Pronunciation Guide for English Dictionary

Pronunciation Guide for English Dictionary

This guide will help you to understand and use the pronunciation symbols found in this dictionary.

The British pronunciations given are those of younger speakers of General British. This includes RP (Received Pronunciation) and a range of similar accents which are not strongly regional. The American pronunciations chosen are also as far as possible the most general (not associated with any particular region). In dictionary entries, the British pronunciation is given first.

Consonants

p pen /pen/
b bad /bæd/
t tea /tiː/
d did /dɪd/
k cat /kæt/
ɡ get /ɡet/
chain /tʃeɪn/
jam /dʒæm/
f fall /fɔːl/
v van /væn/
θ thin /θɪn/
ð this /ðɪs/
s see /siː/
z zoo /zuː/
ʃ shoe /ʃuː/
ʒ vision /ˈvɪʒn/
h hat /hæt/
m man /mæn/
n now /naʊ/
ŋ sing /sɪŋ/
l leg /leɡ/
r red /red/
j yes /jes/
w wet /wet/

The symbol (r) indicates that British pronunciation will have /r/ only if a vowel sound follows directly at the beginning of the next word, as in far away; otherwise the /r/ is omitted. For American English, all the /r/ sounds should be pronounced.

/x/ represents a fricative sound as in /lɒx/ for Scottish loch, Irish lough.

Vowels and diphthongs

see /siː/
i happy /ˈhæpi/
ɪ sit /sɪt/
e ten /ten/
æ cat /kæt/
ɑː father /ˈfɑːðə(r)/
ɒ got /ɡɒt/ (British English)
ɔː saw /sɔː/
ʊ put /pʊt/
u actual /ˈæktʃuəl/
too /tuː/
ʌ cup /kʌp/
ɜː fur /fɜː(r)/
ə about /əˈbaʊt/
say /seɪ/
əʊ go /ɡəʊ/ (British English)
go /ɡoʊ/ (American English)
my /maɪ/
ɔɪ boy /bɔɪ/
now /naʊ/
ɪə near /nɪə(r)/ (British English)
hair /heə(r)/ (British English)
ʊə pure /pjʊə(r)/ (British English)
Many British speakers use /ɔː/ instead of the diphthong /ʊə/, especially in common words, so that surebecomes /ʃɔː(r)/, etc. The sound /ɒ/ does not occur in American English, and words which have this vowel in British pronunciation will instead have /ɑː/ or /ɔː/ in American English. For instance, got is /ɡɒt/ in British English, but /ɡɑːt / in American English, while dog is British /dɒɡ/, American /dɑːɡ/. The three diphthongs /ɪə eə ʊə/ are found only in British English. In corresponding places, American English has a simple vowel followed by /r/, so near is /nɪr/, hair is / her/, and pure is /pjʊr/.

Nasalized vowels, marked with //, may be retained in certain words taken from French, as in penchant /ˈpɒ̃ʃɒ̃/ and coq au vin / ˌkɒk əʊ ˈvæ̃/.

Syllabic consonants

The sounds /l/ and /n/ can often be “syllabic” – that is, they can form a syllable by themselves without a vowel. There is a syllabic / l/ in the usual pronunciation of middle / ˈmɪdl/, and a syllabic /n/ in sudden /ˈsʌdn/.

Weak vowels /i/ and /u/

The sounds represented by // and / ɪ/ must always be made different, as in heat /hiːt/ compared with hit /hɪt/. The symbol /i/ represents a vowel that can be sounded as either // or /ɪ/, or as a sound which is a compromise between them. In a word such as happy /ˈhæpi/, younger speakers use a quality more like //, but short in duration. When /i/ is followed by /ə/ the sequence can also be pronounced / /. So the worddubious can be /ˈdjuːbiəs / or /ˈdjuːbjəs/. In the same way, the two vowels represented // and /ʊ/ must be kept distinct but /u/ represents a weak vowel that varies between them. If /u/ is followed directly by a consonant sound, it can also be pronounced as /ə/. So stimulate can be /ˈstɪmjuleɪt/ or /ˈstɪmjəleɪt/.

Weak forms and strong forms

Certain very common words, for example at, for, and can, have two pronunciations. We give the usual (weak) pronunciation first. The second pronunciation (strong) must be used if the word is stressed, and also generally when the word is at the end of a sentence. For example:

  • Can /kən/ you help?
  • I’ll help if I can /kæn/.

