Sound like a native speaker: Advanced Pronunciation


Hello, everyone. I'm Jade. We're talking about commonly mispronounced words today in this

pronounciation lesson. No, pronunciation lesson. So I'm going to mention words that people

say in the wrong way sometimes, maybe because they're not easy to read these words or maybe

because a lot of people say them wrong, therefore, you learnt to say them in a way that's wrong.

The first things we're going to look at are not words, they're letters. I'm telling you

this because I've mentioned this before in videos that sometimes in Britain, you're judged.

No, you're always judged by your language in Britain. So when you say these letters,

some people will listen to how you say those letters and they'll judge you if you say it

in the wrong way, and they're like: "Oh, you're not educated", or: "Oh, that's very common",

as in not being... Having the right parents and the right kind of background.

So, the first letter, a lot of people say: "haitch", with a "ha" sound, but according

to people who decide these things, you're not meant to say: "haitch", you're meant to

say without it: "aitch", according to them, so there you go. And what about this letter?

How do you say this letter? Do you say: "dubya"? Well, this one is meant to be: "double-u".

So we're going to cross those ones out.

Moving on, some of them are tricks because the verb for this is: "pronounced." We "pronounce"

words, but when we say the noun, it changes; it becomes: "pronunciation." And I've had

people say things to me in my videos before: "Oh, you're saying that word wrong." Well,

no, no, I know that I'm not. You're wrong. Okay? I know you're wrong. Trust me on that

one. So now you know. Okay? You can do that to other people when they tell you you're

wrong because it's like you've got... When someone does that, you can say: "You've got

egg on your face." Okay? "You're wrong because you tried to tell me I was wrong, but in fact,

you were wrong. Now you've got egg on your face." So anyway, "pronunciation."

This one, it's a hard word to spell. So I can hear creative... This is... Wouldn't be

a native speaker on this one. Creative interpretations of this word, let's say that, usually like:

"ton-gu" or something. Sounds like a game that you can play, but "ton-gu" is not right.

It's: "tongue", that's a bit weird, I'm not going to do that in my video.

Looking at this word now: "height". I think this one breaks our expectations, you could

say, because the other words related to it: "width", "length", have the "th" sound. "Width",

"length". This one, not spelt the same way, doesn't have the same sound. So it should

be: "height", "height", not: "heigth", a lot of people say: "heigth". Wrong. Right: "height"

with a "t". So it's the exception, it doesn't... Doesn't go with "width" or "length". Are there

any others? "Depth", "depth", oh, that's hard for me to say. "Depth", too hard for me to


Looking at the next word now, a non... A non-native mistake: "suit", "suit". Some people say:

"suite", "suite", all kinds of wrong pronunciations for that one. Thing to remember there is it's

the long "u" sound, "oo", "suit", "suit".

Then it seems like there are a lot of issues with the "p" words in pronunciation. These

words here, I'll talk about them together because it's the same issue. "Prescription",

"prerogative", they're spelt "pre", both of them, but the first syllable sounds like this...

Well, actually: "prescription", but a lot of people say it like this: "perscription".

And I think that happens because they're putting the stress in the different place. They're

putting the stress here and making that a schwa, "perscription". Okay? So a lot of people

say that. And a lot of people would say: "perogative", not necessarily because they don't know how

to spell the words, but because that to them is a schwa. But anyway, the stress is meant

to be on the second syllable in those words, so it should be like: "prescription" and "prerogative".

"Prescription" is when you... When you go to the doctor and need some medicine, the

doctor will give you a prescription and you can go and get your medicine. "Prerogative",

that's a difficult word, might not be something you know. It's sometimes used in a phrase:

"That's your prerogative", and it basically means: "That's your decision, you can decide

and do what you want." Quite a formal word. And it means something that is your decision

to make. Okay? You're allowed to make that decision, that's your prerogative.

The next one is a confusion between two almost identical words. The first one is: "prostate"

and the second one is: "prostrate". So the difference is the "r" here, but people confuse

these words a lot because "prostrate" is a formal word for... To lie down or to be lying

down, formal, whereas "prostate" is this sort of medical word for male balls, basically.

