Tips for International Speakers of English (2) 有关英语口语的几点建议(之二)

从英文字的拼写可以显示发音原理

英语的发音有很多不规则的地方和那么多的特例,说要从英文字的拼写来断定发音,似乎是可笑的。但是无论如何,英文字还是一种拼音文字,总会有一些对发音提供帮助规律。

 

以下就是以下提示:

1.      单词中最后一个字母是“e”的话,就要把它前面的元音发为长音,而不是短音。

比如:

mop (拖地、拖把)里的“o”是发短音的,就如“top”里的“o”一样;

但是

mope (忧郁不乐、闷闷不乐的人) 里的“o”是发长音的,就如“hope”里的“o”那样。

同样的:

kit (一套另加、一套工具)里的“i” 是发短音的,就如“sit”里的“i”一样;

但是

kite (风筝)里的“i” 是发长音的,就如“bite”里的“i”一样。

再举一个例子

fat (动物的脂肪、蔬菜的组织;胖)里的“a” 是发短音的;

但是

fate (命运)里的“a” 是发长音的,就如字母“A”的发音一样,也同“date”里的“a”一样。

 

2.      如果最后一个元音是短音的话,然而又要在单词后面要加一些字母的话,那最后的一个辅音就要双写。

举例:

mop 就要写成 mopping, 这样就保持了“o”所发的短音;如果写成moping,这就是由发长音的mope 改变而来,表示忧伤

tap 就要写成 tapping,这样就保持了“a”所发的短音;如果写成taping,这就是由发长音的tape 改变而来。

rid (除去、摆脱)就要写成 ridding, 这样就保持了“i”所发的短音;如果写成riding,这就是由发长音的ride 改变而来,表示乘坐

 

3.      单词中最后的一个“y”通常要在改变为“i”之后才在后面加后缀(或者变为复数),换言之,最后的一个“y”和单词中的“i”实际上发同一个音的。

举例:

“portray在改变词性的时候,“y”就变成“i”了,“portrait”

“happy在改变词性的时候,“y”就变成“i”了,“happiness”

“try在第三人称单数的时候,“y”就变成“i”了,“tries”

 虽然学英语的人常常觉得“英文字的拼写与发音实在是没有什么联系”,然而以上的一些提示可能对学英语的人在斟酌如何发音的时候可能还是会有一点用处。

一字二音

因为英语复杂的历史背景,和在美国不同地区的方言,有很多字就出现了两种不同的发音,两者都对。

下面就是一些例子:

either neither里的“ei”可以发为长“E”的音,就如“feet”里的“ee”一样;

either neither里的“ei”也可以发为长“I”的音,就如“tie”里的“ie”一样。

often 的发音就如“off - en”;

often 的发音也可以是“off - ten”

route 的发音与“boot”谐音;

route 的发音也可以与“out”谐音。

gala 里的第一个“a”是发短音“a”,如同“cat”里的“a”一样;

gala 里的第一个“a”也可以发长音“A”,如同“late”里的“a”一样。

apricot 里的“a”是发短音“a”,如同“at”里的“a”一样;

apricot 里的“a”也可以发长音“A”,如同“ate”里的“a”一样。

scenario里的“a”是发短音“a”,如同“cat”里的“a”一样;

scenario里的“a”也可以发短音“a”,如同“father”里的“a”一样。

date datum里的“a”是发短音“a”,如同“cat”里的“a”一样;

date datum里的“a” 也可以发长音“A”,如同“late”里的“a”一样。

consortium 的发音如同“consor – shee - um”

consortium 的发音也可以如同“consor – tee - um”

associate 的发音如同“asso – shee -ate”

associate 的发音也可以如同“asso – see - ate”


下面几个字,两种写法都对:

toward / towards;

afterword / afterwords;

backward / backwards;

upward / upwards;

downward / downwards.

你将会发现有很多字都是一字多音的,甚至有些英文字的发音是出自法语,比如:

envelope的发音就如“N - velope”

envelope的发音也可以是“AHN - volope”

en route 的发音就如“N - route”

en route的发音也可以是“AHN - route”

对于一字多音的字,该如何来决定怎样发音呢?这里有几个因素。在对话中,这就比较简单,尽量有礼貌就对了。与你对话的人怎样发音,你也就怎样发音 如果他(她)把“apricot”用短音来发“a”的话,你也如此行。如果你用长音“E”来说“either”,那也就用长音“E”来说“neither”;同样地,如果是用长音“I”来说“either”,那也就用长音“I”来说另外 一个。基本上来说,就是选用你觉得最舒服的那个发音来说,或者怎样说让整个句子听起来更美。在你所说的整篇报告、演讲和对话中,同一个字选择用同样的一个发音方式。

当你的英语听力不断地提高以后,你就会很自如地知道该选用怎么样的发音,就像一位以英语为母语的人一样了。


讨论问题:

1.      在这篇文章里你学到了什么新的东西没有?

2.      除了在这里上课以外,你是怎样来提高你的英语口语?

3.      你觉得在学英语方面,哪些是容易的,哪些是困难的?

