Today the English language has by far more non-native speakers than the native speakers speaking English language worldwide. Thereby, the probability of mispronouncing the words by the learners & non-native speakers is always high. Let’s go over the 20 commonly mispronounced words that I have observed over a period of time some of my advanced-level learners mispronouncing.
When you begin to improve English pronunciation, it’s essential to get used to the common sounds of the language, and the best way to do is to check phonetics. Below I have used the UK transcription for all the words.
1. Mayonnaise: /ˌmeɪəˈneɪz/
This is something you find in your burgers. Some people don’t like this, especially those who are weight conscious.
It has 3 syllables “MAY” + “uh” + “NAYZ”. Say it out loud & exaggerate the sounds until you can constantly produce them.
2. Infamous: /ˈɪnfəməs/:-
it’s quite prevalent to mispronounce this word. The reason is the pronunciation of the opposite word “FAMOUS”. It has a diphthong /eɪ/ sound whereas the word Infamous has the schwa sound /ə/. it has 3 syllables “IN” + “fuh” + “muhs”
3. Hierarchy: /ˈhaɪərɑːki/
Professionals would hear this word spoken in & around their offices quite often. However, a sizeable number of proficient speakers mispronounce the word. I’m sure, readers would check the pronunciation in the Dictionary with a great amount of disbelief after listening to the recording. It has four syllables “HY” + “uh” + “raa” + “kee”. You can practice the correct pronunciation by repeating it several times & by developing the understanding of patterns of English sounds.
4. Grievance: /ˈɡriːvəns/
This word has only two syllables “GREE” + “vuhns”. And, as most of the learners would know two syllables nouns receive primary stress on the first syllable. Hence, the stress is given on the first syllable. you can learn essential rules of words stress here.
5. Says: /sez/
Yeah! I know many readers would be baffled to see this word on this list. But did you know that this is one of the most commonly mispronounced words in the English language? It has one syllable “SEZ”. When you are listening to the recording please pay close attention to the last sound that is produced when enunciating this word.
6. Awry: /əˈraɪ/
Be careful with this two syllables word “uh” + “RY”. It’s an adjective & adverb with two syllables so the stress is on the second syllable.
7. Minuscule: /ˈmɪnəskjuːl/
Because the English language is a non-phonetic language, sometimes, it creates confusion. In the case of this word, the pronunciation of the word “MINUS” often misleads the learners. it has 3 syllables “MIN” + “uh” + “skyool”.
8. Itinerary: /aɪˈtɪnərəri/
This word has five syllables “eye” + “TIN” + “uh” + “ruh” + “ree”. Many people have trouble pronouncing English words that have two “r” sounds close together. Make sure to pronounce both the “r” sounds.
9. Faux Pas: /ˌfəʊ ˈpɑː/
Be careful with the silent letters in the word. “X” & “S” are two silent letters in his word. It has two syllables “FOH” + “PAA”.
10. Forte: /ˈfɔːteɪ/
The letter “R” is silent. It has two syllables “FAW” + “tay”. The stress is on the first syllable.
11. Poem: /ˈpəʊɪm/
This two syllables word “POH” + “uhm” has stress on the first syllable. Learners may find it difficult to produce the Diphthong at the outset, however, with practice they would start correctly producing the sound.
12. Et-cetera: /ˌet ˈsetərə/ & /ˌɪt ˈsetərə/
The abbreviation for this word is etc. The word is quite often mispronounced as “ek” . The correct sound is ‘t”. Listen to the recording carefully.
13. Domestic: /dəˈmestɪk/
The three syllables word “duh” + “MEST” + “ik” has a stress on the second syllable. Listen to the recording to know we don’t make the”o” sound.
14. Foliage: /ˈfəʊliɪdʒ/
Listen to the sound that is made after ‘f’. It has three syllables “FOH” + “lee” + “ij”. The stress is on the first syllable.
15. Gnaw: /nɔː/
The first & the last letters ‘g’ ‘w’ are silent in the word. It has one syllable “NAW”.
16. Cache: /kæʃ/
This computing word is widely mispronounced. It has one syllable “KASH”. And it is pronounced exactly like CASH.
17. Coup: /kuː/
The letter ‘p’ is silent. It has one syllable “KOO”. The pronunciation of a word coo which is the sound made by a pigeon is exactly like a coup.
18. Vehical: /ˈviːəkl/
This has three syllables “VEE” + “i” + “kuhl”. And the stress is given on the first syllable. Attentively listen to the vowel sounds.
19. Installation: /ˌɪnstəˈleɪʃn/
Again, this is a word where people often get confused about the sound & mispronounce the word. This word has four syllables “IN” + “stuh” + “LAY” + “shuhn”. And the stress is on the last syllable.
20. Monarchy: /ˈmɒnəki/
This has three syllables “MON” + “uh” + “kee”. And the stress is on the first syllable. The letter is ‘r’ is silent.
This is the last word on this list of 20 commonly mispronounced words. Should you wish to know more such words that are mispronounced you can check the other popular article on this series 70 most commonly mispronounced words. You can click here to know more about the sounds of English.