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  • Today we're going to take a look at why studying English pronunciation can be so hard.

  • Let's step through a series of words and see what happens to the sounds as we change some

  • of the letters. Through. Step through. That's a good place to start. Through, a preposition,

  • a handy little word, begins with the unvoiced TH. Th, the R consonant, thr-, and the oo

  • vowel. Through. Through. Now what would happen if we drop the R? Thoo, thoo, no, that's not

  • right. Through, drop the R, not thoo, but actually, though. So, the TH, th, th, is now

  • voiced. And the vowel sound has changed to the OH diphthong. Though. Ok. What would happen

  • if we add a T? Thowt. Thowt. No, that's not right. That word is pronounced 'thought'.

  • Ok, so we've switched back to an unvoiced TH, now we have the AW vowel, and a final

  • T. Thought. Thought. Ok.

  • So what would happen if we drop the TH and add a B? Thought becomes bought. And that

  • IS how that word is pronounced. Excellent! Bought. Now what would happen if we drop the final

  • T? Bought becomes bah. But it doesn't, it's not pronounced 'bah'. It's pronounced bough.

  • Ok, so the AW vowel changes to the 'ow' diphthong. Bough, bough. Ok. What would happen now if

  • we switched out the B for a C? Bough becomes cow. Yes! Cow is a word. But wait, that's

  • now how cow is spelled, this is how cow is spelled. So this, even though it was bough,

  • isn't cow, it's cough. Cough. So we have the AW vowel, and somehow, an F consonant has

  • crept in. Cough. Ok, cough. What would happen then if we drop the C, add an EN? Since it

  • was cough, surely this must be enough. No, that's not what it is. It's enough. So the

  • AW vowel changes to the UH vowel. But somehow that F sound stays in there. Enough, enough.

  • And I think that's about what I've had. I think I've had about enough of OUGH and its

  • thousands of pronunciations. That's it, I'm out.

Today we're going to take a look at why studying English pronunciation can be so hard.

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B1 vowel cough cow pronounced drop happen

Why English Pronunciation is so Hard

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    Zenn posted on 2013/04/02
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