Pronunciation – Silent T: often, listen, castle…

http://www.engvid.com/ How do you pronounce “often”? Is the /t/ silent or pronounced? What about words like “soften”, “moisten”, “mostly”, “lastly”, and other words with /t/ in them? In this video, I will teach you how to pronounce these words and more. If you say the word “often” often, this video is for you! Take a quiz on this lesson here: http://www.engvid.com/silent-t/

TRANSCRIPT

Hi there. My name is Emma, and in today’s video, we are going to learn about pronunciation. I’m going to teach you how to pronounce “often”. Is it with a T or with a silent T? What about words like “listen”? Is it “listen” or “lissen”? “Soften”: “soften”, “soffen”? Okay? So this video is about Ts in the middle of words. Do we pronounce them, or do we keep them silent? Okay, so let’s get started on how to pronounce these words.

So I have a rule here. It’s not always the rule, but for the most part this will help you. If you see “-sten”, “-ften”, “-stle”, usually — okay, and that’s a big word. Usually — not always — usually, we do not pronounce the T. So what are some examples of this? This, how do we say it? “Lissen”, “lissen”, so you cannot hear a T. I do not say it “listen”, I say it with an S but no T, “lissen”. “Soffen”, “soffen”, okay? And again, you see “-ften”, “-sten”. “Cassle”, “cassle”. “Fassen”, “fassen”. Okay? Last one: “moissen”, “moissen”. So even though you see “-ten”, “-tle”, “-ten”, you do not pronounce the T in these words.

But what about “often”? Did you hear how I said that? Did I say it with a T or without a T? “Often”. Okay, so “often” is when it gets a little complicated because of the history of this word. Originally, in the 1700s, “often” was pronounced with a T, and then they stopped pronouncing it with a T. They pronounced it “offen”. And then, people started to pronounce it with T again. So nowadays, how do we pronounce it? Both ways. Some people say, “often” — that’s good. Other people say “offen” with a silent T. Both ways are acceptable, okay? Both ways are now the standard. You can say either way. So if you look here, if you know the International Phonetic Alphabet, I have the different spellings that the dictionary says are okay for the pronunciation of this word, okay? And if you don’t know the International Phonetic Alphabet, that’s okay. Pretty much what this means is you can have it without it T, “offen” or with the T, “often”. So even though we have a rule up here, “-ften”, usually, it’s a silent T, but in the case of “often”, it’s your choice. If you like the way the T sounds, great. If you hate the way the T sounds, “offen” is also good, okay?

Now, let’s look at some words where we actually have to pronounce the T. So if you see “-stl”, “-ftl”, these are signs that you usually pronounce the T. What are some examples? Well, you can pronounce the T. “Lassly”, you could also say, “lastly”. It’s okay either way. “Justly”, “mostly”, “softly”: You can say it with or without depending on where you’re from. So the main thing I want to say in this video is “offen”, “often” are both okay. Our pronunciation is different depending on where we’re from. So you might hear someone pronounce a word one way, but it could be their accent. It could be where they’re from.

And also, a final point — language is always changing. “Often” — before there was a rule, no T. Now, it has changed to where you can have a T, or you can do it without a T. So language doesn’t stay the same; it changes. Until next time — oh, I forgot one thing. I want today invite you to come visit our website at www.engvid.com, and there you can take our test on pronunciation with words with silent T. So until next time, take care.

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