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[w]-insertion | English Pronunciation Lesson

English speakers always seek to add more musicality and flow to their speech. This has caused them to insert sounds into words which naturally come from the position of their mouths. Inserting these sounds also allows the speaker to de-stress syllables a bit more.

Specifically, English speakers insert:

into words.


If we did not insert a [y] into the word:

  • “menu” [MɛN nyuw]

We would have to say:

  • “menu” [MɛN uw]

which has less variation in stress and less music and rhythm in the speech.

Listen and Repeat

Notice where I insert the [w] sound, by rounding my lips in the following words:

  • question” [KWɛs tʃən]
  • quick” [KWIK]
  • quiet” [KWAiY yɪt]
  • “colloquial” [kə LOW kwiy yəl]
  • “consequences” [KɑN sə kwɛn sIz]
  • “nuance” [NUW wɑns]
  • “delinquent” [də LɪN kwɪnt]

Notice that there is also a [w] sound inserted at the end of the following vowel sounds, due to the rounding of the lips:

  • [auw] vowel sound (“ow”)
    • “doubt” [DÆUWT]

As always, post your questions and comments below. And if this lesson was helpful to you, feel free to share it with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.

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