So some... Like a man can get prostate cancer, but many people say... Talk about prostrate

cancer, they put the "r" in there because they're confused. So, yeah, this one just

remember is associated with men and it's a medical word and there's no "r" so it should

be: "prostate" with no "r" sound.

What happens when you go to the coffee shop in an English speaking country? Do you ask

for an "espresso" or do you ask for an-I'm running out of space. Maybe I don't need to

write it-"expresso"? A lot of people do the pronunciation with "x", "expresso". "I want

an expresso." But it's more elegant to pronounce this word with an "s", "espresso", "espresso".

And looking at the last word in the list here: "business" is that word, but sometimes people

are confused by the "i" in there. And if you're the kind of person who pronounces words based

on just what you see, which would make sense, actually, I can see why you're doing that...

But it's not "business", sometimes hear: "business". "Let's get down to business." Doesn't sound

very good.

Here's a little list of the most commonly pronounced... Commonly mispronounced silent

letter words in English. So I get in situations sometimes with... Actually, I don't... I don't

correct people outside of lessons. If someone I know in my personal life has asked me to

correct them if they make a mistake, I will. But in general, I don't correct people because

it can be impolite.

So, so often even with like really, really, really advanced speakers of English who like

speak English all the time in their lives basically, because they've been speaking it

so long, they make mistakes with these words, like this one: "iron". We don't... We don't

say the "r". Well, how do I say that? We don't say the "r", it's just like that: "iron".

This one, if you're having a fight, not many people use these for a fight nowadays, but

it's a kind of weapon: "sword", silent "w". What about this one? When you buy something

in the shop, they give you a "receipt", no "p". Also, I should mention about this word,

that very often people confuse it with "recipe". "Recipe" is to do with cooking. That's meant

to be some... That's meant to be something you cook with and they don't know why.

That's the worst drawing in the world. Anyway, "recipe" is to do with cooking,

and "receipt" is to do with buying things.

And this word: "subtle", it means something that is difficult to notice a detail that,

you know, you may miss because it's difficult to notice. "Subtle", silent "b", not: "subtle"

or something like that.

Let's look at words that not... Are not mispronounced, they're just not words. So, we'll talk about

why. So we've got: "interpretate", similar to-oh, it's not going to fit there. Is it?-"interpretation",

"in-te-pre-ta-tion" or the verb is: "interpret", "in-ter-pret". So, I can see where that comes

from. It's not actually a word. A lot of people make that mistake.

What about: "unpossible"? When we make words to show the opposite, sometimes we use...

Sometimes we use: "un", sometimes we use: "dis", sometimes we use: "im". So that one's

just a case of people using the wrong prefix on the word. Should be: "impossible", "impossible".

Something is impossible, you can't do it.

And next example: "unhonest". Again, same kind of mistake. We don't say: "unhonest",

we actually use: "dis" in this case. Someone is a "dishonest" person, is a liar. Bad liar.

Dishonest person. Which brings me to the last one. A lot of people make mistake with this

because we... Maybe you don't... Yeah, we use the prefix: "im" with "p" words, so there's

another "im" example: "impolite".

Which brings me back to the fact of something I said earlier. I didn't want to be impolite

when I was talking about this word: "prostate", because it's a gland. Something up here in

a man and you can... You can get problems with it. So, yeah, that's why people make

mistakes sometimes. They say: "prostrate problems", not: "prostate", "prostate". Okay? So, commonly

mispronounced words, we've got more in a sec. Join me for the next commonly mispronounced words.

Let's have a look now at French words which have come into the English language, but because

of that, we pronounce... We pronounce them incorrectly much of the time because we don't

know how to say these French words with their different pronunciation. So, let's take a

look at this word. This word is: "quay" and this is a place where boats come. Boats come.

This is a boat, believe it or not, and this is the water. Boats come to the quay so that

they can stop and let off their cargo I guess. It's a little bit different to a port, but

anyway, "quay" with a "k" sound. When something has "qu", it can take the "k" sound. People

might not know how to say it when they first see that word.

