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English Speech Pronunciation: How to Say Words Ending in Y, LY, Ful

Published August 24, 2020 by Dr. Antonia Lawrence Johnson and Clear Talk Mastery, Inc.

English Speech Pronunciation- How to Say Words Ending in Y, Ly, and FUL- Inherited from German

Have you ever wondered why when you add a suffix, that little syllable  at the end of word, sometimes the word syllable accent stress stays on the same syllable as the root word?  BUT you notice that  sometimes the word syllable accent stress changes to a different syllable.    How’s a person supposed to know where to put the word syllable accent stress when adding a suffix at the end of the word?

Fact is—to be good at English speech pronunciation, you have got to emphasize with your voice  the accented syllable.

Has this ever happened to you?   You say a word, pronouncing every consonant and vowel accurately.  Then the listener says, “What?”.  You say it again with perfect consonants and vowels?  Again, “What?!”  By this time the listener is frustrated. You are frustrated.  Then the listener  says, I  know. I  know.  You mean this word.  And the listener pronounces the word. BUT the listener emphasizes a syllable by going up in pitch on that syllable, the “stressed” or “emphasized” or “accented” syllable.

Both of you are now happy!. And the listener says, “You put the accent on the wrong syllable.  That’s why I could not understand the word.”

To repeat, because it is soooo important– to be good at English speech pronunciation, you have got to emphasize with your voice  the accented syllable.

Let us start with easy.  With some multiple syllable words which have the suffix “y”, “ly” and “ful”,  the emphasized syllable is the “root word” or “root”  or “stem”. 

That rule came about in German because of wanting to direct the listener to the most important part of the word.

Yay, speakers of English can thank the German language for this!

Recall that English is heavily built from  German, French and Latin languages.

Now here is your new learning.  If you see a word ending in “y, “ “ly,”  or “ful”,  pronounce the word with the emphasis or  word syllable accent or “accent” on the root.

You remember this for your Clear Talk Mastery instruction—when you emphasize a syllable in a multiple syllable word,  go up in “pitch” on that syllable and the vowel sound in that syllable.

You probably know this also:   There are languages which do not emphasize  a syllable in multiple syllable words.

You probably know this also:  Many other languages use the technique of always emphasizing a syllable in a multiple syllable word.  However, their speaking technique is to go a little  louder only on that emphasized syllable.

But the technique in English is to emphasize a syllable by going up in pitch for that syllable.

What is pitch?  That is measured in hertz, hz.  Not decibels dB which is the measurement for volume or loudness.  Keys on a piano  from left-hand to right-hand go from low pitch to high pitch.  Do re mi fa so la ti do— Maybe you sang those 8 notes in a musical octave when  you were learning in school to sing.

Do you remember learning a song that went like this “Do/Doe, a deer a female deer. Ra/ ray a drop of golden sun. Me  a name I call myself. Fa/Fa(r) a long long way to run. So/Sew a needle pulling thread. La/Lah a note that follows so/sew. Ti/tea a drink with jam and bread. That will bring us back to  So/Sew, So/Sew , So..

This is a very famous song in North American, melody and lyrics,  the words, composed or written by  Rogers and Hammerstein for a  musical show on  the famous Broadway in New York City and the famous movie The Sound of Music.

If you play a musical instrument, if you sing, you know about pitch.

The untrained human being voice when it goes up in pitch, will also go a little louder in volume.  But importantly, singers learn to change their pitch in singing and not go up in loudness unless that is what they want.   

Children and adults  who are native-born North American speakers of English learn to do pretty much the same.  They learn to go high enough “up” in pitch for accented syllables, so that listeners can hear or notice the emphasized syllable.

Let’s circle back to multiple syllable words that end in “y”, “ly,” and “ful”.

You probably already know the general rule.  If you have a two syllable word, put the accent on the root word, not the suffix.  That’s easy!

But for 3-syllable or 4-syllable etc. words which end in “y”, “ly” and “ful”, which syllable to you emphasize? That is the question.

Here’s the answer.  Do yourself a favor, and memorize this:  Put the word syllable stress on the “root”  or “root syllable/word”.

