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T and o is To then...

Baseet Ahmed
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Joined: Dec 18, 2006
Posts: 224

IF

"T" and "o" is To (sounds Two)
"D" and "o" is Do (sounds Doo)

THEN

"G" and "o" is Go (not sounds Goo)

WHY?

Can Anyone knows about the difference reason?

fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11256
    
  16

because English is a messed up language that borrows from many other languages

That's my guess.


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dennis deems
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Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
Michael or Greg could probably explain these specific differences. I've never studied linguistics formally, but I hope none of these words ("two", "do", "go") would be classified as borrowed - certainly not in the same way that "milieu" is borrowed from French or "kindergarten" is borrowed from German. However, I understand that both of those languages has had a powerful influence on the development of English.
Matthew Brown
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Joined: Apr 06, 2010
Posts: 4375
    
    8

Baseet Ahmed wrote:
"T" and "o" is To (sounds Two)

That's not how I'd pronounce it. But yes, English pronunciation can be very inconsistent (see also through, though, thorough, thought, enough).
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4650
    
    5

We carefully designed English to be impossible for non-native speakers to learn.
marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

The plural of mouse is mice, so the plural of spouse must be spice.


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Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
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Joined: Aug 16, 2005
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  16

Matthew Brown wrote:That's not how I'd pronounce it.

What's the difference between the pronounciation of "to" and "two"? (I'm not a native English speaker, so I'm curious to know).
Matthew Brown
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Joined: Apr 06, 2010
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    8

Jesper de Jong wrote:What's the difference between the pronunciation of "to" and "two"? (I'm not a native English speaker, so I'm curious to know).

I'd pronounce "to" as a short vowel - sort of the equivalent as "put" or "wood". I think that's how I'd expect English-English speakers to usually pronounce it as well, though it probably varies by regional accent.

The Oxford English Dictionary has the pronunciation of "two" as /tuː/, whereas it has "to" as /tuː/ /tʊ/ /tə/ . Which suggests they can be the same.
Baseet Ahmed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 18, 2006
Posts: 224

As per my knowledge, here is the list:

Similar Sounds Group 1:
Do
To

Similar Sounds Group 2:
Co
Go
No
So

In day to day life, these are the words used by general English speakers.

But still the question remains "about the difference of sounds reason?

Regards
Ahmed
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
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Joined: Aug 16, 2005
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  16

Baseet Ahmed wrote:But still the question remains "about the difference of sounds reason?

Several people have already answered that question. The answer is that English, just like any other human language, does not consist of an exact set of rules that are always strictly followed. Similar words most likely exist in your own native language.
Joanne Neal
Rancher

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 3502
    
  13
Baseet Ahmed wrote:
As per my knowledge, here is the list:

Similar Sounds Group 1:
Do
To

Similar Sounds Group 2:
Co
Go
No
So

In day to day life, these are the words used by general English speakers.

But still the question remains "about the difference of sounds reason?

Regards
Ahmed

Do also belongs in group 2 if you are referring to the first (and last) note of the diatonic scale
dennis deems
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
Here in the Midwest USA, these words are pronounced identically: "to", "too", "two". These words rhyme: "do", "through", "new", "hue". Of course pronunciation in other regions varies, but most film and television actors in the USA can be found to observe this pronunciation. The same must be true for at least some of the UK: George Harrison rhymes "to" with "you"; W. S. Gilbert rhymes "you" with "too" with "bedew".
Matthew Brown
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Joined: Apr 06, 2010
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    8

Dennis Deems wrote:The same must be true for at least some of the UK: George Harrison rhymes "to" with "you"; W. S. Gilbert rhymes "you" with "too" with "bedew".

I think there's a long established tradition of poets and songwriters taking liberties with pronunciation to make things rhyme (or scan), so you can't deduce too much from that. See also Sting rhyming "cough" with "Nabakov" .
Paul Clapham
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Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

Matthew Brown wrote:I'd pronounce "to" as a short vowel - sort of the equivalent as "put" or "wood". I think that's how I'd expect English-English speakers to usually pronounce it as well, though it probably varies by regional accent.

The Oxford English Dictionary has the pronunciation of "two" as /tuː/, whereas it has "to" as /tuː/ /tʊ/ /tə/ . Which suggests they can be the same.


And specifically, when "to" occurs in an unstressed position, as in "I'm going to the mall", you use the unstressed version (/tʊ/ or /tə/). But when it occurs in a stressed position, as in "To err is human", you use the stressed version (/tuː/).

Then why doesn't "two" work the same way? Well, I can't think of a sentence where "two" occurs in an unstressed position. If you can think of one, then maybe you'll find it does work the same way as "to" does.
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2343
    
  28

Jesper de Jong wrote:
Baseet Ahmed wrote:But still the question remains "about the difference of sounds reason?

Several people have already answered that question. The answer is that English, just like any other human language, does not consist of an exact set of rules that are always strictly followed. Similar words most likely exist in your own native language.


Not if the language is phonetic. In phonetic languages, you pronounce the word as it's written.
Paul Clapham
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Joined: Oct 14, 2005
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    8

Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:In phonetic languages, you pronounce the word as it's written.


