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How To Pronounce Acai

General Word Structure

The word acai is made up of three syllables when pronounced by American English speakers. We can segment them like this:

a-ca-i

The word

comes to English from the Portuguese word açaí, which originated from the Tupi-Guarani word asaí.

First Syllable

The first syllable of

is . This is probably the easiest syllable, since is one of the most common sounds in all the world's languages, you've probably got this one down. Just open your mouth and say "ahh!". Let's move on the next syllable.

This syllable has prominent stress. Don't reduce the sound to the , make a nice, clear sound when saying it.

Second Syllable

The second syllable of the word

is ca. This syllable is going to pronounced as though it were spelled sa, and if we use IPA, that's how we would write this syllable: /sa/. In Portuguese, the word açaí is spelled with a letter, ç, that is pronounced with the sound. However, this letter doesn't exist in the English alphabet, and although we spell with a "regular" c, people generally try to pronounce this word with the sound since that's normally the sound that the letter c occurs before the letter a. So the first sound in this syllable should be pronounced with the sound, and the second sound should be pronounced with a nice open sound.

This syllable has prominent stress. Don't reduce the sound to the , make a nice, clear sound when saying it.

Third Syllable

The third syllable of the word acai is i. This syllable only contains one vowel sound . In Portuguese, the word açaí is spelled with an accented letter i, í, that lets readers know that the last syllable receives the most stress and emphasis. However, since we don't use accents for English letters, people won't know just by looking at the word

that the last syllable should be emphasized.

Part of what makes this so difficult for people who are speaking English to pronounce is that this word has an unusual stress pattern, with emphasis on the last syllable. Additionally, this last syllable is only made up an sound that follows another vowel, . This is extremely rare in English, usually an and an sound is said quickly together within the same syllable to make the diphthong . Let's take a look at how to pronounce these syllables in detail.

Summary

Pronouncing

is difficult for many speakers because the way it is pronounced is very difficult from common pronunciation patterns used in English. Many people guess there are two syllables, but there are three syllables: a (pronounced /a/), ca (pronounced /sa/), and i (pronounced /i/). Additionally, the first two syllables are said fairly loudly, with similarly long length, and the last syllable should be pronounced fairly loudly, with a long length, and a rising pitch. This is very different than most English words where at least one of the syllables is made unstressed by making it quieter, shorter, often with a sound, and with a lower pitch. Make sure when you pronounce this word, you pronounce the first and second syllables clearly for a similar amount of time, and then raise your pitch on the last syllable, while making sure that last is long and easy to hear.


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