How do native Englisch speakers pronounce unknown words?

Guest   Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:44 am GMT
just curious, how do you pronounce unknown words?

As there are no such strict pronunciation rules like in other languages, do you guess the pronunciation or do you take the most commonly used pronunciation for similar words you already know?
Guest   Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:21 am GMT
I ssume you are referring to words that you see written, but have never heard?

If so, you just have to guess. The biggest problem with unknown words is often where to put the stress. Another big problem is with place names or proper names (examples: Poughquag, Skaneateles, Delhi (NY), Amenia, Lead, Pierre, Belle Fourche).
furrykef   Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:13 pm GMT
Usually the word will resemble an existing word, or at least an existing type of word. Most unfamiliar words are from a foreign language, like Latin, where the pronunciation rules are fairly straightforward. But there are always weird exceptions... until a few years ago, I didn't know how "vinyl" was pronounced (it rhymes with "final"). If a word doesn't resemble any word you've ever encountered, then the only things you can do are look it up in the dictionary or just give it your best shot.

Last night I was wondering if the second "e" in "full-fledged" is silent. It turns out that it is... now that I think about it, I don't think there are any words ending with "-dged" where the "e" isn't silent, but I know that there are such words ending with "-ged" ("alleged" when used as an adjective).

- Kef
Guest   Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:47 pm GMT
"alleged" is often pronounced with the second "e" silent. Anyway, oftentimes when native speakers try to read a word they don't know, they will horribly mangle the pronunciation. I know this because stupid kids did it all the time when we had to read something aloud in school.
Damian in Edinburgh   Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:44 pm GMT
I will always remember the first word that I mis-pronounced as a kid by just seeing it in print - there may have been others but this one sticks in my mind to this day. I was reading an article aloud when I saw the word "misled" and read it out as "mizzled". I can't remember the actual wording of the sentence but it may have been something like "the false evidence given completely mizzled the police". Someone corrected me but I can't remember who it was now. Maybe Miss Fraser, my English teacher at the time.