It has been a while since we have focused on English pronunciation practice. Today we will focus on words that end with an OGG or EEK sound. Normally, when you listen to enough native English, you will pick up the correct pronunciation, but as always with English there are some words which you pronounce completely differently to the written words.
It’s one reason listening to words is superior to reading them. When you read you are usually
using an inner voice to [vocalise](https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/vocalise) those words in your head, often we make assumptions and mistakes that result in incorrect pronunciation. When you listen to a native English speaker, you are being given a lot of additional information during your learning.
There are a lot of letters (Grapheme) that suggest they should have a certain sound (Phoneme) when you read them but the actual sound is quite different. Here in the UK if you are a very young child in the education system you might well learnt the relationship between words and sounds using phonics.
Our approach to solving this relationship between what you read and how you pronounce it, is to use listening, lots of listening.
Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English.
Pronunciation is one of the struggles people have when they learn a language. Often language learners dream of getting to a stage where they speak the language so well, that they don’t have an accent at all. I think that this is a very high goal to aim for – and perhaps unrealistic for most people.
Unless you start learning a language early on in your life, you’re unlikely to sound like a native speaker. And
it’s absolutely fine to have an accent, it’s part of you – and tells about where you are from, it’s part of your history and what makes you unique. You can speak English perfectly well, with an accent.
But what most language learners are afraid of is making mistakes in their pronunciation. And the fear is often around the conversion of a word that you see written down to the spoken word. You want to be able to read a word you don’t know and still be able to pronounce it correctly, or at least well enough to be understood. But English is a difficult language in this regard. It’s very inconsistent and the same sound can be spelt lots of different ways. And the same spelling can have different pronunciations in different words.
A photograph of a beautiful spring daisy meadow in summer bloom. Used to help explain English EEK and OGG pronunciation.
At least in other European languages, certain spellings tend to be consistent with certain pronunciations – it’s the same throughout the language. The problem with English is that it’s such a conglomeration, such a mix of different languages from its history. We’ve borrowed words and word forms from all over the place. So it’s pretty inconsistent.
So where there is a rule which is pretty much fixed, where the rule actually works most of the time for the pronunciation, then that’s worth learning. So today, I’m going to give you a couple of quick rules for pronunciation – when you’re pronouncing a word that you’ve seen written down. Two rules actually, but they are similar. I think I’m going to call them ‘eek’ and ‘ogg’?!
‘Eek’ first of all. So the first one - words ending in -I-Q-U-E. On the whole these are pronounced ‘eek’ – as though it was -E-E-K spelling. It might look as though it would be pronounced ‘i-que’ but no, it’s usually ‘eek’.
So words like:-
- Clique (though that last one, sometimes we say ‘click’)
And of course, these are all words we’ve borrowed from the French language.
Of course, it’s English so there’ll be some exceptions! And exceptions are appliqué, A-P-P-L-I-Q-U-É – which is a type of sewing craft – you sew different coloured fabric together. Even on this, UK pronunciation is ‘appliqué’, whereas the US pronunciation is more like ‘appliqué’. The clue and it’s not always there, is that this word is from French too, but it should have an accent on the final é, which shows that it’s pronounced – appliqué.
And the other word which is similar is communiqué! C-O-M-M-U-N-I-Q-U-É. So without the accent on the final ‘e’, it looks as though it should be pronounced ‘communique’, but actually it’s ‘communiqué’. And a communiqué means an official statement, an official communication.
So those words again – technique, boutique, antique, critique, physique, oblique, clique, BUT appliqué and communiqué. All of these words come from the French, where the accent on the final é matters to the pronunciation. So although in English, we may not even put the accent there, the fact that it once was there still determines the pronunciation for appliqué and communiqué. And if you’re being absolutely correct, the accent should really still be there. Tricky, perhaps?
And I promised you two rules, didn’t I? So the second one is a bit simpler. If you see words which end in -O-G-U-E – then mostly they’re pronounced ‘ogg’ – as though they’re spelt -O-G-G.
So examples of these words are:-
So although they’ve got a -O-G-U-E, you don’t say ‘oh-gue’, you ignore the U-E on the end and just say ‘ogg’. Catalogue.
Again exceptions – be careful with the shorter words that are spelt like this. V-O-G-U-E is pronounced ‘vogue’, R-O-G-U-E is pronounced ‘rogue’ and B-R-O-G-U-E, a type of shoe is pronounce ‘brogue’.
And just a bit more complexity, again from across the Atlantic! In US English, it’s more common to spell some of these words with a simple OG ending, like it sounds. So catalogue, is C-A-T-A-L-O-G-U-E in UK English, but CATALOG in US English – it’s been simplified. And it’s the same with analog, A-N-A-L-O-G and dialog, D-I-A-L-O-G. You can also do it with monolog, travelog and epilog. But syngogue keeps its -G-U-E in American English, just as vogue, rogue and brogue do.
So there you are. There’s quite a bit to learn there. And unless you’re exceptionally knowledgeable about the English language, there’s probably something there that you didn’t know before. And even if you did know all that, it’s good to have a revision session!
If you’re enjoying our podcasts, then don’t forget there are 75 podcasts available to listen to on our website at adeptenglish.com. But if you’d like to really move along quickly in your English language learning, then altogether there are 340 podcasts – and you can purchase older podcasts, in bundles of 50 for a small fee.
So you need never run out of English language learning material – you can make sure that you’ve always got an Adept English podcast to listen to, on your phone or your mobile device.
That way, while you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for your train, going for a run or queuing for something, wherever you are, there’s no wasted time – you can be improving your understanding and your fluency in spoken English! Wherever you are!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.