If there was such a thing as a phonetic language, that would be true. But I'm not convinced that any language can be characterized as strictly phonetic. Many languages (including Dutch?) have implemented spelling reforms to try to make the spelling become closer to the phonology, but even then I don't think they have achieved 100% success.
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Posts: 2343
    
  28

Devnagari is phonetic
Paul Clapham
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Posts: 18541
    
    8

Devanagari is a script which is used for many languages. And the Wikipedia article about Devanagari mentions a couple of instances where the Hindi language doesn't strictly follow it, so you can't tell from the writing how a word should be pronounced. I expect that other languages which use that script have similar features.
Matthew Brown
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2010
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    8

I'm no expert, but I suspect that even if a perfectly phonetic language existed, then the pronunciation would evolve faster than the spelling, so it wouldn't remain perfectly phonetic.

I'm also suspicious of the idea of a "perfect pronunciation" of any language. Even within the UK, English language pronunciation varies massively. And while there may be a semi-official "correct" way of saying things, a minority of people actually use it.
Greg Charles
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Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2849
    
  11

I hope I'm not the Greg that's supposed to explain this, because I'm confused by it as well. The basic idea is that there was a Great Vowel Shift in English that occurred after English spelling was already more-or-less standardized. (I'd say more less than more though.) English spelling hasn't been modernized to the extent that other languages have, and English tends to be prolific in its borrowing of foreign words, sometimes changing the pronunciation, but rarely the spelling. ("Chaise longue" for example is pronounce as if it were "chaise lounge".)

Jesper makes the point that every human language has weird spelling exceptions. He may be right, but my claim, albeit supported by my very limited experience, is that English is fundamentally different. Its spelling is more bizarre, by several orders of magnitude, than any other language that uses a written alphabet. So far, no one's been able to disprove that claim, or adequately explain to me why English should be such an outlier.
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
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Posts: 14116
    
  16

I remember from when I was a student having a discussion with other students from different countries, about which of our languages was spoken exactly as it was written.

Some French students argued that French is pronounced exactly as it is written. The others didn't agree. For example, the French don't pronounce the letter "H" even though they are using it in written language. We all had to conclude that each of our languages had words that are not spoken exactly as they are written down.
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16020
    
  20

Jesper de Jong wrote:I remember from when I was a student having a discussion with other students from different countries, about which of our languages was spoken exactly as it was written.

Some French students argued that French is pronounced exactly as it is written. The others didn't agree. For example, the French don't pronounce the letter "H" even though they are using it in written language. We all had to conclude that each of our languages had words that are not spoken exactly as they are written down.


I like Italian. You only pronounce the "h" when it isn't there. And vice versa. French, on the other hand, has whole blocks of letters that don't get pronounced. Of all the languages I've studied, I think French, English and Polish are probably the most treacherous when it comes to deducing correct pronunciation based on spelling.

English has gone through both considerable native mutation, impressed imports and foreign plagarisms thanks to time, the Norman Invasion, and the sunset-free British Empire. So it's a miracle that English spelling is as phonetic as it is. And that's not even considering "English" English pronunciation.

American English is slightly more phonetic than British English - or at least slightly more likely to pronounce foreign import words in ways that more closely track the languages from which they were lifted. Also, we did try to modernise (sic) things a bit. Most notably when Webster came along and threw the "u" out of "colour" and so forth. The "e" seems to have leaked back into "gray" lately, though, and more recent attempts ("thru", "thoroly") have generally not taken off.

On the other hand, either the British authors I read are being (mostly) translated into American or we're corrupting them, because I keep running into phrases like "pulled a tire from the boot".

I can usually tell exactly how a spoken Arabic word is spelled. Not that everything is pronounced as written, but the implicit rules are fairly simple. Likewise for Spanish, though less so (partly because they blur certain consonants when speaking, partly dialectical differences). Russian, more or less.

On the other hand, forget "do/to/go". I once calculated that there are about 9 different pronunciations of the English word "pork", depending on where you are.


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dennis deems
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Joined: Mar 12, 2011
Posts: 808
I think it's worth recognizing that pronunciation that differs because of regional variation, upbringing or other influences (i.e. the different way people pronounce "aunt") is a different species than pronunciation that varies because of the identity of the word itself ("I do like you" vs. "do, a deer").
marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Note: "Do, a deer" is generally preferable to "Doh! A deer!" (as the car swerves out of control).
chris webster
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  14

Greg Charles wrote:Imy claim, albeit supported by my very limited experience, is that English is fundamentally different. Its spelling is more bizarre, by several orders of magnitude, than any other language that uses a written alphabet. So far, no one's been able to disprove that claim, or adequately explain to me why English should be such an outlier.


Aw, Greg, we did try!

But here's the executive summary of some reasons why English spelling is a bit idiosyncratic (incidentally, you should try Scottish Gaelic - half the letters are simply not pronounced, and the rest mostly seem to be gargling sounds):

  • Wide variation in the spoken language when written form is established --> written form already inconsistent with many spoken varieties.
  • Poor fit between source alphabet (Latin) and phonology of target language --> awkward compromises and inconsistencies in representing some sounds.
  • Significant changes in phonology after written form established.
  • Lots of loan words that don't easily fit the written standard.
  • General tinkering e.g. US vs. British variations, arbitrary attempts to Latinise some spellings, etc.
  • Wide geographical spread with distinct regional accents/dialects.


  • There have been periodic attempts to define a simplified spelling system for English, but even if you could somehow come up with a compromise that suited all speakers (and English has over 40 phonemes, depending on your accent), it would still be pretty challenging to implement this on a global language with hundreds of millions of native speakers, millions of fluent non-native speakers, and half a millennium of literature in more-or-less its modern form.

    Anyway, it seems to have worked pretty well up to now - so if it ain't (too) broke, don't fix it!
     
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