Mile, male, mayo, tail, tile pronunciation

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
I hear some BrE speakers pronounce male and mile (and also tile, tail and tale) the same and Americans pronounce male as mayo and tail as tale. Who agrees and who says them differently?
  • AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    "Tail" and "tale" are pronounced identically in every variety of English, as far as I know.

    I don't think I've ever heard an American pronounce "male" as "mayo".

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I hear some BrE speakers pronounce male and mile (and also tile, tail and tale) the same
    There are varieties of English, but I'm talking about standard English English.
    Male, tail, tale have the same sound.
    Mile and tile have the same sound.

    Some southern English accents pronounce the 'a' sound in 'male' rather like the 'i' in 'mile'. I'm thinking especially of 'cockney' and its more recent variants.
    What do you mean when you talk about "mayo"? I can think of two ways of saying that. One is 'my o' and the other is 'may o': I suppose it depends on how one says 'mayonnaise'. It's a French word. I have no idea why anybody would pronounce it 'my-onnaise'.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Ah - I think you may be talking about "L-vocalisation".

    From the Wiki article L-vocalization - Wikipedia
    More extensive L-vocalization is a notable feature of certain dialects of English, including Cockney, Estuary English, New York English, New Zealand English, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia English and Australian English, in which an /l/ sound occurring at the end of a word (but usually not when the next word begins with a vowel and is pronounced without a pause) or before a consonant is pronounced as some sort of close back vocoid: [w], [o] or [ʊ]. [...] It can be heard occasionally in the dialect of the English East Midlands, where words ending in -old can be pronounced /oʊd/. KM Petyt (1985) noted this feature in the traditional dialect of West Yorkshire but said it has died out.[2] However, in recent decades, l-vocalization has been spreading outwards from London and the south east​


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    All English accents make a distinction between the vowels in FACE and PRICE (I'm using words from John Wells to refer to vowels: Lexical set - Wikipedia).

    It may be that the FACE vowel in one accent sounds like the PRICE vowel in another accent. However, within each accent the vowels are distinguished.

    For example, in some London or Australian accents you might hear [fʌɪs] not [feɪs], and [prɒɪs] not [praɪs]. (For Cockney, see Cockney - Wikipedia.)


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    And while some speakers may use a vowel (something like [o]) or a [w] sound at the end of 'mail', instead of any kind of [l], those speakers still always distinguish 'mail' and 'mayo'. There is always some difference between the two, for all speakers, regardless of the details of how they make them.


    Senior Member
    For what it's worth, there's a distinct difference between the pronunciation of "mail" and "male" in the subcontinent (and perhaps in other parts of Asia too). The vowel sound in mail is a diphthong, while that in male sounds like the last syllable of resume (as in a CV - I don't know how to get the accent on the e).
    < Previous | Next >