Practice these using speaking aloud and not just reading with your eyes—

BAKE, BAK-er, BAK-er-y

FAC-tor, FAC-tor-y

FLAT-ter, FLAT-ter-y


SLIP- per, SLIP- per-y

BUB-ble, BUB-bly





PRAC-ti-cal, PRAC-ti-cal-ly

PUR-pose, PUR-pose-ly

FRIGHT, FRIGHT-ful  ___ FRIGHT-ful- ly

PUR-pose, PUR-pose-ful       ___ PUR-pose-ful-ly

WASTE, WASTE-ful __  WASTE-ful-ly

WON-der, WON-der-ful  __ WON-der-ful-ly

Frblg_20160437 copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc

English Speaking Training: Why Some English Words Have Strange Spelling –Etymological Spelling

Blog # 179 for Wed. Aug. 12, 2020  English Speaking Training: Why Some English Words Have Strange Spelling –Etymological Spelling 

Did you ever wonder why some words in English have such strange spelling?  The strange spelling gets in the way of accurate English pronunciation.  For most English words, maybe up to 70 to 75%, you can use the rules of pronunciation for the 14 vowel sounds and 26 consonants.  However, you must have noticed that some words have letters that you do not pronounce or series of letters that have a different pronunciation.  There are lots of reasons for this strange spelling in these words, but borrowing from another language’s spelling is a major reason.

Throughout history, it has been popular to borrow language and culture from other admired countries.  In Renaissance times, it became popular to borrow Latin spellings for otherwise perfectly typical words.  For example, the word debt used to be spelled dette, but the “b” was added to match the Latin word debitum.

Another example is the word doubt.  Doubt was borrowed from the French douter but was given new spelling based on the Latin dubitare.

This manner of spelling words is called Etymological Spelling.  This system of spelling relies on traditional spelling rules and not on typical English pronunciation rules or changes in pronunciation.  Other words etymologically spelled are indict(Latin indictare),  receipt (Latin recepta)  subtle (Latin subtilis).

Add this phenomenon: when the spelling was changed, sometimes the pronunciation was changed.  Enter the “th” sound.  For instance, throne used to be pronounced and spelled  trone…  until the Latin spelling was reintroduced with an “h” after the “t”, and the pronunciation changed.  But, the word “thyme” was respelled with an “h” but kept its original pronunciation.

Bankrupt got its “p” from the Latin  rupta.  Baptism used to be bapteme from French, but an “s” was added to match the Latin baptismus.

The difficult thing about Etymological Spelling is that it makes pronunciation difficult.  However,  for written English, it has the advantage of similar spelling of the root word for many words. It also enables our subconscious to focus on and intuitively understand the  meanings of many related words. Put another way, our mind recognizes patterns of word meaning  based on etymological spelling.

Nice! Now you understand more about the “th” and why some letters like “b,” “p,” “t,”  and “s” have come into the spelling of particular English words. 

For more, see www.aloveofwords.com/209/09/02/renaissance-spelling by Maggie

Frblg4­_01102014  copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc

Accent Reduction – Why Does English have 2 or 3 Words for the Same Thing

Blog published 08062020 | By Dr. Antonia Johnson

Accent Reduction – Why Does English have 2 or 3 Words for the Same Thing

Have you ever wondered why English often has two or three words for the same thing?.  These different words allow us to express ideas with different degrees of formality.  For example “help” is an English root, “aid” comes from French, “assist” is from Latin.

How did English come to have these different words?  That’s the topic.

You already know this adage or advice: If you understand why, you will understand how. Thus, I think if you understand why English has different words and where they came from, you will understand better how to choose which word to use.  More about that later.  But first, where did these different words come from?

Over centuries English has been constructed with words from other lands and people.  English started out as a kind of German.  Importantly, when the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (and also Frisians) brought Germanic speech to English speech, the island England was already inhabited by people who spoke Celtic languages. Today Celtic languages are represented by Welsh and Irish, and Breton which is across the Channel in France.

In the 9th century invaders of the England island were speaking another Germanic offshoot, Old Norse.  Instead of the invaders imposing their language, they married local women and switched to English.  However, they were adults, who often don’t pick up new languages easily. That is especially true when there are no schools and no media, and you re in an oral society. So, they spoke a modified or changed Old English.  Their children heard as much of the modified English as “Old English” and the English language changed accordingly.

After the Norse came the French.  The Normans, who were descended from the Vikings, conquered England and ruled for several centuries.  That meant English picked up 10,000 new words.

Then starting in the 16th century, there came to be a good number of  educated people who spoke English while living in a country with more than one language. These people, called Anglophones, began to develop English as a vehicle for complex and sophisticated writing.  Notably,at that time, it became popular to pick words from Latin to give the language more prestige and  to make it more high class.

