I say 'a' European, but I know there is that rule about using 'an' before words that start with a vowel, as in 'an Englishman', 'an Aussie', 'an Iraqi', 'an egg' etc.
But why does it sound wrong saying 'an European'? Is this an exception to the rule or am I just saying it wrong?
Any help from some of the smart English teacher types on this forum would be appreciated.
Because the sound "eu" is consonatic in this word, although they are vowels. You pronounce "a Djuropean" - more or less"
It also happens with other words, for example, "a uniform", "a universe",...
In fact, you must realize if the first vowel or set of vowels has a consonantic sound or not.
It should be ''a european'' because ''european'' starts with the ''y'' sound.
There's one exception though,
John, I thought "herb" can be "an herb" as well...?
Thanks for the replies :)
No, it is no longer the rule that you have to say "an historic". This sounds wrong to me and I have never used it.
Yeah, I rarely say "an historical"...probably only if I were speaking fast and lessened the sound of the "H."
Guy, it's ''an herb'' in America and ''a herb'' in Briton.
"an herb" = [@n e:(r)b] in most North American accents
"a herb" = [.. he:(r)b] in most other accents
"a uniform" = [.. ju:nifo:(r)m]
"a universe" = [.. ju:nive:(r)s]
"a European" = [.. ju:rOupi(:)..n] not "a Djuropean" but with a "y" sound, [j], as John says. The [j] is a consonant (in the phonologic* structure of English).
I say "an historical" and to me it's "a historical" which sounds wrong but I won't complain if someone uses it. It is no longer the rule that you have to apply those things that might once have been labled as "the rules".
I heard Tony Blair say "an historical" on TV last night.
No you can say it but it is not the only acceptable usage any more. Personally, I put AN before vowel-sounds, not consonant-sounds, and as I don't drop my aitches, historical begins with a H-sound.
As far as " 'a' European" is concerned I was tought that the sound [ju] which we pronounce at the beginning of "European" is so called "semi-vowel" so it is not a vowel as you could see from the graphic presentation of the word.Therefore the article "an" is not appropriate here.