Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Pelican

From Pronunciation Coach: ESL pronunciation for learners of American English. Get tips and advice, or submit questions to help you learn to pronounce English better.

There is a small group of words, such as “business” and “different”, that have a missing vowel in the middle. The word “business” looks like it has 3 syllables, but when spoken, the “I” in the middle gets skipped, the "U" in the first syllable is replaced with "I" and it is pronounced with just 2 syllables: "bisness"- not "busness". (I added some stuff here because I am justifying using "business" as a two-syllable word.)

In all of these words, the 2nd vowel is skipped, or at least minimized: aspirin, average, business, camera, chocolate, conference, corporal, desperate, different, evening (from “eve”, but from not “even”), every, general, family, favorite, federal, finally, history, interest, margarine, memory, mineral, opera, separate, several, generally, interesting, miserable, operator, vegetable, laboratory.

Is it necessary to skip syllables?
YES, only for “business” “Wednesday” “evening” & “vegetable”. These words sound strange without a skipped syllable.

NO, not necessarily, for the other words. Even though native speakers tend to skip a syllable, these words can be said without skipping a syllable. If you say all of the syllables, it makes them sound less smooth, but you would still be understood. However, you should be aware of them, to help you listen and understand English more easily.

I add: "Wednesday" is especially strange, pronounced by dropping the "d" as well as the second "e" - "Wensday". May I opine that English is a real pain?

The Pelican

I will stand my post
in fog and light, munching on
the fishy story
you have told my mates.

There are brittle bones in there
by the fifty-nines;
not thousands-I don't
exaggerate, conflate or lie.

I have my eye well
peeled and still twinkling
all yellow and bright birdlike,
my feathers all fluffed,
my oil glands seeping.

It's none of your business but
I've stuff coming up.

‎November ‎12, ‎2015 6:43 PM


  1. I love the closing! It's none of your business but I'm a gunna tell you anyway!

  2. I knew a woman who pronounced Wednesday exactly as written: wed nes day. Drove me crazy.

    and when you change the pronounciation of Evening to 'even-ing" it becomes a totally different word as in "evening out the sides so they match" sort of thing....

    Pronounciation skips the 'ou' sound implicit in the spelling, becoming "pronunciation'. =)


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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