Together we are going to breakdown the four different English pronunciations of the word ‘garage’.
The way you pronounce this word says something about you in terms of your social class. You probably didn’t know that.
So based on your pronunciation of this word we’re going to find out whether you are posh, if you’re at the top of the social scale, or whether you are one of the common people, if your speech is like that of the common man.
If you would like to change your pronunciation of this word to make it sound posh, I will also teach you how to do that in this lesson.
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How to Pronounce ‘Garage’ in British English
In the English language, there are four different ways that you can pronounce the word ‘garage’. Each pronunciation will reveal whether you’re posh, common, somewhere in the middle, or perhaps even American.
Once we’ve discovered the four pronunciations, we’re going to learn similar words that end with this spelling pattern.
The posh pronunciation of ‘garage’ is /ˈgær.ɑːʒ/. In the picture below, a posh car is parked in a luxury garage:
The last sound in here is a very French sounding phoneme /ʒ/. Note that it sounds slightly different at the end of ‘garage’ because it is positioned at the end of the word where it is devoiced. This means it doesn’t sound as ‘strong’.
How to Pronounce the /ʒ/ in ‘garage’
A quick demonstration of how to pronounce it. Make a “dah” sound, and that spot where your tongue touches, leave a gap and let the air travel through as your vocal cords vibrate. /ʒ/ – It’s not a sound made with your tongue touching, but it’s in a similar place. You’ve got to leave a gap.
Middle Class Pronunciation
The middle class pronunciation of ‘garage’ is /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/. In the picture below, you can see a typical middle class garage:
If we study the IPA /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/, it’s very similar to the posh pronunciation of ‘garage’. The difference is the last phoneme; /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/
In this case there is a /ʤ/ like in my name, ‘Jade’ /ˈʤeɪd/.
But because /ʤ/ is at the end of the word in this case, it’s not as strong as it sounds at the beginning because it is devoiced. If you have a look at the symbols you will notice it is made up of two symbols.
It begins pretty much like a /d/, and it ends like a /ʒ/.
Now combine the two consonants into one sound and say /ɑːʤ/
Lower Class Pronunciation
The lower class pronunciation of ‘garage’ is /ˈgær.ɪʤ/. This is a non-standard but widely used pronunciation of the word. In the picture below, two cars are parked close together on the street because neither of these people has a garage!
For the third pronunciation /ˈgær.ɪʤ/ we’re getting a little bit different now, because we’ve got a different vowel here /ˈgær.ɪʤ/. The last sound in the word is /ɪʤ/
In American English ‘garage’ is pronounced /gəˈrɑːʒ/, although some British people pronounce it that way too. This is because we are influenced by American media.
As a general rule, we can tell this pronunciation is an American one because they tend to stress words on the second syllable. This is in contrast to British pronunciations, which are more likely to be stressed on the first syllable.
How to Pronounce Words Ending in ‘age’
Let’s look at the spelling patterns and the pronunciation patterns for words ending in “age” pronounced /ɑːʒ/. These example words are like the posh pronunciation of the word garage /ˈgær.ɑːʒ/.
Learn how to pronounce ‘massage’, ‘mirage’, ‘camouflage’, ‘sabotage’ and ‘espionage’ in British English. Repeat after me…
Pronunciation Pattern Two for Words Ending in ‘age’
Final <age> spelling is also pronounced /ɪʤ/ in some words. This is weird. We don’t expect words spelt “A-G-E” to have an /ɪʤ/sound. My students commonly mispronounce these words.
Learn how to pronounce ‘message’, ‘village’, ‘garbage’, ‘average’ and ‘damage’ in British English:
Words ending in “age” are pronounced /eɪʤ/ examples
The last pronunciation is spelt with final <age> but pronounced with a /eɪʤ/ sound. This is a good way to show you that the same spelling pattern can be pronounced in different ways.
Learn how to pronounce ‘age’, ‘page’, ‘rage’, ‘stage’ and ‘gauge’ in British English.