Tapping of / t /

In American English, if a /t/ sound is between two vowels, and the second vowel is not stressed, the /t / can be pronounced very quickly, and made voiced so that it is like a brief /d/ or the r-sound of certain languages. Technically, the sound is a “tap”, and can be symbolised by //. So Americans can pronouncepotato as /pəˈteɪt̬oʊ/, tapping the second /t/ in the word (but not the first, because of the stress). British speakers don’t generally do this.

The conditions for tapping also arise very frequently when words are put together, as in not only, what I, etc. In this case it doesn’t matter whether the following vowel is stressed or not, and even British speakers can use taps in this situation, though they sound rather casual.

The glottal stop

In both British and American varieties of English, a /t/ which comes at the end of a word or syllable can often be pronounced as a glottal stop /ʔ/ (a silent gap produced by holding one’s breath briefly) instead of a /t/. For this to happen, the next sound must not be a vowel or a syllabic /l/.

So football can be /ˈfʊʔbɔːl/ instead of /ˈfʊtbɔːl/, and button can be /ˈbʌʔn/ instead of /ˈbʌtn/.

But a glottal stop would not be used for the /t/ sounds in bottle or better because of the sounds which come afterwards.

Which is your level of English?

livelli-di-inglese

A – Base

A1 – (Breakthrough)
Comprende e usa espressioni di uso quotidiano e frasi basilari tese a soddisfare bisogni di tipo concreto. Sa presentare se stesso/a e gli altri ed è in grado di fare domande e rispondere su particolari personali come dove abita, le persone che conosce e le cose che possiede. Interagisce in modo semplice, purché l’altra persona parli lentamente e chiaramente e sia disposta a collaborare.

A2 – (Waystage)
Comprende frasi ed espressioni usate frequentemente relative ad ambiti di immediata rilevanza (es. informazioni personali e familiari di base, fare la spesa, la geografia locale, l’occupazione). Comunica in attività semplici e di abitudine che richiedono un semplice scambio di informazioni su argomenti familiari e comuni. Sa descrivere in termini semplici aspetti della sua vita, dell’ambiente circostante; sa esprimere bisogni immediati.

B – Autonomia

B1 – (Threshold )
Comprende i punti chiave di argomenti familiari che riguardano la scuola, il tempo libero ecc. Sa muoversi con disinvoltura in situazioni che possono verificarsi mentre viaggia nel paese di cui parla la lingua. È in grado di produrre un testo semplice relativo ad argomenti che siano familiari o di interesse personale. È in grado di esprimere esperienze ed avvenimenti, sogni, speranze e ambizioni e di spiegare brevemente le ragioni delle sue opinioni e dei suoi progetti.

B2 – (Vantage)
Comprende le idee principali di testi complessi su argomenti sia concreti che astratti, comprese le discussioni tecniche sul suo campo di specializzazione. È in grado di interagire con una certa scioltezza e spontaneità che rendono possibile una interazione naturale con i parlanti nativi senza sforzo per l’interlocutore. Sa produrre un testo chiaro e dettagliato su un’ampia gamma di argomenti e spiegare un punto di vista su un argomento fornendo i pro e i contro delle varie opzioni.

C – Padronanza

C1 – (Effective Operational Proficiency)
Comprende un’ampia gamma di testi complessi e lunghi e ne sa riconoscere il significato implicito. Si esprime con scioltezza e naturalezza. Usa la lingua in modo flessibile ed efficace per scopi sociali, professionali ed accademici. Riesce a produrre testi chiari, ben costruiti, dettagliati su argomenti complessi, mostrando un sicuro controllo della struttura testuale, dei connettori e degli elementi di coesione.

C2 – (Mastery)
Comprende con facilità praticamente tutto ciò che sente e legge. Sa riassumere informazioni provenienti da diverse fonti sia parlate che scritte, ristrutturando gli argomenti in una presentazione coerente. Sa esprimersi spontaneamente, in modo molto scorrevole e preciso, individuando le più sottili sfumature di significato in situazioni complesse.

