Accent's Way Magazine

#89

The 5 words you’re (probably) pronouncing wrong

My customer services team (i.e. me and myself) has received many complaints lately claiming one word per video is not enough.

Now, I love constructive criticism, this is why I immediately rushed straight to my new studio and made a video tutorial about FIVE of the most abused words in English. Pronunciation-wise, that is. And yes, ‘squirrel’ is one of them.

After this one, I’m pretty sure no one will ever complain again about one word videos.

Watch the 5 words you’re (probably) pronouncing wrong:

TRANSCRIPT

Hey guys, it’s Hadar and this is the Accent’s Way speaking to you from my very new work studio – AccentSpace! And if you want to find out more follow me on Instagram @hadar.accentsway.

Now, let’s quit all the chitter chatter and talk about the thing that you all came here for, which is the five words you’re probably pronouncing wrong.

Five words. Let’s get started.

Choir. Choir. If I were to read it phonetically I would probably say something like “shaw-yer”, but English is not a phonetic language, thank God, which means that the CH stands for a ‘k’ sound.
Untraditional spelling pattern, but it happens, ‘k’. And then the “O-I” actually represents ‘Y’. Why? I don’t know that’s just how it is: ‘kwai’ ‘kwai’. As in “quiet” – ‘kwai’. The ending is a ‘ye’ sound as in “yes”, a schwa “uh”, and an ‘R’ – ‘yur’ ‘yur’. Choir.

The next word is ‘croissant’. Oh, no. Wait. Sorry, that was French. Hadar, I told you not French! English! Okay.

The next word is “croissant”. “Croissant”. So yes, I know that for you French speaker is this word may sound like we just butchered it! And yes, that’s what happens when you take a word from French and you turn it into English. You have to turn the French sounds into American sounds.

So the French ‘R’ turns into ‘er’ and then the ‘T’ that is not existent in French will be pronounced in American English. So, you start with a ‘k’ sound, and ‘r’ – ‘kr’. Round your lips a little bit. And then a schwa: ‘kruh’ ‘kruh’ ‘kruh’.

The second syllable is an ‘S’ sound, the ‘ah’ as in “father” – ‘saw’ ‘saw’. As in “I saw you last night.” ‘Saw’. And then you end it with an ‘N’ and a ‘T’ – ‘sahnt’ ‘sahnt’. “Croissant” Croissant – the first syllable is really short and the second syllable is long. Croissant.

Some people may pronounce the first syllable with a ‘W’ instead of an ‘R’ and another ‘ah’ sound ‘qua’. Croissant. Croissant. I think it sounds more like French. Croissant. So you have ‘kruh-sahnt’ or ‘kwa-sant’. Both are okay. You can use both. Now go get yourself a piece of croissant.

Squirrel. Squirrel. One of the most difficult words in English and that’s because you have three consonants together – an ‘R’ and an ‘L’. It’s like almost impossible. And everything within the same syllable. Squirrel. But if you break it down it might get easier. So let’s begin with the middle of the word – ‘wer’ ‘wer’. Now practice just that. It’s just like the word “were” as in “we were”, or the
beginning of the word “work”. “W” – ‘wuh’. The tongue is down. The lips are rounded.

And then you bring the tongue up immediately with no break in the middle, ‘wer’, for the ‘R’ – ‘wer’ ‘wer’. Now practice that for a little bit: ‘wer’ ‘wer’ ‘wer’ ‘wer’ ‘wer’ ‘wer’ ‘wer’. Okay. So let’s put this on the shelf and then start with the beginning which is three consonants in a row. An ‘S’ which is produced in the front part of the mouth and then a ‘k’ sound in the back, ‘sk’, and then a ‘W’ sound. ‘Skwuh’. Which is the beginning of ‘wer’. ‘Skwuh’. ‘Skwuh’.

Now practice just that, ‘skwuh’. So now I’m adding the word that we just practiced a second ago, ‘skwer’. That’s the beginning of the word – ‘skwer’ ‘skwer’. The second part is an ‘R’ sound and a dark ‘L’ – ‘rul’ ‘rul’. So you round your lips for the ‘R’ and we can connect it to the previous ‘R’ – ‘skwer-rul’. For the ‘L’ you bring the tongue up, but you’re also engaging the muscles of the back of the tongue here, to create that dark deep sound of the dark L – ‘rul’. Imagine like you have an ‘aw’ sound between the ‘R’ and the ‘L’ – ‘rul’ ‘rul’. And then put it all together: squirrel. Squirrel.

Iron. Iron. Although the ‘R’ here is before the vowel that is not “eye-ron” but “eye-urn” as if “I earned it”. ‘I’ as in “my”. And then you have a little ‘ye’ sound and then ‘er’ ‘er’, as an “urn”, “earth” and “early”. ‘Eye-yurn’ – Iron. Iron. Now, it’s the same pronunciation for “iron”, “Iron man”, “Iron Maiden” and “iron throne”, but also for “I ironed my clothes yesterday.” Now that’s a lie because I never ironed my clothes. Iron.

Lincoln. The final word for today is “Lincoln” as in “Abraham Lincoln” or “Lincoln Center”. It is not ‘lin-koln’ or ‘lin-koh-len’. Alright there is no ‘L’ and not because it’s the dark ‘L’ you barely hear it. Just because there is no ‘L’. No ‘L’ whatsoever at the end “Lincoln”. You start with an ‘L’ – ‘lin’ – with a relaxed ‘ih’ sound and then it’s a ‘k’ sound, a schwa and an ‘N’ – ‘ken’. Lincoln. That’s it this was the five words you’re probably pronouncing wrong.

Was I right? Let me know in the comments below. Were you pronouncing them wrong? Now if you like this one, you may like the “50 most commonly mispronounced words” practice sheet I have on my website. So you can just click on the link below and get it. It’s really cute. It’s interactive. You click on the word and then you hear my voice. Technology. Amazing technology.

So go to my website and get it and please share it with your friends if you liked it and you feel that you want them to pronounce these words correctly. Thank you for watching. Have a great great week and I will see you next week in the next video.


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