Pronunciation: son, sun, cob, cub, cup, cop...

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comsci

Senior Member
Mandarin, Taiwan(Yankees 40 Wang)
As someone who has studied in Canada for more than a decade, I still find it hard, to be honest, to distinguish/differentiate certain sounds, such as "son" and "sun", "cob" and "cub", "cup" and "cop"..and so on. I have found these words particularly difficult to pronounce correctly. When I hear people say these words and most of the time with proper context, they are quite easily understood. Yet when it comes to my turn of talking, I sometimes have a slip of the tongue when it comes to saying these words. I would presume that this is not comfortable for most(if not all) non-natives as well. How can one improve his/her accuracy of speaking, with special attention paid to words aforementioned. Comments are highly valued.
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    As someone who has studied in Canada for more than a decade, I still find it hard, to be honest, to distinguish/differentiate certain sounds, such as "son" and "sun", "cob" and "cub", "cup" and "cop"..and so on. I have found these words particularly difficult to pronounce correctly. When I hear people say these words and most of the time with proper context, they are quite easily understood. Yet when it comes to my turn of talking, I sometimes have a slip of the tongue when it comes to saying these words. I would presume that this is not comfortable for most(if not all) non-natives as well. How can one improve his/her accuracy of speaking, with special attention paid to words aforementioned. Comments are highly valued.
    If it's any consolation, I'm a unilingual Canadian who has lived in most parts of Canada and you're fighting an uphill battle to find the accuracy of saying these words! :) I say "son" and "sun" with exactly the same pronunciation. "Cob" rhymes with "mob", "cub" rhymes with "pub" and "cop" rhymes with "mop". Note that "cob" and "cop" sound exactly the same... Understand that I grew up mostly in Western Canada - in Ontario, I'm accused of sounding like an American (!). In Atlantic Canada, to my ears, "cup" sounds like "coop" and "cop" sounds like "cawp". So, I'm not sure how to recommend improving your pronunciation other than to say not to worry about it and to go with what sounds right to your ears. Your comfort in speaking is all-important.
     

    comsci

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan(Yankees 40 Wang)
    Thank you Dimcl, that was so encouraging as well as inspiring. Especially when I make verbal faux pas/a slip of the tongue when making a presentation in front of a crowd, I feel it immensely frustrated when people don't understand or not sure of what I'm try to convey. I know exactly what I'm going to say but turned out saying it wrong or incorrectly. I guess it applies to all other languages that are non-native to you though. Thank you once more and I have high regards for your input.

    PS: Thank you too Setwale Charm, and I admit that Chinese being one of the toughest languages to learn. :)
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    As someone who has studied in Canada for more than a decade, I still find it hard, to be honest, to distinguish/differentiate certain sounds, such as "son" and "sun", "cob" and "cub", "cup" and "cop"..and so on.
    There is no difference between son and sun in any variety of English that I am aware of.
     

    Giordano Bruno

    Senior Member
    English, England
    If it's any consolation, the daughter of a friend who migrated from New Zealand to Canada a few years back was given elocution lessons by the Canadian school because she was unable to pronounce correctly her own name, Carla.
     
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