Q&A: how do you native speakers learn a new pronunciation for a word?
Question by Soong Bae: how do you native speakers learn a new pronunciation for a word?
as a non-native speaker, I learn the pronunciation for a new word using IPA(international phonetic alphabet).
what system do the native speakers use to acquire the pronunciations for for long, scientific, specialized terms
Answer by Erin
I can only speak for myself, but if I’ve heard a word spoken before and not seen it written, I generally connect the verbal/written word once I see it in print. Same goes for the opposite…if I’ve read a word but not heard it spoken. I sound it out the way I think it might be based on typical pronunciation and my brain kind of searches for a word that’s familiar.
If I have never heard the word spoken before and need an immediate answer, I look it up in an online dictionary. Any type of dictionary will have a pronunciation guide next to the word, in brackets or parentheses, that shows the word spelled phonetically, broken into syllables, and shows what syllables are stressed. For example, if you look up “photography” on dictionary.com, you’ll see it listed like this: pho⋅tog⋅ra⋅phy, with the option to view the IPA version /fəˈtɒgrəfi/ or the spelled pronunciation version [fuh-tog-ruh-fee].
I would say with quite a bit of certainty that a majority of native English speaking Americans would generally prefer the spelled pronunciation (phonetic) version rather than the IPA version, as many people wouldn’t even know how to read the IPA version, or what sounds some of the symbols represent. It always seemed to me that most English language learners have a better command for the English language than many native English speakers do (at least in America) because they tend to adhere more closely to language, grammar, and pronunciation rules and are more conscious of how they speak..And this is coming from a native American English speaker
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