ICAO Level 6 Pronunciation: Top 23 Mispronounced Aviation English Words
I haven’t found anything similar on the Internet so I decided to make my own. Here’s my list of top mispronounced aviation English words. When I publish the first version of this blog post, it includes 23 words but it’ll be growing as I’m going to edit it once I find something worth sharing with you. I spent a lot of time working on it and I truly believe it’ll turn out to be helpful to you. I’ve intentionally recorded only the correct versions; as a matter of fact, I think if you’re exposed to the correct and incorrect variants you may easily be deconcentrated. Hence, only the good pronunciation is purposefully presented. What’s more, you can listen solely to American or British English. The former has a red play button, while the latter – green. If the pronunciation is identical the button is blue; the pronunciation transcription is taken from Cambridge Online Dictionary which I truly recommend for all who need a reliable online resource. I put a lot of energy into this blog post so I’d appreciate your help to share the link to this article with your friends if you find it valuable. Thank you in advance! <3 🙂
UK and US phonetic transcription – /əˈlaɪ.əns/
It’s the same, therefore, I recorded just one version. The problematic area here is the correct pronunciation of schwa sound in both cases – /ə/.
Alliance – UK and US pronunciation:
The difference here is significant, hence two versions are presented below. The first sound are completely different – UK has /ɔː/, whereas US – /ɑː/.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈɔː.təʊˌpaɪ.lət/
Autopilot – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈɑː.t̬oʊˌpaɪ.lət/
Autopilot – US pronunciation:
Just like in “autopilot” above – UK has /ɔː/, while US – /ɑː/ at the beginning.
UK phonetic transcription – /ɔːɡˈzɪl.i.ə.ri/
Auxiliary – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ɑːɡˈzɪl.i.er.i/
Auxiliary – US Pronunciation:
One of my infamous ‘favorites’. Pay special attention to the first sound – /eɪ/. No major distinctions between UK and US here.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /ˌeɪ.viˈeɪ.ʃən/
Aviation – UK and US pronunciation:
The ending is problematic for some students because in most cases they don’t know there is schwa /ə/ sound. In American English /r/ is also pronounced.
UK phonetic transcription – /səˈtɪf.ɪ.kət/
Certificate – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /sɚˈtɪf.ə.kət/
Certificate – US Pronunciation:
One of those words that were implied by many languages and, therefore, some regional variations may often interfere with the English language. It’s also problematic because of schwa sound /ə/ used twice and long /uː/.
UK phonetic transcription – /kəmˈpjuː.tə(r)/
Computer – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /kəmˈpjuː.t̬ɚ/
Computer – US pronunciation:
The main thing which is common in both cases – /s/ at the end is silent. Moreover, listen carefully where the stress is put. In UK ‘debris’, it is located at the beginning of a word, whereas in US version – in the middle.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈdeb.riː/
Debris – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /dəˈbriː/
Debris – US pronunciation:
Schwa. Schwa. Schwa. It’s definitely one of those aspects of a proper pronunciation that causes the most problem for English as a foreign language speakers. In this case /o/ exists only in writing. When you speak, you need to use /ə/.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈer.ə(r)/
Error – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈer.ɚ/
Error – US pronunciation:
Voiced /ð/ is one of my top favorites when it comes to teaching proper pronunciation. It’s quite complicated at the beginning to get used to the proper versions of /th/ sound but practice makes perfect 🙂
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈfeð.ə(r)/
Feather – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈfeð.ɚ/
Feather – US pronunciation:
10. Fibre / Fiber
‘Fibre’ is UK spelling, while ‘Fiber’ – US. The trap here is the correct reading of the second letter – in both cases it’s /aɪ/.
UK phonetic transcription –/ˈfaɪ.bə(r)/
Fibre – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈfaɪ.bɚ/
Fibre – US pronunciation:
This one is quite tricky at first glance but once you hear it correctly, you should have no further problems.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /ɡeɪdʒ/
Gauge – UK and US pronunciation
Greenwich Mean Time. Forget how you read the name of a popular color. The name is totally different than your intuition may suggest.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /ˌɡren.ɪtʃ/
Greenwich – UK and US pronunciation
Long /iː/ combined with the unvoiced /θ/ are a perfect mispronunciation trap. Now you should know how to pronounce it correctly.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈliː.θəl/
Lethal – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈliː.θəl/
Lethal – US pronunciation:
In my opinion, the crucial things here are /k/ in the middle and /ɪ/ at the end. Pay special attention to those two sounds while listening.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /məˈkæn.ɪk/
Mechanic – UK and US pronunciation
Every time you see the prefix micro- remember the second letter is pronounced as /ʌ/. ‘Microburst’ is a perfect schwa /ə/ practice. Listen and check.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /ˈmʌɪkrə(ʊ)bəːst/
Microburst – UK and US pronunciation:
Another candidate for the Mispronunciation Miss World. You need to remember the proper pronunciation of /ɪ/ and /aɪ/ diphthong.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈm/ɪs.aɪl/
Missile – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈmɪs.əl/
Missile – US pronunciation:
Another slightly confusing prefix -multi. It’s used in many languages and their pronunciation differs from English, hence it’s often affected by a speaker’s mother tongue.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /ˌmʌltɪˈɛn(d)ʒ(ɪ)n/
Multiengine- UK and US pronunciation
It’s tempting sometimes to use your own language which has an equivalent in English. But please do not do it if you want to be assessed as an advanced language user.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈpæs.ən.dʒə(r)/
Passenger – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈpæs.ən.dʒɚ/
Passenger – US pronunciation:
The spelling and pronunciation are a big challenge here. Remember about the long /uː/ at the end.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /kjuː/
Queue – UK and US pronunciation
It’s another word which is present in other languages and hence mispronounced. Practice vowels /ɜː/ and /ɪ/.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈsɜː.vɪs/
Service – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈsɝː.vɪs/
Service – US pronunciation:
Honestly, it’s a tongue twister at the beginning because of the unvoiced ‘th’ /θ/, /ɒ/ or /ɑː/ and schwa /ə/.
UK phonetic transcription – /ˈθrɒt.əl/
Throttle – UK pronunciation:
US phonetic transcription – /ˈθrɑː.t̬əl/
Throttle – US pronunciation:
‘Th’ unvoiced sound /θ/ and /ʌ/ are the most vital here.
UK and US phonetic transcription – /θrʌst/
Thrust – UK and US pronunciation:
Another prefix to familiarize with; ultra- is pronounced with a /ʌ/ sound in the first place. There is no other option 😉
UK and US phonetic transcription – /ˈʌltrəlʌɪt/
Ultralight – UK and US pronunciation:
What other words would you add to my list of aviation-related counter-intuitively pronounced words? Which pronunciation delighted you? Share your takes in the comments below or you’re invited to send me an e-mail if you prefer more personal contact. I’d love to know which words should be added to this list and I’d love to edit this article to give you the best quality in one place 🙂