Search Results for: retroflex

“Princesses,” Reality TV and Disassociation

Much as I hate to admit it, I enjoy reality TV. (Although I can’t stomach the less savory Real Housewives offshoots). Many programs have a regional bent (“Divorcees of Des Moines!”), and I find them sociolinguistically fascinating for this reason. … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged | 17 Comments

Sean Connery’s /s/

Reader Jason Reid wrote me recently with a thoughtful question about a notorious celebrity quirk of pronunciation: Comedians often imitate Sean Connery by pronouncing /s/ like /?/ (as in she). Does Sean Connery really not make a distinction between those … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Marry, Merry, Mary

[Ed. Note: In an earlier version of this article, I suggested I pronounce ‘marry,’ ‘merry’ and ‘Mary’ differently.  The opposite is true.  I pronounce them alike.] Do you pronounce ‘marry,’ ‘merry,’ and ‘Mary’ the same?  I do, which makes me a … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged | 108 Comments

The Wild World of the English “R”

Compared to other languages, consonants in English don’t vary that much from dialect to dialect. Our vowels are all over the map, but our consonants don’t change much. For example, the English “m” hasn’t budged since the days of Old … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , | 25 Comments

IPA Consonant Symbols

This is quick reference for the Consonants of the International Phonetic Alphabet. (For a quick guide to IPA vowel symbols, go here. And for a more detailed tutorial of the International Phonetic Alphabet, go here.) The IPA features 58 standard … Continue reading



(NOTE: I am aiming for clarity here, rather than absolute exactitude.  That being said, if you see anything in error, please feel free to contact me! ) A Accent:  Generally speaking, the way that somebody from a particular place or … Continue reading