Intonation and pronunciation 4

 

I'm going to buy some clothes.

 

Now pretty much all the entries I have for TEE are based on what Polish students tell me, but this entry is also a common mistake made by German students. It's all down to how we pronounce the word 'clothes'.

From what I understand from English native speakers in Germany, pronunciation of this word seems to be one of the problematic.

 

The word itself only contains the one syllable (A syllable is a part of a word that contains a single vowel sound or a diphthong, e.g., play has one syllable, pronoun has two, and pronunciation has five syllables. Source: Not4GrammarBores). 

 

But Germans (and Polish students) have a habit of breaking the word up into two syllables and then putting stress on the second half of the word.

So instead of clothes as in /kloʊðz/ - or 'close' with a slight 'th' at the end before the final 's' sound (or phoneme) - they say clo-thes

One theory suggested - thanks Shelley Pascual (shelley.pascual@thelocal.com) - is that there aren't any silent letters in German and every letter seems to be succinctly pronounced in German-language words, so native speakers take the same approach with the word clothes.

Shelley also claims that this is one of the most annoying language mistakes in Germany as it is something that requires breaking a habit when it comes to German pronunciation.

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