SPELLING AS A GUIDE TO PRONUNCIATION 

With so many inconsistencies and exceptions to the rules, it may seem almost a joke to suggest that spelling can function as a guide to English pronunciation. However, the spelling of English words can sometimes provide helpful clues in regard to how they sound.

Here are a few such hints.

1. The function of a final ‘e’ in changing the preceding vowel from short to long—
For example:
mop (to wash a floor/a tool for washing floors) is pronounced with a short vowel ‘o’, as in ‘top’) 
becomes 
mope (to be unhappy or someone who is unhappy) is pronounced with a long vowel ‘o’—like the letter ‘O’ itself, as in ‘hope’)

Similarly:

kit (a set of parts or tools) is pronounced with a short vowel ‘i’, as in ‘sit’) 
becomes 
kite (a flying sail) is pronounced with a long vowel ‘i’—like the letter ‘I’ itself, as in ‘bite’)

and

fat (a component of animal or vegetable tissue, overweight) is pronounced with a short vowel ‘a’) 
becomes 
fate (a force believed to determine events) is pronounced with a long vowel ‘a’—like the letter ‘A’ itself, as in ‘date’)

2. Doubling the final consonant, when adding a suffix, preserves the preceding short vowel—
For instance:

mop becomes mopping to preserve the short vowel ‘o’; otherwise, the word would be moping (long ‘o’), meaning to be sad.

tap becomes tapping to preserve the short vowel ‘a’; otherwise, the word would be taping (long ‘a’), meaning to tape.

rid (to remove) becomes ridding to preserve the short vowel ‘i’; otherwise, the word would be riding (long ‘i’), meaning to ride.

3. The letter ‘y’ at the end of a word typically changes to ‘i’ when a suffix (or final ‘es’) is added—in other words, a final ‘y’ and a medial (middle) ‘i’ are virtually the same letter and are pronounced the same.

For example:
‘portray’ becomes ‘portrait’
‘happy’ becomes ‘happiness’
‘try’ becomes tries


THOUGH THE ENGLISH LEARNER WAS RIGHT ABOUT ENGLISH SPELLING BEING “QUITE SERIOUSLY UNRELATED TO PRONUNCIATION,” THE ABOVE MENTIONED HINTS CAN NEVERTHELESS BE USEFUL TO ENGLISH LEARNERS IN THEIR ATTEMPTS TO NEGOTIATE HOW TO PRONOUNCE ENGLISH WORDS.

DUAL PRONUNCIATION 

Due to the complex history of English, and the diversity of regional dialects in the U.S., many words have come to have two ways of being pronounced, both of which are correct. 

The following are some of them:

either / neither (long ‘E’ as in ‘feet’)
either / neither (long ‘I’ as in ‘tie’)

often (sounds like ‘off-en’)
often (sounds like ‘off-ten’)

roof (rhymes with ‘spoof’)
roof (rhymes with ‘buff’)

route (rhymes with ‘boot’)
route (rhymes with ‘out’)

gala (short ‘a’ as in ‘cat’)
gala (long ‘A’ as in ‘late’)

apricot (short ‘a’ as in ‘at’)
apricot (long ‘A’ as in ‘ate’)

scenario (short ‘a’ as in ‘cat’)
scenario (short ‘a’ as in ‘father’)

data / datum (short ‘a’ as in ‘cat’)
data / datum (long ‘A’ as in ‘late’)

consortium (sounds like ‘consor-shee-um’) 
consortium (sounds like ‘consor-tee-um’)

associate (sounds like ‘asso-shee-ate’)
associate (sounds like ‘asso-see-ate’)

toward / towards (both acceptable)
afterward / afterwards (both acceptable) 
backward / backwards (both acceptable)
upward / upwards (both acceptable)
downward / downwards (both acceptable)


You’ll find that with many words with dual pronunciation, one of them is French. For example:

envelope (sounds like ‘N-velope’)
envelope (sounds like ‘AHN-velope’)

en route (sounds like ‘N-route’)
en route (sounds like ‘AHN-route’)

Determining which of the dual pronunciations is the one to use depends on several factors. In conversation, it simplifies things, and is most courteous, to pronounce the word the same way as the person with whom you are speaking—if he or she says ‘apricot’ with a short ‘a’, just do the same. If you say ‘either’ with a long ‘E’, pronounce ‘neither’ with a long ‘E’ also; likewise if using a long ‘I’ for one, use a long ‘I’ for the other. In general, choose the pronunciation that is most comfortable for you, or which sounds best in the sentence. Pronounce the same word the same way throughout the same conversation, presentation or speech.


AS YOUR HEARING OF ENGLISH CONTINUES TO IMPROVE, YOU’LL CATCH THESE PRONUNCIATION CHOICES
AND BE ABLE TO USE THEM AS FLEXIBLY AS NATIVE SPEAKERS.


 Discussion Questions:

1. What is something new that you learned from this lesson?

2. Besides attending this class, what are you doing to improve your English?

3. What do you find easy or difficult in the study of the English language?


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