Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 18, and today we’re going to talk about spelling versus pronunciation.
Hey everyone, what is up? What’s up? How are you? How are you doing? How’s it going? What’s going on? Have you been all good? What have you been up to? I could have continued for another half an hour or so, asking you ‘how are you’ in different ways.
The funny thing is that there’s so many ways to ask a person how they are doing, but usually no one expects a real answer. Because no one is really expecting you to say the truth, right. “Hey, what’s up?” “Actually, not so good. I got dumped yesterday and my heart is broken”. No one is expecting to hear that. And they probably would know what to do with it.
Although, if you are the type of person who is all about telling everything that is going on with you, when you’re asked, “What’s up?”, more power to you. And you know why? Because it’s an excellent opportunity to practice your English. Just don’t expect them to ask it again next time they see you.
So there are all these bunch of questions that people use to ask how are you doing when they meet a person. But the answer is usually pretty much the same: “Good”, “All good”, “I’m fine, great”, “I’m good. How are you? And how are you doing?” Yeah.
So, actually this introduction has nothing to do with today’s episode. Because today we’re going to talk about spelling versus pronunciation, and in particular when these two clash and create confusion.
Today’s episode is going to deal with words that have the same pronunciation but different spelling like “see” and “sea”. “See, I told you, we are driving by the sea”. Or “flour” and “flower”. “You have to put flour in your cake” and “Here’s a flower that I picked for you”.
A lot of times people tell me, “No, these two words are pronounced differently”. And I’m like, “No, they’re not. It’s the same word” “No, it’s different. One is with a W and one doesn’t have a W” “No, it’s pronounced the same – “flower” and “flour” /flɑʊər/”. “No, but there are different beca..” “No”.
“see” and “sea” are the same. “right” and “write” are the same. “flour” and “flower” are the same. Same pronunciation – different words, different spelling.
Now, for each one of those words, I’m also going to talk about the pronunciation, the accurate pronunciation.
So if you know that these two words are pronounced the same, then you can work on polishing your pronunciation. That’s always a lot of fun. So let’s listen to the audio of the first part of this video lesson of spelling versus pronunciation.
Hey, it’s it Hadar. Welcome to my channel. Today we are going to tackle confusions around ‘spelling versus pronunciation’. Sometimes you may look at a word and it looks exactly like another word that is spelled the same, but they sound completely different to you.
Or sometimes you see two words that are completely different, yet they sound exactly the same. And then you think to yourself, “How is that even possible?” Well, it’s possible. Because you know why? It’s English, and anything happens in English, especially when it’s related to spelling and pronunciation.
So, English is not a phonetic language, therefore the spelling does not represent the pronunciation of a sound or a word. So what we’re gonna do today is we’re going to tackle the places where it clashes in your brain, like where you get confused. And that happens usually either when it comes to homophones or heterographs.
And that is when words are spelled differently, but pronounced the same: like “flower” versus “flour”. And in the next lesson, because it’s the two-part video series, we’re going to talk about homographs. That means the words are spelled the same but pronounced differently. Like “tear” [tee-r] versus “tear” [teh-r]. Right?
So, what’s going to happen is that we’re going to cover a bunch of pairs that are very commonly used, and we want to make sure that we clear all confusion around them. So let’s begin with part one words that are spelled differently but pronounced the same.
The first one is “flower | flour”. Both are pronounced exactly the same. ‘fla-w’r’. You move from the W to the R – ‘w’r’. ‘fla-w’r’. It’s both for “Oh, what a beautiful flower”, or “This cake doesn’t have any flour in it”. “flower | flour”.
Then we have “hear | here”. It’s an H sound, then a high E – ‘hee’ and then you shift to the R – ‘hee-r’. Make sure that E is long enough, ‘hee-r’. It’s both for “I can hear you pretty well” and “I’m right here”. “hear | here”.
Then we have “son | sun”. It’s an S sound, a cup – uh, uh, it’s like a stressed schwa – and an N sound: ‘suh-n’. Make sure you lift the tip of the tongue to touch the upper palate for the N: ‘suh-n’, ‘suh-n’. And it’s both for “The sun in the sky”, or “My son doesn’t like to wake up in the morning”.
Next up, “there | their | they’re”. These three words are homophones, pronounced exactly the same. A TH sound – /th/, then an /e/, so drop your jaw a little bit – ‘the’. And then, at the end, you bring the tongue up for the R – ‘ther’, ‘ther’. All three words are pronounced the same. “It’s over there”. “It’s their house”. “They’re pretty satisfied about it”, “they’re pretty satisfied about it”: ‘ther’ – “they are”. “They’re pretty satisfied about it”.
