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Comparative review of English pronunciation dictionaries

Covers of two pronunciation dictionariesIf you study English pronunciation long enough, you will eventually run into one of the following situations:

  • You look up a word in two dictionaries, and each dictionary gives a different pronunciation. For example, one dictionary transcribes statutory as /ˈstætʃətəri/, another as /ˈstætjʊtəri/.
  • You hear a native speaker pronounce a word in a way that sounds different from the pronunciation given in the dictionary. For example, your dictionary says calm is pronounced /kɑ:m/, but your American friend keeps saying /kɑ:lm/.
  • You read a rare word or proper name and you don’t know how to pronounce it. For example, you may not know how to pronounce words like azure, Ottawa or Scorsese.

It is in situations like these that an English pronunciation dictionary can come in handy. Specialized pronunciation dictionaries have more words (including proper names) and more pronunciation variants. Phonetic transcriptions in a pronunciation dictionary also tend to be more detailed and more accurate.

With this in mind, I have written an in-depth comparison of two major English pronunciation dictionaries — the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (17th edition) and the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd edition). If you think you need an authoritative resource on English pronunciation, check out which dictionary has won in my test.

Read more…


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Lauro Silva

    You´re absolutely right Mr. Tomasz, but the worst problem for English learners is to understand the contractions and retractions the Natives usually say. In my opinion a tremendous work could be done would be the use of phonetic transcription for those contractions and retractions. I appreciate a lot your articles. Lauro

  • Ali.Sh

    I just wanted to thank you for this great site of yours. It changed the path of my English learning. So I hope you always will find joy and happiness in your lives.

  • Hassan Hassouna

    I wuold like to thank you for this effort, and please continue and keep in touch


  • Robin Yamin Sohotra

    Hi, Mr. Tomasz! It’s really a great work you’ve done. I second the comments paid by Lauro Silva. However I appreciate your efforts in this regard.

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