Lesson Three: Syllable Structure Can Vary A Lot

The main reasons why speaking English is so hard

This special pronunciation section will explain to you why English is hard to speak correctly and give you some help on improving your pronunciation. These are the main reasons why English is so hard. There is a lesson for each one.

Note that the pronunciation examples are in American English accent. In the last lesson you will find American and British English examples.

These lessons are sponsored by: EyeSpeak English

Another reason English is so hard to pronounce correctly is because of its 'syllable structure'. In many languages, especially Asian languages such as Japanese and Chinese, syllables very often go:
Consonant - Vowel - Consonant - Vowel

This means that English words are often said this way.

For example, the word 'hot dog'

Has structure:
consonant vowel consonant consonant vowel consonant

This is shown here, with C standing for consonant and V standing for vowel

Hot   dog
CVC   CVC

Now this can often be said wrong:

Ho ta   do ga
CV CV   CV CV

Notice how there are now four vowels instead of two.

This often happens with English words that end in a special type of consonant called a 'stop' consonant. 'stop' consonants are sounds like b, d, g, p, t, k and here are some words that end in them:

Bed   cab   bag   cat   cap   brick

It is important that you do not put an extra vowel at the end, for example some people will say 'bed' like 'bed a' however this is wrong.

Syllable structure can get quite difficult in English, for example:

'conscientious' has this structure

Con sci en tious
CVC CV VC CVC

And 'glimpsed' like before, is like this:

Glimpsed
C C V C C C C

This has two consonants, then one vowel, then four consonants in a row.