This is a contraction, and by the way, I have a full video about contractions that you can watch. I’m going to put a link in the show notes for it. “there | their | they’re”.
“write”, and “right”. I actually get a lot of questions about this pair, and people ask me how to pronounce the “write”, right? “I need to write a book”, in comparison to “My right arm”, “right”. So, here they’re pronounced exactly the same. It’s an R sound, you don’t really hear the W when it’s before an R, it doesn’t really exist: ‘rait’. So round your lips for the R, change it to an ‘ai’ as in “my” – ‘rai’, and bring the tongue up for a T sound at the end – ‘rait’.
You can release the T – ‘rai-t’, very lightly, or hold it – ‘rait’, for a held T. Just stop the breath abruptly or stop the sound – ‘rait’, and that’s the T, ‘rait’. “I need to write a book” or “write an article”, and “It’s on your right”.
“road” versus “rode”. As you can see, they’re pronounced the same, another R word: round your lips, then it’s the O as in “go” – ‘rowd’, and finish it up with a D. “I’m on the road” and “I rode my bike yesterday”. ‘rowd’.
Then we have this one: “horse | hoarse”. So here we start with an H sound, then the ‘or’ as in “for” – ‘hors’. Make sure you pronounce the H, ‘hors’. I’m sure you know the meaning of the first one – “horse”, like “I rode my horse yesterday in the farm”. So I don’t just ride my bike, I also ride horses – “horse”.
The other one means that I strained my voice. My voice gets all raspy and tired. Uh, it’s when you have a cold and your voice gets hoarse. “hoarse”. Okay. “So I spoke all day yesterday in a meeting, and now my voice is hoarse”. They’re pronounced exactly the same. It’s kind of funny.
“sole | soul”. “I’m the sole owner of the company” – “sole”. Or “You have a beautiful soul” – “soul”. Here we start with an S sound, then it’s the O as in “go” – ‘sow’, an a dark L at the end – ‘sowl’, L. So you have that back dark deep voice quality, sound quality to it. ‘sowl’.
The next one: “war | wore”. These two words are also pronounced the same: ‘wor’. Here you start with a W sound, then again, we have the ‘or’ as in “for” – ‘wor’. Make sure you drop the tongue after the W, so it doesn’t sound like ‘wer’, ‘wer’, right. ‘wor’, ‘wor’.
So the first meaning is war as in “Make love, not war”. And the second one is the past form of the word “wear”, the verb, “wear”, to wear something. So, “I wore this sweater last night as well”, or “I wore it out completely”. ‘wor’.
“see | sea”. “I see the sea”. “see” as in the verb, and “sea” is where you go to get in the water. ‘see’: it’s an S sound and high E, make sure it’s long. So it’s not ‘see’, ‘see’ [short] – ‘see’, ‘see’ [long].
And the last one for today is “two”, “too” and “to”. So we have the number – two – “I need two people to help me”. ‘tuw’: it’s a T sound, then the long ‘u’ sound, and you want to imagine as if you’re adding a W at the end. ‘tuw’.
Also, the word “too”, as in “as well”. “I need two people, too”. ‘tuw’ – pronounced exactly the same. Then we have “to” as in “to go”. But you already know because you’ve been following my videos that the word “to” is usually it reduced to ‘tuh’, ‘tuh’, “to go”.
However, when it’s at the end of the word or when the word is stressed, it is pronounced like the number two – ‘tuw’. “I don’t know where I need to go to” – ‘tuw’, ‘tuw’, right? “I don’t know where I need to go to”. If the “to” is at the end, it is not going to be reduced. Listen: “I don’t know where I need to go to”.
I mean… no. Okay. So you want to pronounce it fully like the number two. That’s when it’s a homophone. That’s when it’s pronounced the same, but other than that, it can be dropped to ‘tuh’, and then it doesn’t sound the same. Okay.
Okay. That’s it. Now, let me know what other homophones are you familiar with? Again, homophones are words that are written differently or spelled differently, but pronounced exactly the same. Put them in the comments below, and let’s all practice together and see if you’ve got them right.
Don’t forget to tune in next week because next week I’m going to talk about words that are spelled the same, but pronounced differently. And this might be even more challenging because you might not even know that they’re pronounced differently. So we want to tackle that confusion as well.
So make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel or to my newsletter to get this lesson into your inbox, and other fun stuff every single week.
So, that’s it. So I’m waiting to hear from you in the comments, and like this video and share it if you liked it. And I will see you in the second part next week. Bye.