Moving on, a lot of French words that are in English have something to do with authority,

power, military, and things like that and that's because... Well, I don't know why,

but this is... These mean... Lots of the words in English come from French are to do with

authority, military, and stuff like that. So, what about this word? This is a rank in

the military or the army: "colonel"? No, it's not: "colonel". It's "er", so even though

it's "olo" here, it becomes "er". "Kernel", "colonel". Sounds very different maybe to

what you expect it to be.

Moving on, this word gives me a little bit of pain when I see it because I remember when

I was at university, I was reading something out loud to the class and I could see this

word coming. I don't know if you're like me, if you're reading to people, you sort of see

what's coming. I see this word coming and I as like: "Oh, I'm not sure how to say it",

because I wasn't sure of two pronunciations. Is it: "marquis" or is it: "marquis"? And

I didn't want to read something wrong in front of my English literature class where we're...

Where we're all supposed to know how to read.

So, anyway, I decided that I would stop and just say: "Oh, I'm not sure if it's marquis

or marquis", just to cover each option. And this girl was like: "Haha, you don't know

how to say it", like saying as if I'm like the most stupid person in the class and it

was really mean, and it was really, really upsetting.

Anyway, later I went and checked it and found out that you can say it either way. Well,

no, I found out people do say it either way, but the French pronunciation is: "marquis",

whereas let's say according to the dictionary, the standard pronunciation of that in English

is: "markwis". So that's probably the kind of thing that will matter if you are in very

aristocratic circles. If you're not, you might not... It might not be a really awful thing

for you that you confuse the pronunciation of that.

Moving on: "viscount", and I should say this word as well: "marquis", they are titles that

aristocracy have. "Viscount" is somebody... Is a man who did something, I don't know what

they did especially, but we say: "vicount", even though it's "vis" here. So we don't say:

"viscount", that's wrong. It's "ai", "viscount".

Moving on, we have a different pronunciation for this word in American English and British

English. It makes sense in American English because I can read the word and say it correctly.

"Lieutenant", okay? American English. But in English English, we need to make it a little

bit more difficult, so we say: "leftenant". I don't know why it comes out so different,

but it's really confusing. If you want to pronounce it correctly, you can make a mistake


Another lot of French words that we have in English are to do with restaurants. That's

probably because we got a lot of our food culture from France. We didn't have our own

restaurant culture here and we adopted a lot of French cooking, methods and things like

that, so these words came into English from French. When you go to a restaurant and you

get these like little, little things to try at the beginning of your meal, they are called:

"hor d'oeuvres", singular: "hor d'oeuvre". Right. Doesn't sound anything like the way

it's written there. If you didn't... If you have seen that word before written down, you

could get it written wrong. You might say: "hors d'oeuvre". "Can I have some hors d'oeuvre,

please?" And that wouldn't sound like you knew what you were doing in the restaurant.

It should be: "hor d'oeuvre" or: "hor d'oeuvres".

And then lastly, let's look at the word: "queue". What do British people love to do? They love

to "queue", love standing in a line. Wherever we go, if I see some people queuing, I just

have a need to join them, to get behind them and just wait there a while, and see what

happens. Because it's a "qu" word, it can be hard to pronounce. So, again, the "qu"

words taking the "k" sound: "queue", and it's just one syllable: "queue".

Let's take a look at this sentence I've got here. There are some pronunciation errors

in here. Let's have a look. Let's correct it. So I'll say it in a wrong way, and then

we'll go through and we'll make some changes. "The unhonest viscount bought a sword but

didn't want a receipt." So how can we change that? Do you remember the word that's not

a word? It's not a word, but we can say: "dishonest". What was wrong with "viscount"? We actually

use a different vowel there, it's "i". What's wrong with this word: "sword?" Silent letter.

What's wrong with this word: "receipt"? Another silent letter. There you go.

Yeah, so there are the general words that we've covered today that I'll often hear people

mispronounce. If you want to follow-up on this lesson, please go to the engVid site,

do the quiz on this lesson. And before you go, subscribe here because you can see more

of my lessons, not just on pronunciation, but other things about learning English, English

words, all kinds of things

come back soon, but for now, I'm going to use my sword and have a fight with a viscount. Ha!