English struggle with how to correctly pronounce some words.

As native speakers, we sometimes shorten the pronunciation of words to make it easier for us. These are words which students commonly mispronounce because they attempt to pronounce them as they are spelled. For example : the word VEGETABLE. According to the spelling, this should be pronounced with 4 syllables – VEG-E-TA-BLE. However, since this would make saying the word very long, we actually pronounce it with only 3 syllables and omit the "E" in the middle – VEG-TA-BLE. It is the same with the word COMFORTABLE. In this case, we omit the "OR" in the middle, so it sounds more like COMF-TA-BLE. Another one is CHOCOLATE, which is pronounced without the middle "O" and simply becomes CHOC-LATE.

Unfortunately, there are no rules to help you with pronunciation of these types of words, but using your listening skills can assist you to recognize which words native speakers typically shorten in conversation.

If you would like more information on WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca.


  • Dr. English,

    This is very interesting...oh, by the way, i think that "interesting" could be another good example for this section. Should be IN-TE-RES-TING but my guess is that people pronounce it IN-TRUS-TING or at least that is how it sounds like to me.



    By Blogger english_patient, at 9:14 a.m.  

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