Pronunciation of Please

Posted on Posted in How To Pronounce

Pronunciation please, a simple and common word in the English language, could present several challenges to Spanish-speaking students, one of whom requested that I precisely explain the difference between the pronunciation of the light [l] and dark [l] as well as other pronunciation problems found in word [please].
There was my answer:
The [l] in [please] is a light [l] as it is before vowel [ea], not AFTER a vowel like dark [l] as it would be in [deal] for example.
In terms of the other problems with the word [please], there are several as follows:
1-[l], which is not a major problem as the word can still be understood, is pronounced as a typical European [l] where, despite the correct positioning of the tip behind the upper teeth or alveolar ridge, the body of the tongue is too high, where it should be low. Watch the clip below and listen to the difference in the pronunciation of the American l and French l in one of Christmas’ most famous tunes “fa la la la la la la la”.

2-[ea] should be pronounced as a long and tense vowel /i:/ as [sheep] [feet] or [beat] but Spanish speakers pronounce it too short like /ɪ/ same as [ship] [fit] or [bit] etc
3-[se], which is a voiced consonant /z/, is pronounced as /s/ by Spanish speakers, which means that it’s de-voiced at the end of the word [please].

There you go, 3 mistakes in one syllable 🙂 I hope that helps.

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