11 English Words With Perplexing Pronunciation

Language is a quaint affair; how you say a word depends on your region and accent. English, in particular, can confuse both native and non-native speakers alike when it comes to the pronunciation of certain words. An online community shares eleven English words with pronunciations that leave them perplexed.

1. Colonel

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The word is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese term “coronel.” When one person inquires, wondering why it’s written with an “l” instead of an “r,” a user jokingly responds, “Because of a little thing called freedom, bub. That’s how we do it here in the US of A.”

2. Queue

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When one member wonders, “Why did they add the extra four letters?” someone replies, “They’re just waiting their turn.” Bad puns aside, the complex spellings of an otherwise simple word leave many scratching their heads. Folks share their preferred spelling from “Qwayway” to “Cue-you.”

3. Tough

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As a native English speaker with a non-native English-speaking spouse, one member finds the word “tough” quite tough. You can just keep adding letters to it and get completely different sounds: though, through, thorough. Not to mention that tough is “tuff” but is “tho.” The same goes for cough, rough, dough, and plough. Similar spellings, yet different sounds!

4. Leicester

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This word, along with its other mate, Gloucester, is a mind-bending ordeal. As one commenter highlights, the confusion occurs since the terms look like they end in “-cester” rather than ending in “-ster.” Hence, many speakers separate the syllables wrongly, saying “Lei-cester” instead of “Leice-ster.”

5. Lancaster

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Who can explain why Lancaster, California, is pronounced completely differently from Lancaster, Pennsylvania? “I… can’t think of any other way to possibly pronounce this word,” says one person helplessly. A second member shares that while the Californian one sounds like “Lan-CAST-er,” the Pennsylvanian one is pronounced “Lanka-Stir.”

6. Subtle

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This word is subtly pronounced since the letter “b” is silent. Who knows why a particular sound is omitted in one word but not another? Subtle, along with doubt and debt, leaves many confused as to why the “b” is sitting there quietly before the “t.”

7. Women

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With a clear “woo” sound in “woman,” one wonders where the first “i” sound even comes from in “women.” Another member thinks that it depends on one’s accent; where they are from, it’s usually pronounced as “wimmin.”

8. Epitome

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Chances are that most folks come across this word when reading rather than speaking or listening. A user shares how they’d always read it as epi-tome but hear the word as “epitomy.” They didn’t even realize they were the same word until they got a British boyfriend to figure that out. “It’s the epi-tome of hyper-bole!”

9. Worcestershire

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This sauce is the hardest to buy because you’ll never know how to say it at the counter. Some users share their variants: “worst-er” and “wuss-ter-sheer.” A British member is amused whenever any non-Brit pronounces this word. “Though probably no more entertaining than me trying to pronounce any word in any other language.”

10. Bologna

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Don’t let the letters fool you; this mind-boggling word can be pronounced in odd fashions. From “bow-log-na” to “bah-low-knee,” it seems no one will ever know what it really sounds like. However, if your pronunciation lands your favorite lunch meat on your plate, how you say it doesn’t matter.

11. Anxiety

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Trying to pronounce this word may provoke anxiety, giving one a feeling of unease or worry, accompanied by physical symptoms like sweating and biting nails. At least, that’s what happened to me when my sixth-grade teacher asked me to come up to the front of the class and read a few pages to my bored-looking students. I don’t recall the book, but I remember pages were loaded with “anxiety” and “anxiety-ridden,” I didn’t get it right until high school with “ang-za-i-tee.”

Source: Reddit.

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This article was initially published and syndicated by The Cents of Money.

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