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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sound-symbol correspondence

One of the frustrating things for anyone learning English is that the same letter (symbol) can be pronounced many different ways

Take the "t" sounds in this common prepositional phrase:
  • at the station

  1. The first "t" is silent. It's reduced by the "th".
  2. The second "t" is part of everyone's favorite interdental fricative "th." But this "th" doesn't sound like a "t" or an "h."
  3. The third "t" is the "normal" pronunciation.
  4. The fourth "t" is pronounced as an "sh."
Three words, four "t" sounds, all of them pronounced differently. What a great language!

Please use English well!