English Pronunciation – Asteroid or A steroid

In Regular English // in 2017 // by

How to Identifiy Words and Sounds in English Listening

Sometimes when you hear people say things, you can’t figure out where one word ends and the other begins. If you stop to think about it, then you miss the rest and you’re ‘up the creek’. Knowing how natives shorten or adjust pronunciation is important. Take two sentences that begin with ‘A steroid…’ or ‘Asteroid…’. How can you tell which is which, apart from the obvious meaning of the whole phrase?

Asteriod belts are common on Saturn

A steroid is something athletes should avoid.

I’ve never heard of a steroid belt on Saturn and we should all be aware of fast flying rocks, not just athletes.

Of course you could wait until the end of the phrase, but if you do, do not think about anything before you hear the end, or you won’t hear the end. Otherwise, you are back in the creek with still no paddle.

So first off, ‘asteroid’ is pronounced [ÁS-troid]. The stress is on the A, which helps, but also it’s a hard A, like ‘cAt’ or ‘mAd’.

The article A in ‘A steroid’, although traditionally can be like AI in ‘train’, is more like an ‘er’ in common English today. It’s a sound which Portuguese doesn’t really have, and which English speakers use a LOOOOOT (that’s emphasis on ‘lot’ not ‘loot’). So ‘A steroid’ would be pronounced ‘er-STÉ-roid’.

In fact, A as an article spoken by real natives is nearly always ‘er’, and when you hear ‘er’, it’s probably the article A, and when you hear ‘á’ it’s probably part of a bigger word.

But not always (sorry) as the ‘er’ sound is used in many other places, but we will see them a bit later.

Or should I say A BIT LATE A

That’s all for now
The Oxonian

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