Integrating video content in the EFL classroom with International Express – Part 1

Oxford University Press

Learning onlineEFL teacher, teacher trainer and Principal of St. Giles International, Keith Harding has authored and co-authored several courses published by Oxford University Press. To mark the release of stunning new video material for International Express, Keith Harding and Rachel Appleby have prepared a series of four articles to be used alongside units within the course. Today, Keith shares some ideas and video resources for Elementary Unit 6 – Santiago, Chile, focusing on comparative and superlative adjectives.

The introduction of video as a learning medium in the classroom needn’t mean passive learning, or a risk of students ‘switching off’ from being engaged. The key to maximising learning potential, as with any listening or reading text, is to prepare and predict.

Before watching:

Here are some ideas for preparatory work, before watching the video:

  1. Countries and cities
  • Show the picture of Santiago from the video as a still image.
  • Where is…

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WHAT ENGLISH DO YOU KNOW?

There have been English words used commonly in Italian for ages, but recently it has really picked up, to the point that some call it ANGLITALIANO.  The Italian answer to Spanglish or Chinglish.

How many English words exist in Anglitaliano?  Who knows?  But I listed those I could think of, and did about 5 minutes of googlage to see what I could put together.  Have a look.

ACCOUNT

ASSIST 

AUDIENCE 

BACKGROUND 

BAND  

BABYSITTER 

DOGSITTER 

BLACKOUT 

BASKET 

BOSS 

BREAK

BREAKFAST 

BUDGET 

BUSINESS 

CARTOON 

CASUAL 

CHECK IN

CHECK OUT

CLUB 

COLLEGE 

COMMERCIAL 

COMPILATION 

COMPUTER 

CONVENTION 

CORPORATION 

COUNTER 

CRACK 

DEFAULT

DESIGN

DESIGNER 

DESSERT 

DETECTIVE 

DIRECTOR 

DOPING 

DRIVER 

ESCALATION

ESTABLISHMENT

EVERGREEN

EXPORT

FAIR PLAY

FALLOUT

FAN

FANTASY

FAST FOOD

FEELING

FILM

FISCAL DRAG

FITNESS

FLASH

FOLK

FOLK MUSIC

FICTION 

FREE LANCE

FREEZER

FULL TIME

GADGET

GAME

GANG

GATEWAY

GAY

 GREMLIN

GULP

HANDICAP

GUARDRAIL

HAPPENING

HARDCORE

HARDWARE

HELP

HD

HOTEL

HOT DOG

HI FI 

HIGH SOCIETY

HIGH   TECH

HIT PARADE 

HOBBY 

HOLDING 

HORROR

IMPEACHMENT

IMPORT

INPUT

JOLLY

KILLER

LEADER

LEADERSHIP

LEASING

LOOK

LOVE STORY

MADE IN ITALY

MAGIC MOMENT 

MANAGEMENT

MANAGER

MASS MEDIA

MATCH

MEETING

MELTING POT

MERCHANDISING

MYSTERY 

MOVIE

NETWORK

NOMINATION

NON-STOP

OFF

ON

OPTIONAL

OUTDOOR

PANEL

PARTNER

PART TIME

PASSWORD

PAUSE

PERFORMANCE

PERSONAL COMPUTER

PLATFORM

POLE POSITION

PLAY

PLAYBACK

PLAYBOY

PLAYOFF

POLICEMAN

POOL

PRODUCT MANAGER

PUBLIC RELATIONS

PUNCH

PUSHER

PUZZLE

RACKET

RACING TEAM

RECORD

REFRAIN

RELAX

REVIVAL

RING

ROYALTIES

SCOOP

SEASON

SET

SHAKER

SHOCK

SHOPPING

SHORT

SHOW

SHOWMAN

SHOWDOWN

SIT IN

SKETCH

SKI – LIFT

SOCCER

SOFTWARE

SPARRING PARTNER

SPECIMEN

SPLASH

SPLASHDOWN

SPONSOR

SPOT

STAGE

STANDARD

STAR

STAR SYSTEM

STOCK  

STOP

STOPOVER

STRESS

STRIPTEASE

SUMMIT

TASK FORCE

TEAM

TEAMWORK

TEENAGER

TERMINAL

TEST

TICKET

TIMER

TOAST

TOP

TOPLESS

TOP MANAGER

TOP SECRET

TOP TEN

TOUR

TOUR OPERATOR

TRADING

TRAINING

TREATMENT

TREND

THRILL

THRILLER

THRILLING

TRIP

TRUST

TURNOVER

UNDERSTATMENT

UPPERCUT

VAMP

VIDEOCLIP

VIP

WALKIE TALKIE

WEEKEND

WELFARE

WELFARE STATE

WHITE COLLAR

YACHT

ZOOM

COMPUTER

INTERNET

SPORT

The following found on a blog

The words in CAPS are English words that would be commonly understood by many Italians that don’t think they speak a word of English!

