Have you ever wanted to use the word ‘epitome’ but was not sure how to pronounce it? Of course there are other ways to talk about a perfect example of something, but why avoid a word that you know? So next time you want to talk about a song that is the epitome of Rock and Roll, or about someone who is the epitome of inner beauty, remember that it’s pronounced uh-pi-duh-mee, or in IPA – [əˈpɪɾəmi]
As you can see, there are four syllables in ‘epitome’, and the primary stress is on the second one.
The first syllable is just one vowel – and a very unique and frequent vowel in English: the schwa sound*.
The second syllable is a shift from the P sound to the short, lax i sound, as in the word ‘ship’. When you pronounce this vowel, it’s important to distinguish between it and the longer, tense ee sound, as in the word ‘sheep’.
The third syllable is a T sound that transitions into a schwa sound. It’s not a full O sound as it might appear from the spelling (it’s an unstressed syllable). What’s interesting about this syllable is that since it’s unstressed, and the T is between two vowels, that T sound can actually change into a flap T sound, which sounds more like a light D sound: uh-pi-duh-mee [IPA: əˈpɪɾəmi].
The fourth syllable is a shift from the M sound to a tense ee sound (as in ‘sheep’). But since it’s in an unstressed syllable, that tense ee sound is not as long as in ‘sheep’.
Watch my tutorial on the pronunciation of ‘epitome’ and practice with me:
Make your own sentence with ‘epitome’ and share it in the comments. Don’t forget to practice saying it out loud!
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