Dear teachers,

How do you pronounce the following ?

a) Krebs (name of the soldier in Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway)

b) Goliath = /g + schwa + lai + schwa + 'th'/ or /g + (schwa + u = diphthong) lai + schwa + 'th'/ ? I hope I have been clear enough is there a way to use phonetic symbols ?

How nice it would be if we could hear the teachers read their answers... [8]

Look forward to "hearing" from you,
1 2
Unless this is a trick question, I'd say 'Krebs' so as to rhyme with Jeb's or Deb's. 'Goliath' is said in American English as shown in your first 'phonetic transcription' (where 'lai' rhymes with "lie" or "rye" or "my"). The second sounds to me like a (possibly) British pronunciation, but you'll have to wait for that answer.

My hesitation is about the first syllable because it seems that the second is a triphthong
/lai??/ (as in "fire" /fai?/).

So for Golaith do you say:

a) /g?lai??/ = monophthong [as in "gazelle"] or

b) /g?ulai??/ = diphthong ? [as in "goal" or "to go"]

Thanks again,
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I think it is a simple schwa sound.

You could almost write it as G'liath.
Now that Nona has confirmed that American and British English both use the schwa there, I can say it's /g?'lai??/ or, perhaps more accurately, /g?'laj??/, the /i/ being no more than a quick glide /j/.

Hello all

What is a 'schwa', out of interest?

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Ah, yes, the famous little schwa! It is the sound of half a hand clapping.

It is the representative of several similar sounds which occur everywhere in the unstressed syllables of English. It's ubiquitous. (See bold face print.)

It varies from a sort of lax 'u' as in "sum" to a lax 'i' as in "win" to, occasionally, a lax 'oo' as in "book", and just about everything in between. In contrast to other phonetic symbols, which represent single sounds, the schwa represents many weak sounds, all subtly different, but all unstressed.

Or maybe it's a spice used in gourmet cooking. I forget.

Thanks Nona and Jim.

All the best,
Thanks, Jim! So that's what the little blighter's called.

PS: I too am partial to a sprinkling of schwa. (I also seem to have some rtz on the shelf. That isn't bad, either.)
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