August 2018

Faint words are spoken differently


By Chris Nkwocha and Abigail Onyemefie Some English words—pronouns, auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and articles known as function or grammatical words have two pronunciations—the loud forms and the faint forms. The loud forms are used mainly when the words are said in isolation, that is, not in company of other words; when they stand alone. For instance, if you asked to list conjunctions, you may list them as follows: and,… Read More »FAINT FORMS OF WORDS

Why the Vowel is not your Friend

Vowels are very important in spoken languages. In fact, without vowels, we can’t pronounce almost any word. For instance, if you were asked to say these words: prnc, dg, fr, drnk, bnc, ls, what will you say? Nothing? Yes, they don’t pass as words because they don’t have vowels in them. This explains why I strongly say that the best definition of the vowel is “sound letter”. Vowels are sound… Read More »Why the Vowel is not your Friend

Spot the word with the /ᴈ:/ sound

The sound /ᴈ:/ is a very interesting sound. Although it occurs in a number of words in English, not so in many African languages. We can say the sound is alien to Africa. But you can easily spot the sound by the way it is spelt. It can be spelt ‘ir’, ‘or’, ‘ur’, ‘our’,  and on. Here is a quiz to test if you can identify the /ᴈ:/ sound in… Read More »Spot the word with the /ᴈ:/ sound

Collocation In English

In English, collocation is two or more words that go together naturally.  Collocation makes your English sound fluent and natural. It is like a firm handshake between two people. How Collocation Works Collocation: Big The word BIG is often used alongside happenings or events. For example: A big decision A big disappointment A big surprise A big failure A big improvement   Collocation: Great The word GREAT is often used… Read More »Collocation In English

the schwa

The Schwa /ə/ in Spoken English

The letter e remains a magic letter whether it’s facing up or down. If you say that letter e is dumb, quiet, mute, silent in many English words, especially word endings, you are absolutely right. E is not just a silent vowel even when vowels are sound letters; it’s a force for change. See how e changes kit to kite and make it fly. That’s just a tip of the… Read More »The Schwa /ə/ in Spoken English

Consonants connect words like a chain


By Chris Nkwocha and Esther John Unknown to many, consonants are the real conjunctions. They are the actual connectors of words not ideas in spoken English. The superb rule strongly holds here: When a word ends in a consonant, and the next word begins in a vowel, connect or link them and say them as one word.  This rule applies especially to some words that come in pairs when we… Read More »HOW CONSONANTS CONNECT WORDS

Confused about How Syllables Work

How Syllables Work in English

In spoken English, a syllable may be loud or faint. When a syllable is loud, phoneticians say it’s strong. And when it’s faint, they say it’s weak. I’ll not use strong and weak to describe how syllables work because they don’t convey the idea of listening and speaking. They are jargons that are designed to impress but never to teach or inform. Ordinarily, we use loud and faint to describe… Read More »How Syllables Work in English

Sounds of animals

Sounds of Animals

Here is your chance to test your knowledge of sounds of animals. Simply identify the animal and choose the sound it makes from the options given.  Don’t forget to fill in your name and email before you start. If you enjoyed this quiz try more here [qsm quiz=5]    

Talking about the English plural morpheme on Diction Avenue


The English plural morpheme or marker is the letter –S. It has three sound variants -/s/,/z/ and /ɪz/.  It’s important to know when the plural marker –S makes this different sounds in words. /s/ is the voiceless sound of the plural marker –S. And so, the plural marker –S is realized as /s/ when its follows voiceless consonants such as /k/, /p/,/t/,/f/,/θ/ etc You pronounce the plural marker –S as… Read More »THE ENGLISH PLURAL MORPHEME