In today’s episode you’ll learn how to pronounce the slight difference between the words “Pepper” and “Paper” in English.
[sdm_download id=”873″ fancy=”1″]
Embarrassing English Errors Ep12: Pepper & Paper
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Embarrassing English Errors.
Today we are going to go over the words “Pepper” and “Paper”. So, the “eh” and “ay” vowel sounds.
So, what is “Pepper”? “Pepper” is a pungent hot tasting spice that is often added to foods to flavour them. Or it could also be what we would more say in Australian English, “Capsicum”, but you could also say red, green or yellow peppers. So, red pepper, green pepper, yellow peppers. They’re a type of vegetable.
“Paper” is a material manufactured into thin sheets from wood pulp. You write on paper. Books are made from paper.
Um… so what are some other words in English that sound like “Pepper” and use that “eh ah” sound in them?
And what are some other English words that have that “Ay” or “Ay eh” sound in them like “Paper”?
So, you can obviously see that if you were to go to a restaurant and ask a waiter for something like “Paper” instead of “Pepper” he may bring you the wrong thing. So, if you asked for “Pepper” he’ll bring you pepper, but if you accidentally said “Paper” he might bring you some paper to write on instead of “Pepper”.
So, we can practice the vowel sound now five times back to back. The “Eh” and “Ay”.
Eh – ay x 5
And now “Epper” and “Aper” five times.
Epper – Aper x 5
And now we can do “Pepper” and “Paper” five times.
Pepper – paper x 5
So, that’s all for this episode guys. Remember to send me a message or a comment on Facebook if you have any other words that can be easily mispronounced and confused with one another, or even if you just have some other pronunciation questions. Send me a message of a comment on Facebook or message me on the website. Have a good one guys!
If you guys enjoyed this episode of Embarrassing English Errors then make sure you check out the rest of the episodes and transcripts here. Also, don’t forget to come visit me on Facebook and let me know what you think of the podcast and say hey to the Aussie English community!
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.
About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
You Might also like
By pete — 6 months ago
Learn Australian English in this episode of Aussie English where I teach you the Australian pronunciation of CAN vs CAN’T.
AE 464 – Can vs Can’t | Australian Pronunciation & Accent Training
G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today I have a question from Dan who sent me this on YouTube, and Dan said, “How do we get the difference between can and can’t in Australian English?”. So, how can we pronounce these, and how can we listen out and hear the differences? Let’s go.
Alright, so this was a really good question. Thanks Dan. And remember, if you guys wanna ask me a question that you would like me to do a video on in the future, put that below.
Also, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button and the bell notifications button as well if you would like to stay up to date with all the future episodes.
Alright, so ‘can’, we’ll go through ‘can’ first. ‘Can’ has the vowel sound /æ/. Okay? So, it sounds like words like fan, van, man, plan, and scan. However, ‘can’ can often be contracted, it can be de-emphasized, when it is in a sentence that has other words, where the word ‘can’ is not the focus.
So, ‘can’ is an auxiliary verb and I can use this verb before other verbs if I want to show that I am able to do this thing. I’m able to, I can do this thing. However, it can be contracted, it ‘can’ be contracted into just the schwa sound in Australian English, English everywhere can do this. Okay? “…’can’ do this”. So, if there are words in the sentence after ‘can’ I would generally say that you can contract it. Okay? So, it sounds like ‘can’. I so say this with me.
Can, can, can, can.
Good job. And let me give you some examples, okay?
I can see. I can see. I would never say it like that. Because the word ‘see’ is there, I would say, “I can see”. ‘Can’. The other example here is: can he help you? Can he help you? Can he help you? Can he help you? You’ve got ‘help you’ in there so you can say: ‘can’ he help you? Can help you?
The only thing I want to mention, when it is stand-alone, when it is by itself, in a sentence as in someone has used a question, they’ve ask you, “Can you do this? Can you do this”, and you’ve replied, “Yes, I can.”, you would never contract it. And so, you would say the full, well-pronounced word ‘can’. You wouldn’t say, ‘I can’ or ‘you can’.
So, for example: I can help you later. Can you? Can you? ‘Can’ is the only interesting word in that sentence aside from the pronoun. Can you? Can you? You wouldn’t say: can you? “Yes, I can”, not, “Yes, I can”. Okay?
So, quick recap. ‘Can’ sounds like: van, Dan, man, plan, etc., but it can be contracted when it is not the important word in a sentence, and it can become, it ‘can’ become, ‘can’. Can, can.
Alright, now let’s move onto ‘can’t’. ‘Can’t’. So, this is a different vowel sound. ‘Can’t’ sounds like words including: car, star, far, bar. This is a long /ɐː/ vowel sound, as opposed to a short /ɐ/ vowel sound. Okay? And this happens in the Australian accent where we have this vowel difference. Can, /æ/, can’t, /ɐː/. /æ/, /ɐː/. This is Australian, could be British as well, but it doesn’t happen in the Standard American Accent.
They will say ‘can’ and ‘can’t’, ‘can’ and ‘can’t’, and you have to listen for that T.
However, because we have that vailed difference in Australian accents you won’t often hear the T at the end. You can hear ‘can’, ‘can’, you know that that is the affirmative form, there’s no negative there, ‘can’, ‘can’. And when you hear ‘can’t’, you know, that’s negated because of the vowel sound.
