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Pneumonia, gnome, tsunami, etc. Learn how to say 10 words that begin with silent letters, as well as some pronunciation rules. Yes, there are some rules here!
I focus on British pronunciation, but sometimes give the American pronunciation as well.
For more English lessons, visit my channel, English with Max. All of the videos are free. These include free English vocabulary videos, English grammar videos, English pronunciation videos, English tips, and various other English lessons. This channel aims at helping people learn and improve their English - whether they have been learning English for a while or have recently started.
I am a native speaker from Australia. I mainly speak British English.
If you've read all of the above, write "I lick donuts before I buy them" in the comments.
Have you done any other videos about words that begin with a silent letter (or a letter that is sometimes silent)?
The first that comes to mind is (O)possum, but also (K)nowledge, (H)our, (H)onour, (P)terodactyl, as well as these: (P)sychiatrist, (P)neumonia, (P)neumatic, (P)sychotherapy, (P)sychotic, (P)sychologist, (P)seudonym (some of which you have mentioned).
I enjoy your videos, and this one did not disappoint.
Yes, "Tsar", in US English, is definitely pronounced without the "T" (silent) and with the "R": "Zar" (like "Bar") as opposed to "Za" ("Zah").
It's funny (to me), that for all the other words that you mentioned a different pronunciation between UK and US, I could barely, if at all sense any difference in your pronunciations. You spoke the UK pronunciations of those words the same as I would (here in the US), and your US pronunciations of those words sounded (mostly) identical, or with an ever so slightly subtle difference that for me was too subtle to be considered a different pronunciation.
Thank you :).
I probably should have said the words slower, because there is a definite difference, and that's also reflected in the phonetic transcriptions. These websites are also pretty good for hearing the different pronunciations:
But they only give "standard pronunciation", which is what I try to do in my videos. It's possible that some Americans' pronunciation is closer to the British and vice versa ;).
Hi Thomas, I don't explain every word in my pronunciation videos because my viewers have different levels and different native languages. Plus, using a dictionary is an important part of independent learning!
I'm just plain old American. I did have a friend who was Filipino, who I helped study to become a Montessori teacher a few years ago. Her proficiency in English wasn't the best so I learned a bit of Tagalog to help covey the purpose of the course studies. =)
My native language is English. So, I guess that would make my presence here a "remedial" one. I do know a bit of Spanish, but just a limited number of words. I also know a bit of Tagalog as well. It's the sentence structure of foreign languages that confuses me the most. The proper placement of nouns, verbs, subjects and the like has always eluded me. I do enjoy your videos though. For those learning English, I'm certain they are quite beneficial. Keep up the good work! =)
There are LOADS in French! But French spelling is still more regular than English spelling, so if you know all the rules, you'll most likely be able to pronounce a French word correctly just by looking at it.
German and Spanish are very phonetic. The only letter you don't pronounce in Spanish is the H (except if it's after C).
What's your native language if you don't mind me asking?
The reason "tsar" is spelled that was is because in Russian, you spell (and pronounce it) ts-a-r (there's a letter for ts).
You sometimes see it as "czar", I was told to thank the Polish for that spelling. And, fun fact, that is more closely related to the original word that "tsar" came from, "caesar". Maybe that's why we say "zar"?
I wouldn't say the W is silent. It's just that there are two different ways of pronouncing OW ;). In "know" it's like in the word "snow", and in "now" it's like in "cow".
But yes, "know" is pronounced the same way as "no".
To sum up I pronounce 5 words correctly and the rest incorrectly. I didn't expect to see a Russian word here xD Actually we say that word quite seldom. Anyway thx Max for a very useful lesson =) As always I'm grateful to you for your labour ^_^ Have a nice day Max)
whassup Max, thank u for the video, you always do a great job on it. I would like to ask you for more phrasal verbs videos, I think that's the most difficult for everyone, mainly phrasal verbs with "set". thank you again, huge hug from Brazil.
Since the first time I heard those words; to my ears I heard GErIT ..GOrIT instead of geddit or goddit.. I am so curious to know..is FLAP T really pronounced /d/or /r/?
(I really upset when my friend said that I pronounced those words incorrectly and insisted that the words are read as they written.. No /r/or /d/ flap T) so just : geT it..
And also this sound (flap T) is very similar to the Russian R. But it's definitely not the English R. I hear this sound everywhere, especially in the words like 'get it', 'got it', gotta, 'put in', 'put on' ...
Yes Max..I realized that..I studied and learnt about it and still couldn't get satisfying answer for myself. When I practice to pronounce those words myself slowly I can say as you mentioned here but when I say them fast my tongue can't help to utter slightly /r/ of the flapped T..
Hello Max..thank you for the lesson..so helpful for me.
Could you please help me to make a video for pronouncing ’’flapped T’’ especially on these words.(in BrE or AmE pronunciation.)
Get it, Got it, Shut up, At all, About it , Put it , Put it up.
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