English Learning Notes


pronunciation (noun): the way in which we pronounce a word
pronounce (verb): to make the sound of a word

"Pronunciation" refers to the way in which we make the sound  of words.

To pronounce words, we push air from our lungs up through our throat   and  vocal   chords , through our mouth, past our tongue and out between our teeth and lips. (Sometimes air also travels through our nose.)

To change the sound that we are making, we mainly use the muscles of our mouth, tongue and lips to control the shape of our mouth and the flow of air. If we can control the shape of our mouth and the flow of air correctly, then our pronunciation is clearer and other people understand us more easily.

Speakers of different languages tend to develop different muscles of the mouth for pronunciation. When we speak a foreign language, our muscles may not be well developed for that language, and we will find pronunciation more difficult. By practising the foreign language pronunciation, our muscles develop and pronunciation improves.

As well as creating correct vowel and consonant sounds using the muscles of our mouth, tongue and lips, there are other important aspects of pronunciation, including:

  • word stress¬†- emphasis on certain syllables in a word
  • sentence stress¬†- emphasis on certain words in a sentence
  • linking ¬†- joining certain words together
  • intonation¬†- the rise and fall of our voice as we speak
Note the spelling of the verb pron ounce and the noun pron unciation (NOT pronounciation).

Pronunciation FAQ
Frequently asked questions and answers about pronunciation for English learners

How to Pronounce the
Normally, we pronounce the with a short sound (like "thuh"). But when the comes before a vowel sound, we pronounce it as a long "thee".

How to Pronounce -ed
The past simple tense and past participle of all regular verbs end in -ed.In addition, many adjectives are made from the past participle and so end in -ed.

Pronunciation Terms
A glossary of terms and expressions used when talking about pronunciation, with definitions and explanations

Human Speech System
The words we speak travel through air, carried by vibrations in the air. To create those air vibrations, we have an amazing speech system, which is much more than just our mouths.