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Southern English Pronunciation


Pronunciation includes the following aspects of language:

Vowels
Consonants
Stress

(*) indicates that this pattern is also found in African American English pronunciation

Vowels

Description Example
*short e before n or m sounds like short i pen sounds the same as pin
*long e before l sounds like short i feel sounds the same as fill
*long i shortens to an ah sound wide is pronounced like wad. "widened"
*oy sounds like ah oil is pronounced like all or oll
ire sounds like ar fire is pronounced like far

Reading: Referring to the second example above, an Southern English speaker who reads aloud the word feel to sound like fill is using his or her way of pronunciation, and understands the difference between the words feel and fill, even though he or she pronounces them the same. Compare this to words like their and there. Though they sound the same, we understand the difference both in the written word and in appropriate context.

Consonants

*In the words isn’t and wasn’t, a d sound may be pronounced where other speakers would pronounce an s sound. So isn’t may be pronounced idn’t and wasn’t may be pronounced wadn’t.

Stress

*Southern English moves the emphasis, or stress, of certain words from the second syllable to the first syllable.

Example
ho-tel
um-brella
po-lice

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