how to pronounce "higher" and "hire", "pattern" "turn"

harris   Friday, March 05, 2004, 03:38 GMT
Hi guys,

I checked the dictionary and "higher" is pronunced as [h ai &r] and "hire" is as [h ai r] but I can't make the difference when pronounce 'r' after 'ai' from &r. Any suggestions?

2nd, how to pronounce '&r' and "3r"? it seems to me they are the same. let me know your suggestions.

Thank you
Steve   Friday, March 05, 2004, 03:50 GMT
''Higher'' and ''hire'' are pronounced the same and the difference between ''pattern'' and ''turn'' is that one word is stressed and one is unstressed.
Harris   Friday, March 05, 2004, 04:01 GMT
Thanks. The second suggestion really helps. However, shouldn't the 'er' in 'higher' be pronounced as "&r" and the 'r' in "hire" be pronounced as 'r' only?

One more question. Canadian pronounces 'new' as ' n j U' and in 'friends' is it sometimes pronounced as 'nU' (like 'oo' in book) , does American really pronounce it as 'nU'?

Again, thanks buddy.
Steve   Friday, March 05, 2004, 04:25 GMT
Americans pronounce ''new'' as ''noo'' [nu:] the ''oo'' sound in ''moon'' [not the ''oo'' sound in ''book''].
Alice   Friday, March 05, 2004, 04:53 GMT
I'm from the US, and I pronounce "new" as "nyoo". Also, for me, there is a difference between the pronunciations of "higher" and "hire". While the first is clearly a two syllable word, the second is somewhere between one and two syllables, (odd though that may sound). It's sort of one, elongated dipthonged syllable. Does this help?
Harris   Friday, March 05, 2004, 05:41 GMT
Thanks guys. These are very helpful messages. I appreciate your guys' suggestions.
Jim   Friday, March 05, 2004, 06:30 GMT
"... sort of one, elongated dipthonged syllable ..." a triphthong. I use the triphthong for both. For me "higher" and "hire" are pronounced the same: [hai..].

I say [nju:] for "new".

pattern: [p@t..n]
turn: [te:n]

One stressed and the other unstressed, like Simon says.
Paul   Friday, March 05, 2004, 17:25 GMT
I agree with Alice.
The difference is in syllable break.
higher, buyer, crier = hai-er have a syllable break
hire, fire, tire = haier don't have a syllable break (tripthong)?
I heard English didn't have any real tripthong? Oh well

Harris   Saturday, March 06, 2004, 13:18 GMT
Syllable break. Nice suggestion.
Steve   Saturday, March 06, 2004, 14:55 GMT
I pronounce ''higher'' and ''hire'' both with two syllables. I pronounce ''new'' as ''noo'' [nu:].
Ryan   Saturday, March 06, 2004, 16:58 GMT
The North Midwest accent in the US pronounces "higher" and "hire" differently. Both are two syllables, but "higher" is pronounced /HAI-er/ while "hire" is pronounced /HUH-yer/ We pronounce "fire" and "tire" the same way.
Higher and Hire   Tuesday, March 09, 2004, 00:47 GMT
I'd say they pronunciation of "higher" is slightly different from "hire". I'd pronounce "higher" [hah ee r] and "hire" [huh ee r].
Caesar   Tuesday, March 09, 2004, 03:28 GMT
According to the "Cambridge Dictionary of American English" hire should be pronounced /hair/, and higher should be pronounced /'hai.3r/ (I am using "3" to replace the inverted "e").

There is a little difference between these two words when it comes to pronunciation. The first one does not show any single quotation mark, thus indicating that it is a one syllable word. The second one shows it, meaning that it has two syllables. The dot in /'hai.3r/ indicates that the phoneme that follows should be pronounced with more time, not more "clearly" (this tends to confuse English learners).

In order for you to get the corresponding sound (which might not exist in your native tongue), just pronounce the word "rock", but take your time to pronounce the american English "r" (2 seconds, maybe more if you wish). The sound that this letter makes is the same one that "higher" should have at the end (a long one in order to create the second syllable).

Some people call the "3" a mute vowel, and you might think of it this way so that you do not replace it with a different sound that belong to your mother tongue.

If you speak very fast, people will not notice the difference between the two words because you do not take the time to pronounce them. This can happen in any language, buddy!

Just learn this sound and it will become a lot easier for you.

Hope this helps.

P.D.: I refer to american English only because I neither like nor speak the Brittish form.
Paul   Tuesday, March 09, 2004, 16:33 GMT
Hi Caesar

Good Answer.
One question
Would that mute (reversed 3) or neutral vowel you are talking about be distinguishable from the Schwa by anything other than duration?

Regards, Paul V.
Caesar   Tuesday, March 09, 2004, 18:30 GMT
Hi Paul.

Please check the page included in this website. The vowel I am talking about is the fifth one in the list.

This sound is very similar to the Hebrew schwa, but discussions about this phoneme (schwa) are always open. The schwa is maybe the shortest vowel found in the Hebrew language, and some native Hebrew speakers pronounce it while others do not.

In this case, the sound in "higher" is *like* a faint "e" preceeding the "r". Keep in mind, though, that it is nearer the schwa than the pure "e" that we can find in words like "bed" or "met" (check the list in the page). I usually tell people to think of it as a very lazy "e".

I hope this helps you have a clearer idea.

Best regards,