OKAY, this WEEKEND I used my COMPUTER and MODEM to go ONLINE to TEST my WEBCAM and EMAIL on the INTERNET with my new ROUTER.  The SERVERSOFTWARE asked for a PASSWORD, then made me DOWNLOAD a FILE.  Perhaps I lack the KNOW-HOW.

Later, I listened to an ALBUM with MUSIC by a BOY BAND, then a CD with BLUES,HIP HOP, GRIND, CORE, some POP STAR, JAZZ and a HIT by a ROCK BAND, but there was a BLACK OUT. WOW!

So I took off my BLUE JEANS and wore a SMOKING. I looked COOL, so went to aSINGLES BAR in a HOTEL that was full of SEXY women and had a COCKTAIL with theMANAGER who called me MISTER. She was BEAUTIFUL, with great MAKEUP and anEXTRA-LARGE T-SHIRT.   She was truly a BEAUTY with a great NEW LOOK.  I saw myEX with her BOYFRIEND who clearly found a BABYSITTER that night..  They deserve their PRIVACY, so I said BYE BYE and went to a PARTY.  Sadly, everyone was aSNOB. I began to feel the STRESS. I had a DRINK, then left for a CLUB to see a BANDI am a FAN of that plays DARK music.  The PERFORMANCE was SOLD OUT.. everyTICKET!

Fortunately, I had a VOUCHER, so the STAFF let me in. OH YEAH! After the SHOW, there was a SUPER DEEJAY that had clearly been DOPING, and is probably onWELFARE.

Later I was hungry, so I got on my SCOOTER and went to a PUB, but I couldn’t decide between a HOT DOG, SANDWICH or a HAMBURGER, so ended up having aSNACK of  CRACKERSwhile watching some SPORT on the TV, followed by a TALK SHOW, a FILM, and a REALITY SHOW.

The following day, I went to the gym to do some SPINNING, JOGGING (or FOOTING) and BODY BUILDING before playing some TENNIS. Later, I took a car with lots of SEX APPEAL and a bigSTICKER for a TEST DRIVE, but it broke down at the STOP, and smelled of GAS. Maybe it was all the SMOG?  So I had to take it to the GARAGE.  Finally, after a little SHOPPING, I had a PICNICfor lunch with my BUSINESS PARTNER who shared some GOSSIP and NEWS about a friend with a HANDICAP that became a KILLER by giving someone’s PACEMAKER a SHOCK.  I thought about it and simply replied: NO COMMENT. It’s not a SCOOP, and has nothing to do with our PARTNERSHIP.  All I wanted was a BRIEFING and possible BRAINSTORMING about a new LOCATION for our BOOK SHOP, as well as our BUDGET and new SLOGAN. You know, a MARKETING MEETING.

That night I went to a BED AND BREAKFAST that was really nothing more than aLOFT with a BIG OPEN SPACE, instead of a RESORT.  After all, that is the latestTREND.  I read a FICTION, and went to sleep. GOOD NIGHT!

Is it always preferable to employ only native English speaking teachers?

Oxford University Press

Is it always preferable to employ native English speaking teachers? Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos

There are widely-held perceptions that numerous language schools refuse to hire non-Native English Speaker Teachers (nNESTs). In this guest article, teacher, teacher trainer, and founder of TEFL Equity Advocates, Marek Kiczkowiak, shares his thoughts on how this can have negative effects on students and teachers alike, and looks at an alternative, more egalitarian hiring model, that emphasises qualifications and experience, regardless of their mother tongue.

Dear Student,

I would like to tell you a few things about your English teachers which you might not have been aware of. As a teacher, I really care about your language progress and I would like you to understand what characteristics make certain teachers unforgettable, so that you can make an informed choice and pick the best language school.

It is very common for language schools to advertise only for and hire exclusively native speakers (NSs). I am sure that…

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