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How To Pronounce Salmon

Syllable Structure

We can segment the spelled word like this:

sal-mon

The IPA for this word is:

ˈsæmən

Let's take a look at each syllables in

.

First Syllable

The first sound in this syllable is , the voiceless alveolar fricative. You can make it by raising your tongue near your alveolar ridge but not touching it while blowing air through that space and making sure your vocal cords aren't vibrating.

The first sound in this syllable is . This is a near-open front unrounded vowel. The tongue should be raised relatively high in the mouth, and the tongue body should be moved towards the front of the mouth. The lips should be unrounded when making this sound. This sound is relatively uncommon for non-native speakers of American English.

This syllable has primary stress. It is longer, louder, and has a rising pitch.

Second Syllable

mən

The first sound in this syllable is . This is a voiced bilabial nasal, made by vibrating your vocal cords and stopping the airflow by pushing your lips together while directing air through your nose.

The second sound in this syllable is <Sound name="schwa" .>. This is a mid central vowel sound. The tongue is positioned in a neutral position when making it. For more information about schwa, the most common vowel in American English, check out our blog post on schwa .

The third sound in this syllable is . This is a voiced alveolar nasal, made by vibrating your vocal cords and stopping the airflow by touching the tip of your tongue to your alveolar ridge while directing air through your nose.

This syllable is unstressed. It is shorter, quieter, and has a lower pitch. Additionally, it contains the schwa vowel, which only occurs in unstressed syllables.

Why Isn't The L Pronounced?

Although

is spelled with a letter "l", the letter is generally not pronounced in English. When
entered the English language, it came from the French word saumon, which is not pronounced with an sound. However, the French word salmon derived from the Latin word salmo. When the word entered the French language, it eventually lost its sound through a process called vocalization, when a consonant, like l, becomes a vowel or semi-vowel. In Old French, the l sound changed to an u sound in certain positions, which is what happened in the word
before it arrived in English. The word for
in Middle English was saumon, reflecting that the letter "l" was not pronounced. However, at a later date, there was a spelling reformation. After the spelling reformation, many words that had Latin roots were spelled in a way that reflected their Latin origins, and the was added back in the spelling of the word
, although the sound had been lost centuries before hand.

An Exception

The exception to this is the last name

, which is commonly pronounced with the sound. This last name has a different origin, and is derived from the name Salomon, which descends from the Hebrew name Shelemo.

Summary

The word

is pronounced with two syllables. The first syllable of
. has the most emphasis, and the second syllable is unstressed. Additionally, although
. is spelled with the letter "l", the word isn't said with an sound, except if you are saying the last name
instead of referring to a fish or a color that is called
.


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