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Mergers in English pronunciation

1
When we pronounce two distinct sounds in the same way so that the listener can not tell them apart, this is called a merger. We look at pairs of words which should sound different but often sound the same. Listen to the words pairs an then dictate each word pair to your teacher or partner and ask them to check your pronunciation by writing each word.

How can we identify our merger problems

Read the short passage that contains all the basic sounds of English. This will help the teacher to identify some problems. Sound Check
Note: We can't say that you definitely have a merger problem from one short reading, because there are many reasons for mispronouncing words.
Reasons:
  1. I simply don't know the word and how it should be pronounced.
  2. I learnt the word years ago and can't get out of a bad habit of mispronouncing it.
  3. I have a problem making the sounds needed in the word.
  4. Two sound come together in an awkward way for me.
  5. Interference from your own language.

Common Mergers

Here are a few of the most common merger problems in English We are gradually moving each of these into it's own page in this chapter of our book on the subject of pronunciation mergers.

  1. Ship / sheep

    FISH -i- soundTREE -ee- sound -i- sound FISH sound TREE -ee- sound
  2. cart/cut

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  3. cut/curt

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  4. cart/caught

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  5. caught/cot (Clock or Horse)

    Cat soundEgg sound Cat sound Egg sound
  6. caught/coat

    Egg soundFish sound egg sound fish sound
  7. word / ward

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  8. coat/cot , won't want , goat got ..

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  9. coat/coot

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  10. bark/bike

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  11. bay/bear

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  12. bay/boy tail/toil

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  13. tout/tart

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  14. right/light ,pilot pirate (right/WITCH) , Grow Glow

    right soundwitch sound right sound witch sound
  15. Bet pet

    BAG consonant soundPARROT sound BAG soundwitch sound
  16. worse/verse

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  17. Show or so? Pressures or 'precious'?

    Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  18. Please police (-Z -S problems)

    Which sound is not like all the others? (the odd one out) Egg sound Fish sound egg sound fish sound
  19. Mine or nine? (Monkey Nose)

    monkey soundnose sound monkey sound nose sound
  20. Horse or Bird

    soundsoundsoundsound
  21. Crumple crumble

    1. Crumple the paper and crumble the biscuit.

Dictation

3

Sometimes the problem is in knowing how the word should be pronounced. Listen to these sentences and write the sentences that you hear.
Note of the vowel sounds used in words such as where CHAIR and were BIRD

  1. We .... ?
  2. Were .... ?
  3. Where .... ?
  4. Where were ... ?
  5. What were .... ?




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