At this time English acquired such words as crucified, fundamental, definition, and conclusion.

And from this time, English had thousands of new words competing with native English words for the same things.  As mentioned in the beginning of this article, one result was multiple words which allowed people to express ideas with different degrees of formality. 

In like manner are ‘triplets (3), “kingly” is English, “royal” is French, “regal” is Latin.

Then there are doublets (2) such as “begin” is English, “commence” is French.

“Want” is English, “desire” is French.

This double vocabulary is especially common for culinary/food vocabulary.

For example, we kill a “cow” or a “pig” (English).  From that we cook “beef” or “pork” (French).

Why the two words for food?  The answer lies in the division of labor in Norman England.   That is, English-speaking laborers did the slaughtering or killing for the wealthier French speakers.

Thus, the different ways of referring to meat depended on one’s place in the society or broad community.   These distinctions come to us in the English vocabulary today.

And  an important last comment.  Latin came to be designated by scientists, people of medicine, and the law to be the basis for each profession’s or discipline’s new vocabulary.  Thus the new terms or word were made from Latin words or syllables for prefixes, suffixes and root words. 

Let us circle back to you, speaking and writing English.  You get to choose which of several words to use.  You might choose on the basis of formality, for example, conversation with friend vs. presentation. Thus you would choose “help,” or “aid,” or  “assist”  In a similar manner, professions such as sciences likely choose “adjacent” instead of “next to”.  In “adjacent,” the Latin prefix, suffix and root are found in many of the words of their discipline.  Native-born English speakers and nonnative-born speakers  learn the patterns as they learn the vocabulary of their professions.  Research articles and conferences are often conducted in English to the international community.

-frpub042016_159   copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc

Feeling Stuck? Is your English pronunciation accuracy the same as 1 year ago? 2? 3? 5? 11? 17?

Blog  #177 for Sat. Aug. 01, 2020

Feeling Stuck? 

Sooo, think about it?  Is your English pronunciation accuracy the same as  1 year ago, or 2, or 3 or? ??

Think back to the last time you took a class to improve your English speech pronunciation.

Are you the same now?

The same can be good!   Actually the same says that you did the work to get long term muscle  and brain memory.

But maybe your pronunciation and using clear talking techniques has slid backwards, and  it is not as good.

Or maybe you are still bothered or annoyed by some speech sounds which are still not accurate American English.

Of all the things you can do to make those sounds accurate, what should you concentrate on?

The answer is muscles and coordination of muscles. Notably, of greatest importance for pesky speech sound errors is coordination of the mouth muscles  and   neurological activation at the vocal folds in your throat and muscles attached to the vocal folds and action of the lungs.

It’s the coordination that is the critical key.

The scientific term is “coordinative structures.”

For example,  perhaps  people have trouble hearing and understanding your “v” pronunciation – especially at the ends of words or in the middle of multiple syllable words.  There are a couple of likely reasons for that.

Most likely is that you are not making a loud enough voice from your vocal folds in your throat at the same time you are pushing air out through your mouth in a ‘friction” manner. And you’ve got to have the right position of muscles.  Most accurate  for the mouth would be  while are making a loud voice  you put  your top teeth to  rest gently on your lower lip.

Ah… written English communication may be great. But  for speech, seeing and hearing all this coordination in  a  video demonstration  is even better.  So if you are interested go to YouTube.com/ClearTalk Mastery and search for our video speech tutorial for “v”.

Now do you understand? You’ve got to get the coordination exactly right.

If you are interested in one more example, then read this: The same thing is true for the “n” sound.  Do people who communicate with you have trouble like this: Listeners are not sure whether you said “thirty”  or” thirteen.” or “fifty” or “fifteen”?  The road to success  lies in making the “y” written letter pronounced as the English long  vowel ‘e” sound (like in “see”). Make that vowel sound  slow and loud enough  for the listener to hear easily. 

AND the secret lies in making the “n” sound slow and loud.  Push the tip of your tongue up to the roof or top of your mouth, just behind the front teeth, and with your  brain or mind, send the instruction to the vocal folds to be loud and make an enduring or lengthy”n” sound.

Alas, the poor sound “n” is an unfortunate sound.  It needs extra loudness because that sound  needs the air stream to go through the nasal passages and out through your nose.

