Thursday, May 3, 2007

"English is not a Phonetic Language"

A phonetic language means that the written words have same
pronunciation. But it is not in the case of English. It is not a
Phonetic language. It has no relation in spellings and
pronunciation of the word. Often we observe that the pronunciation is
beyond our expectations. There are several rules for a single character
to pronounce in certain circumstances. But we cannot also predict even
then, there may a pronunciation exist which we cannot even think about.
The thing that the spellings and sound patterns of English words is
different, makes it one of the difficult languages of the world. So
what we have to do then?

If we want to learn Spoken English we should concentrate then on pronunciation. Just forget the spellings and try to learn the sounds. e.g. There are seven sounds for a spelling combination "oug"

1. though (like o in go)

2. through (like oo in too)

3. cough (like off in offer)

4. rough (like uff in suffer)

5. plough (like ow in flower)

6. ought (like aw in saw)

7. borough (like a in above)

Another combination 'ght'

right (rite no /g/ and /h/ sounds)

There are some other examples also where the combination is same but
pronunciation is different in each case.

As:: We read.(ri:d)

We had read.(red)

Some more examples::

1. As use (/z/ instead of /s/ so uze)

2. As but (/ɘ/ instead of /ʊ/ so /bɘt/

3. As year (ear no /y/)

4. As guide (/gɘi:d/ no /u:/ or /ʊ/)

5. As up (/ʌp/ no /u:/ or /ʊ/ sounds)


hikingwithu2 said...

"If we want to learn Spoken English we should concentrate then on pronounciation" - pronounciation? What is that word?

Muhammad Shakir Aziz said...

Thanks for correction. At that time probably I though pronunciation is pronoun + ciation .

hikingwithu2 said...

Hi Muhammid,
In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a native English speaker. I'm from the west USA. I have a couple comments on what you have written in your essay -
#7 in the first section: borough = bir oh = ryhmes with firough, pronounced like "gir + oh"

Just a note don't use the IPA symbols, nobody other than linguists and language experts know those things.

read = reed/feed have the same sound, the "long e"
read (past tense) sounds the same as the color red

the word "use" can have two pronunciations, the "s" and the "z" sounds - "I want to use that shovel, it's use is more appropriate for this job." The first "use" is the "z" sound, the second "use" is the "s" sound.

the word "but" uses the schwa sound, think of the sound you might make if someone hit you in the stomach - uh! it's the sound of unstressed vowels, like the last "a" in camera (and also, do not pronounce the "e" syllable at all -> camra)
The word "up" has the same sound.

I don't understand what you are doing with the word "year" - you are indicating that you do not pronounce the letter "y"? So you pronounce it the same as "ear"? Really? What about "yellow" and "yesterday"? Do you say "ellow" and "esterday"? The "y" has to be pronounced.

I hope that helps you a bit,
have a good day

Muhammad Shakir Aziz said...

Thanks for your comment. Year is indeed not like ear native speech. This was a term paper when I was doing my graduation and I guess I was not uttering the word correctly.

Hidden Ideas said...

Shakir aziz where is your full paper of this essay.i need it to study for research purposes

Shakir said...

This material was mainly collected from introductory literature on English Linguistics and the internet. It was not research based and never was intended to be developed as one.