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I was researching the pattern of silent letters and was about to post a question on this forum when I found this site:
http://www.eleaston.com/pr/sl-pat-pb.html

After going through the list, I was surprised that there are so many. I pronounce most of them correctly without even noticing that some letters are silent. I also found that I have always mispronounced a few of them, including debt and Illinois.

However, I want to confirm if the following are really silent:

k in asked
t in acts, ducts, students
l in almond
th in clothes, months, depths, lengths
w in toward
o in laboratory, comfortable (probably a BrE and AmE difference)

Thank you very much.

p.s. oops, just found that I posted it in the wrong forum. Would an admin please help to move it back to
English Audio: Speech and Pronunciation ?

Thanks.
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Comments  
Pter - the pronunciation of words depends heavily on a person's dialect.

k in asked - variable pronunciation - I say - askt (some dialects say "axt")

t in acts, ducts, students - I pronounce the "t", but very muted.

l in almond - I pronounce the "l", but muted

th in clothes, months, depths, lengths - I pronounce these: close, monts, deps, linx

w in toward - I pronounce as tord

o in laboratory, comfortable (probably a BrE and AmE difference) - I say the "or" sound.
PterHowever, I want to confirm if the following are really silent:

k in asked
t in acts, ducts, students
l in almond
th in clothes, months, depths, lengths
w in toward
o in laboratory, comfortable (probably a BrE and AmE difference)
Hey Peter, even i doubt these.
But yes, its correct for almond and asked.
For clothes, months, depths, lengths i guess while speaking, the tongue does make that move for the "th" sound , but the sound is quite faint .
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PterHowever, I want to confirm if the following are really silent:

k in asked
t in acts, ducts, students
l in almond
th in clothes, months, depths, lengths
w in toward
o in laboratory, comfortable (probably a BrE and AmE difference)
As you may already know, it depends on who you ask. Here are my pronunciations.

askt - very soft, unreleased k; neutral t, not very aspirated.

akts, dukts - again, soft, unreleased k; ts as a unit as in tsar.
stewd' N(t)s - unreleased d, syllabic n. s / ts indistinguisable after n. (Cf. prince = prints)

au' mund - no l for me, but I've heard people pronounce the l. It's not a big difference.
cloze - not the remotest attempt to say the th. Zero.

munths, depths, lengkths - soft th, unreleased p, k; ths a unit similar to the ts referred to above.
I hear munce (munts , munss) a lot.

twore + d; never tore + d.
lab' ra tor y - definitely no o there.

cumf' ter bull (believe it or not Emotion: smile ) or cum' fer duh bull

CJ
Thank you all for your replies. Hmm, interesting. Seems very different even among native speakers. I found CJ's reply most detailed but a bit hard for me to understand. And I'm not sure how I can practise saying those sounds.

What are your suggestions for a non-native? How should I say them if I want to reduce my accent?
Pter I'm not sure how I can practise saying those sounds.
I think you need to get yourself some audio materials -- the sort of thing where you listen and repeat, listen and repeat, listen and repeat, ad infinitum. Emotion: smile

CJ
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I'm not a native speaker, and I am not fluent at all, but this is the way I would pronounce them (American English):
Pterk in asked No k, and trying to put one in there would have no effect: ast

t in acts, ducts I pronounce the t, butthe k before it becomes silent (but it's still there).

l in almond No L at all

th in clothes, months, depths, lengths No th in clothes. In the other cases it depends. For example I would say "depths" as depts.

w in toward No w, it rhymes with "scored"

o in laboratory, comfortable (probably a BrE and AmE difference) No... labrutory, cumftuble.

Just my preferences though. As you can see, it varies from speaker to speaker. I'm gon ax him to gimme a han!(ask him to give me a hand, AAVE). Emotion: stick out tongue
Hi Pter,

I have recorded myself saying the words in your list:
Pterk in asked
t in acts, ducts, students
l in almond
th in clothes, months, depths, lengths
w in toward
o in laboratory, comfortable


I'm looking forward to hearing you record them for me now. Emotion: smile
This is how I say them (after correcting my pronunciation for almond and toward).



What should I improve?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
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