Now do you understand?   You’ve got to coordinate the muscles in the mouth—the tongue, lips and jaw  — with the muscles at the vocal folds – and the lung muscles  — along with the neurological coordination of the brain  and nerves activating all of those muscles.

“N”  “n” a thousand times “n”.    Did you know that of all the consonants in English, the “n” consonant is the most frequently spoken!

Now for this– bad news and good news.

The bad news is… sooooo much coordination.

The good news is—your neurological and muscle system set up coordinative structures for this.  A coordinative  structure just means a coordinated group. Here is neurological—brain and nerves. And muscles.

That coordinative structure gets set up and is maintained by you as a human being  doing speaking with those sounds.

Just so you know, accented speech by definition is when you are using the patterns of your first or other language with English.  The “accent”  is where this is a mismatch.

Feeling stuck with errors you don’t like?  Do direct practice.  Remember it is not “practice makes perfect”  but “perfect practice makes perfect.”

Also remember that it takes perhaps 1000 up to 10,000 times of practice to change a habit.  And if you have a pesky sound or word you want to change, do the work.

Ack, this is one task you can not hire someone to do for you.

If you are interested in finding out more about pronunciation of  the “n” sound, here’s the link for “environment”, Tip #23 https://youtu.be/O2INjqtXTEY

And in case you want it, here’s the link for our speech tutorial for “v”, Tip #19 and “favorite” –https://youtu.be/ZbbN9cC2VcU

Copyright Clear Talk Mastery , Inc. 2020

Of All the Things You Can Do to Get Clear English, What Are the Most Important?

BLOG # 176 for Saturday, July 25, 2020

Date of blog: Saturday, July 25, 2020

Title of blog: Of  All the Things You Can Do to Get Clear English, What Are the Most Important?

Of all the things you can  do to get clear English, what are the most important?

Let’s talk muscles.

You need to make specific speech muscles strong to produce clear English speech sounds.

Are these different than the strong muscles needed for other languages?  Yes.

How do you make exactly the right  muscles get strong enough for clear English?

You make them strong  the same way that you make other muscles of the body strong.  You load the muscles you want strong.  You make those muscles stiff and hard.  You  make the muscles work hard. Then your body grows those muscles.

That is the same thing you do when you want strong arm muscles.  You lift bar bells that weigh a lot, like at least  five pounds or four kilograms.

 The sound for speech comes from inside your throat and the action of the vocal folds. Muscles in your chest around your lungs  and muscles attached to the vocal folds make strong voice for speech sounds.

Why  do you need  strong speech muscles for English?

You need strong speech muscles for English speaking so that people can hear  the consonants at the ends of your words. Those are the most likely to be too soft for listeners to hear. They are also the most difficult for human beings to make loud.

How do you grow strong muscles?  Make your muscles work hard and strong.  Then your body will grow muscles  and make muscles stronger exactly where you need them for clear English.

Honest to the universe, you need strong muscles in your mouth—lips, tongue, and jaw.

How do you make these muscles strong? 

To make your lip muscles strong , make them stiff and hard. Push the lips together hard.  Do that for these sounds

1. “b” and “p” sounds

2. “m”

To make clear English sounds, you need to do this—

At the same time you are pushing  your stiff lips together  for the “b” sound, you make a loud voice from your throat. Make the “b” as loud as you can so you grow muscles . This “b”  is a quick sound.

For the “m” sound,  at the same time you press your lips together, make a loud voice from your throat.  This “m “ is a slow sound.

For the “p” sound, at the same time you push your stiff lips together, push a strong burst of air from your lungs.  If you want to, you can put your hand in front of your mouth to be certain you can feel the strong puff of air you need for the “p” sound in English.

So what do you aim for?  You aim for and get strong, loud English consonants at the ends of words. And  get strong, loud consonants at the end of every syllable in a multiple syllable word. That’s because every syllable in English has a meaning.

Bad news and good news.  Bad news first.  All this is so simple and  complex at the same time.  You’ve got to coordinate muscles while you are making speech muscles strong.

Good news is that you have been coordinating  muscles of your mouth and other parts of your  body ever since you took and swallowed first milk.  And you’ve been coordinating muscles of your mouth and the rest of what would become an organized speech system ever since you spoke your first baby sounds and words.

More  muscle  coming in the next blog.

copyright Clear Talk Mastery, Inc. 2020