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English Pronunciation – British and American Pronunciation

English pronunciation is not always predictable from the spelling forms that you see. Words that look the same might have very different pronunciations. For example, cough, tough, through, bough, though, borough all end in ough but all have a different British English pronunciation (though in American English pronunciation, the last syllable of borough rhymes with though).

Online dictionary with audio pronunciations

Each Macmillan Dictionary definition comes with free audio pronunciation and may help you with your English pronunciation in two ways:

  • every headword is spelled out using the International Phonetic Alphabet; where more than one pronunciation is acceptable, variations are shown
  • most headwords have a pronunciation button ; if you click on the button you will hear the audio pronunciation. In the British edition, you will hear the British English pronunciation, and in the American edition, you will hear the American English pronunciation. For example, the audio pronunciation will illustrate the difference between British tomato and American tomato, where the middle vowel is different. Or try laboratory, which in British English pronunciation has the primary stress on the second syllable, but in American English pronunciation has the primary stress on the first syllable.