A frequently asked question from any aspiring speller is “How carry out you recognize the correct pronunciation of a word?” The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a mechanism of pronunciation signs (also called diaimportant marks or diacritics) that will certainly tell you exactly how to pronounce the word. In any dictionary entry, the pronunciation signs will certainly be best following the spelling of the word.

You are watching: Mark placed above a vowel to indicate pronunciation


(You have the right to uncover a complete list of all Merriam-Webster pronunciation signs at http://unaconnected.merriam-webster.com/info/pronicons.html ).

Learning all these icons may be overwhelming for new spellers. In this short article, we will certainly break dvery own this list of pronunciation symbols so you will come to be a master in reading diacrucial marks!


Schwa (pronounced /shwä/): ə

One of the the majority of widespread diacritics is the schwa, which looks favor an upside-down e (ə). This is a neutral vowel sound, pronounced prefer “uh,” as in banana, circus, and collect. This is often the hardest sound for a speller to number out bereason it deserve to be spelled with any vowel: a, e, i, o, u, or also y.

Short Vowel Sounds: a, e, i, o, and also u

Whenever tbelow is a simple vowel with no marks on it, it is pronounced through a short sound.

Brief vowel sounds:

a- “aa” sound as in had or cap

e- “eh” sound as in set or head

i- “ih” sound as in mitten or sip

Macron (pronounced /mā-ˌkrän/): ā, ē, ī, ō

A macron is a straight line ( ) that is put over a vowel. This symbol offers a vowel a lengthy sound.

Long vowel sounds:

ā- “ay” sound as in day

ē- “ee” sound as in bead

ī “ii” sound as in site

ō- “oh” sound as in snow

Diaeresis (likewise spelled dieresis, pronounced /dīˈerəsəs/): ä and ü

A diaeresis is two dots (..) that are inserted on top of a vowel. A diaeresis is offered when the vowel ‘a’ or ‘u’ are pronounced favor they are “extended out”.

ä- “ah” sound as in bother or cot

ü- “oo” sound as in moose or rule or shoe

In German words, these two dots can additionally be called an umlaut. An umlaut is offered when a Gerguy vowel is pronounced prefer a mix of two vowel sounds. One instance is the word kummel, which is pronounced /kiməi/. Notice exactly how the letter ‘u’ in kummel is pronounced prefer a brief ‘i,’ that’s exactly how an umlaut works.

Stress Symbols: ‘ and also ,

Stress icons tell you which syllable of the word has actually the many tension, or focus. If a syllable is stressed, that suggests you put some extra pressure or push as you say that syllable. Stressed syllables are pronounced slightly louder and also much longer than unstressed syllables.

The diacrucial mark (‘) suggests primary tension. This implies that you put the a lot of stress, or emphasis, on the syllable that comes right after this mark.

The diaimportant mark (,) shows second anxiety. This means that the syllable after this sound likewise has some stress, however it is not as a lot as the major stress.

Stress on the word have the right to make all the difference in what it implies. For instance, the word “present” can have two different meanings relying on wbelow you put the stress and anxiety.


Further Symbols:

ŋ- “ng” sound as in sing

au̇- “ow” sound as in out

ȯi- “oy” sound as in boy

Now let’s take a mini-test! Read the pronunciations and attempt to guess what the word is.

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By learning exactly how to review pronunciation symbols, you can learn just how to correctly pronounce eextremely word in the dictionary, which will help you in spelling bees. With some endure, you will certainly have the ability to check out these pronunciation icons so conveniently that they will become favor a second language, and also you will certainly have the ability to exercise words faster.