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32 English Words Mostly Mispronounced by Foreigners (1)

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Jakub Marian, a writer of a book about English Pronunciation has listed some of the most commonly mispronounced words (mostly by foreigners).

MThai English sees it’s good to know. Let’s learn together.

#1 Height /haɪt/ (haayt) ; the pronunciation is as if it were written “hight”.

The “e” is there just to confuse foreigners.

Strawberries are seen for sale at $6.50 a box during an outdoor market May 28, 2015, in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Strawberries are seen for sale at $6.50 a box during an outdoor market May 28, 2015, in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

#2 Fruit /fruːt/ (froot) ; the same situation as in the previous word; simply ignore the “i”.

#3 Subtle /ˈsʌtl/ (sʌ-tl) ; “btle” simply doesn’t sound good.

Just don’t pronounce the “b”. A synonym: Slight

Young people standing against each other
Young people standing against each other

#4 Queue /kjuː/ (kyoo) ; if you want to pronounce this word correctly, just think about the Q at the beginning; “ueue” is not pronounced at all.

Leoncito National Park, San Juan Province, Argentina
Leoncito National Park, San Juan Province, Argentina

#5 Draught /drɑːft/ (draaft) ; this is just the British spelling of “draft”, and is also pronounced the same.

Pouring a beer at the Wellington Hotel, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Pouring a beer at the Wellington Hotel, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

It is not spelled this way in all of the meanings of “draft”; for example when it is a verb (i.e. when someone drafts something), it is spelled “draft” in British English as well.

A synonym: vessel, also draught beer.

Chinese boy climbing all over house
Chinese boy climbing all over house

#6 Chaos /ˈkeɪɒs/ (kei-oss) ; the pronunciation of this word is actually quite regular, but people tend to pronounce it as the same word in their own language, which usually differs from its English pronunciation.

Synonyms: disorder, lawlessness

#7 Albeit /ˌɔːlˈbiːɪt/ (aw’l-bee-it) ; this fairly formal word, meaning “although”, is not used much in speech, but is still quite common in literature. Once you remember that it is actually a composition of three words “all be it”, you will no longer have any problem with its correct pronunciation.

Synonyms: although,even though

#8 Mishap /ˈmɪshæp/ (mis-hæp) ; the word is mis-hap, meaning mis-happiness, i.e. misfortune or bad luck.

#9 Recipe /ˈrɛsəpi/ (res-ə-pee); “cipe” in this case doesn’t rhyme with “ripe”; it consists of two separate syllables.

#11 Lettuce /ˈlɛtɪs/ (let-iss) ; remember that lettuce doesn’t grow on a spruce; and it also doesn’t rhyme with it.

#12 Womb /wuːm/ (woom), tomb /tuːm/ (toom); people tend to pronounce “o” as in “lot”. Think about “tomb” as about “to”+”mb”. “Mb” may sound nice in Swahili, but not so much in English, so the “b” is silent. The same applies to the other words in which “mb” is a part of the same syllable, such as numb /nʌm/.

#13 Caveat /ˈkæviæt/ (kæ-vee-æt) (UK), /ˈkɑviˌɑt/ (kaa-vee-aat) (US); meaning “a warning”, it is not so common in speech, but still appears in literature or official documents. Just remember that you can’t eat a caveat.

Synonyms: alarm, caution

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 12: Col. Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 12: Col. Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

‘Colonel Sanders’

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10: Colonel Meow attends the Celebrity Internet Cat Super Group Holiday Event at Capitol Records Tower on December 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 10: Colonel Meow attends the Celebrity Internet Cat Super Group Holiday Event at Capitol Records Tower on December 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

‘Colonel Meaw’

#14 Colonel /ˈkɜːnəl/ (kə-ə-nl) (UK), /ˈkɜrnl/ (kər-nl) (US); is there a kernel inside a colonel? Well, at least in pronunciation, there is.

#15 Comfortable /ˈkʌmfətəbl/ (kʌm-fə-tə-bl) (UK), in US also /ˈkʌmftəbəl/ (kʌmf-tə-bl); if you “come for a table” to a furniture shop, it will hopefully be comfortable, although it doesn’t rhyme with it.

#16 Lieutenant /lefˈtenənt/ (lef-ten-ənt) (UK), /luˈtɛnənt/ (loo-ten-ənt) (US); the American pronunciation poses no problem here; just notice the British one.

32 English Words Mostly Mispronounced by Foreigners (2) will be available tomorrow.

 

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