In today’s advanced English pronunciation lesson, I’ll teach you how to pronounce echinacea, which is a plant that is used as a herbal medicine. We’re going to look at this word in detail because it is commonly mispronounced by everybody! In the second part of the lesson, we will look at some words that share the same pronunciation pattern.
Echinacea is a plant that is used as a herbal remedy to prevent the onset of a cold. The word comes from Ancient Greek, in which the word ‘ekhînos‘ means hedgehog. This refers to the spiky appearance of the plant, which is reminiscent of a hedgehog.
The word ‘echinacea’ is commonly mispronounced because it contains a <ch> spelling that is pronounced as a /k/. When this spelling pattern from the Greek language occurs in unfamiliar English words, it often causes mispronunciations.
It’s important to note that there is no /h/ sound in the word echinacea. ❌
Now, let’s look at the word transcribed in IPA: /ˌe.kɪˈneɪ.ʃə/
Notice that the word contains four syllables, and that the main stress is on the third syllable ‘NAY’, which is the same sound that a horse makes.
A second reason echinacea is mispronounced is due to the final ‘acea’ part of the word, in which the <ce> spelling represents a ‘sh’ sound /ʃ/. This spelling and pronunciation pattern also occurs in the word ‘ocean’ /ˈəʊ.ʃən/.
We will now turn our attention to words that will help us to remember the correct pronunciation of echinacea.
‘ch’ Spelling is Pronounced /k/
Here are some words that retain a Greek spelling pattern, in which <ch> spelling is pronounced as a /k/ sound. A few of the words in the list are commonly mispronounced by intermediate-level English learners.
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