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English Pronunciation: How to pronounce the -al ending

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Pronouncing -al


The -al ending is different from the word "all." It is a suffix that means "related to" and it is attached to many words.

Rather than pronouncing it with the open A sound in "all," we reduce the A to the simple U in "up." Also, because it is a suffix that changes the form of a word and does not have any extra meaning, we do not stress it.

Pronounce -al as if it were spelled -ul and pronounce it lightly and simply.



Practice for the -al ending

Many words have this suffix. Practice with the word list below. Notice that the words "nation" and "nature" also change in the A sound when the word form changes. Both have a long A sound as nouns and a short A sound as adjectives. Also, in "social" and "partial," the letter I is silent.

Noun
Adjective
  
Noun
Adjective
 
More with -al
center
central
act
actual
manual
front
frontal
fact
factual
gradual
nation
national
dentistry
dental
mental
nature
natural
profession
professional
final
politician
political
society
social
total
economy
economical
part
partial
hospital
occupation
occupational
environment
environmental
principal
event
eventual
fate
fatal
animal

* There are exceptions, of course. Words like "canal" that have the stress on the second syllable will usually have a Short A sound. However, these words are very few in number.




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