PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

/’i:ŋ.glɪʃ fə lʌnʧ/ How do we say that again? Get familiar with the phonemic chart!

Students normally get quite confused about how to pronounce words in English and (to be honest) English spelling doesn’t often help us much. That is why we need some extra help…

Are you familiar with the phonemic chart?

As different languages may pronounce letters in different ways, linguists developed a way for us to overcome this problem. So, in the phonemic chart, each symbol represents one exclusive sound! While ‘a’ is pronounced in different ways in the following words: about, car, make and cat, the phonemic chart helps us to identify which exactly is the sound that speakers usually produce when they say these words (/əˈbaʊt/, /kɑː/, /meɪk/ and /kæt/).

So, in English, there are two important things students need to learn: how to spell a word and how to pronounce it! 

Any good dictionary (Cambridge dictionary, for example) will give you the pronunciation of a word you look for written in the phonemic alphabet

Are you ready for a challenge now? I will give you some words that are spelled in similar ways, but pronounced differently. Can you find them in a good dictionary and with the help of this interactive phonemic chart figure out how to pronounce them? Interactive phonemic chart:

Here they are: 
weight --- height
good --- food --- blood
through --- thought --- though --- thorough --- tough
ear --- bear --- heard
Celts --- ceiling
happy --- honest
chair --- chemist --- chef

Have fun and let us know what you found out tomorrow at English for Lunch (yes! Wednesday this week!)
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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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