Hello Students!

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 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.

Posh English pronunciation of ‘garage’ is /ˈgær.ɑːʒ/

A posh car is parked in a luxury garage /ˈgær.ɑːʒ/

/ˈgær.ɑːʒ/

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.


The middle class way of pronouncing ‘garage’ /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/

A picture of a typical middle class garage /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/

/ˈgær.ɑːʤ/

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/.

The sound /ʤ/ in ‘Jade’

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/.

The /d/ sound in ‘dog’
The /ʒ/ sound.

Now combine the two consonants into one sound and say /ɑːʤ/

Now say /ɑːʤ/

The lower class way of pronouncing ‘garage’ /ˈgær.ɪʤ/

Two cars parked close together because these people don’t have a garage! /ˈgær.ɪʤ/
The lower class pronunciation of ‘garage’ /ˈgær.ɪʤ/ (non standard but widely used by native speakers)

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/

Now say /ɪʤ/

The American English pronunciation of ‘garage’ /gəˈrɑːʒ/

The pronunciation of ‘garage’ in American English.

/gəˈrɑːʒ/

Our last pronunciation is the American pronunciation, although you’ll probably find some British people pronounce it that way, because we are influenced by American media.

But we know as a general rule that this is an American pronunciation, because they tend to put the stress on the second syllable. Whereas the British pronunciations put the stress on the first syllable.


Words ending in “age” are pronounced /ɑːʒ/ examples

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.

massage (n) – where you go when your body is aching.
mirage (n) – something that you see in the desert. You think you see water there, but it’s not really there.
camouflage (n) – what people in the army wear to hide from the enemy.
sabotage (n) – what you do to an enemy. So you damage their equipment.
espionage (n) – the activity of spying.

Words ending in “age” are pronounced /ɪʤ/ examples

This time, final <age> spelling is pronounced /ɪʤ/. This is weird. We don’t expect words spelt “A-G-E” to have a /ɪʤ/sound. My students commonly mispronounce these words.

Learn how to pronounce ‘message’, ‘village’, ‘garbage’, ‘average’ and ‘damage’ in British English:

message (n) – Send a text message.
village (n) –  A sleepy village.
garbage (n)- The garbage bin is in the garden.
average (n)- I live on an average street.
damage (n) – There is damage caused to my car in the garage.

Words ending in “age” are pronounced /eɪʤ/ examples

The last pronunciation is spelt with final <age> but pronounced with a /ʤ/ 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.

age (n)
page (n)
rage (n)
stage (n)
gauge (n)
cage (n)

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Jade Joddle grows your confidence and skill to shine when speaking English.

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