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1 Introduction

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1 Introduction


Understanding the way words in English are pronounced is complicated, because these words are not usually pronounced as you would expect, or as they would be in other languages.

Many languages use the same alphabet as English, with its 26 letters, containing 5 vowels and 21 consonants, but English uses these letters in a way that is different from most other languages.

Let me give you an example:

The latter A in Spanish has one sound, which sounds like the U in CUP in English, and everyone knows how to pronounce it, because it only corresponds to one sound.

In English, we can have FACE, FAT, FAR, FALL, MILKMAN, and in each of these words, the letter A has a different sound, and there is no accent to show how the A should be pronounced.

This is true for all the other vowels, and we will be looking at these in the following sections.

Another problem that is common in English is that often some letters combine to create a sound that is unexpected.

Let me give you an example:

The word station, you would think, would be pronounced


- STA (as in cat) TI ( as in tip) and ON (as in dog)

but that is not the case. The T and I combine to sound like SH as in ship, and the combination TION sounds like SHUN, so we get


There are no easy rules that can be used to make all this easier, so we will be looking at each part in detail to see how best to use this material correctly.

Another problem we will come across is the vowel sounds interchange, so the word FEW uses the vowel sound of U, or the word FALL uses the vowel sound of O. We will look at this in a bit mor detail in other sections.

There are two ways to look at what is happening, the simple way and the more detailed and more complicated way.

In the beginners section we will look at the simple way, which means studying how individual letters and groups of letters are pronounced, without worrying too much about the rules.

The advanced section looks at the rules and explains the subject in a more detailed manner.

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