And remember guys, this is different from the short version of this vowel. ‘Hut’ is a very short /ɐ/ sound, but if we make that longer, it changes the meaning of the word to heart, heart. Right? So, this is why it’s important to get this vowel sound right or you will change the meaning of the word and it’s quite bad.
Story time. Okay, so once I was working in a restaurant and the Thai lady, who was my manager at the time, I had to ask for a break. I needed to go on a break. So, I said, “Can I go on break?”, and she replied to me, “No, you cunt”. So, that was incredibly awkward, because I’m sure you guys will know that that word is one of the worst, if not the worst, words in English.
The way in which I told her to get around this was to just make sure she elongates that /ɐː/ sound. So, if you’re worried about making that mistake, just make sure that your elongating the vowel sound in the word ‘can’t’. Okay? Don’t make it quick. Don’t make it quick. Can’t.
Another point we also touched on a moment ago was that we mute the T. So, quite often you won’t hear people say ‘Can’t’, you’ll hear them say ‘can’t, ‘can’t’. So, what’s happening is that that T is a stop consonant where pressure builds up behind the tongue, and then is released, it’s released, but we can un-release it, although that’s not a word, we can prevent it from being released by just going. So, we would say, instead of ‘can’t’, we don’t say the /t/ and instead we just say ‘can’t’, and the tongue stops the air, ‘can’t’.
So, it sounds like a very, very, very short N sound instead of a long N sound. So, this is another way to listen out for this. If you heart, ‘can’t’, ‘can’t’, ‘can’t’, it’s different from ‘carn’, ‘carn’. That N sound is a lot more emphasised in the word ‘carn’ as opposed to ‘can’t’.
So, let’s compare these two words, okay, where will say the T released and then we’ll say unreleased.
Can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t.
As a result of this T being muted as well, when a word follows the word ‘can’t’ and it begins with a vowel sound, quite often we will link these words with an N sound. Okay? That /n/ in ‘can’t’ right at the end there. So, two examples are: I can’t open the door. I can’t open the door. I can’t open the door. N_open, N_open. I can’t open the door.
It can’t end like this. It can’t end like this.
Although, ‘can’ can be contracted to ‘can’, because ‘can’t’ or ‘can’t’ is already a contraction of the words ‘can not’, we won’t contracted any further. Okay? We won’t say ‘can’t’. So, let’s practice pronouncing the differences between ‘can’ and ‘can’t’, okay? Listen out for it.
Can, can’t, can, can’t, can, can’t, can, can’t.
Now I’m going to say to you a list of sentences, guys, and I’m not going to show you what those sentences are until after I have said them, and I want you to see if you can pick when I say ‘can’ or ‘can’ and when I say ‘can’t’. Okay? So, listen and have a think, pause the video if you need, but practice your ear here. This is where you want to listen and see if you can notice the difference in pronunciation. Let’s go.
Listening Comprehension test:
- ____ animals feel?
- She ____ help you.
- I ____ see him.
- He ____ eat now.
- ____ they buy me something?
- ____ you say anyone?
- It ____ end like this.
- We ____ leave when you want.
- I ____ change his mind.
Good job guys. I hope that helps. I know that the different sounds between ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ can be a real pain in the butt. Keep practising it. It will take a little time, but I am sure that you will get the hang of it sooner rather than later.
Remember, guys hit that ‘Subscribe’ button if you want to keep up to date with all the future videos coming out with regards to Australian English or English in general, and don’t forget to listen to the Aussie English Podcast.
This is the free podcast that I create, guys, for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. So, check it out via the website here.
Until next time, guys, I hope you have an amazing day and I’ll see you later. Peace!
- Can animals feel?
- She can’t help you.
- I can see him.
- He can eat now.
- Can they buy me something?
- Can’t you say anyone?
- It can’t end like this.
- We can leave when you want.
- I can’t change his mind.
Learn Australian English even faster in
Each course is a comprehensive
English lesson covering these areas:
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 2,195
By pete — 9 months ago
Learn everyday Australian English in this vlog episode of Aussie English where I give you might thoughts on Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Is it the worst Australian city?
Watch the VLOG video here!
AE 430 – Vlog: Is Canberra the Worst Australian City?
What has my view of Canberra been so far? So, this is actually pretty rare for there to be clouds, strangely enough. I was expecting Canberra to always be overcast. Canberra kind of has this reputation for being cold in Australia. So, I assumed that meant it was always overcast, lots of rain and just cold temperatures, but it’s actually been really hot. I mean, not you know not 30, 40 degrees, but every single day has been mid 20s and as soon as you walk outside and the sun hits you, because usually there are no clouds, you heat up really quickly, and the sun burns. So, Canberra is actually out about seven 700 meters elevation and I’m used to living at about zero, right at the sea level, and so you’re actually closer to the sun, higher up in the atmosphere. So, I don’t know if it has something to do with it. And the reason that Canberra is cold, even though it’s elevated, I guess, that’s part of the reason, but it’s in sort of a basin shape of mountains. So, there’s sort of a circular thing of mountains that go up higher, you might be able to see them here behind me, right over there. That set of mountains kind of rings the whole way around Canberra, you know? And so, that prevents a lot of their movement.
It traps the cold air that occurs here overnight, and that’s why Canberra apparently gets really cold in the evenings. So, hasn’t been too bad, though, to be honest, I’ve been actually quite warm at night time and I have had to actually open the window quite a bit and let the air in, and only sort of three or four in the morning do I start getting cold close the window and put my blankets on. So, Canberra, climate wise, is better than I expected. But at the same time, it’s almost too sunny. I kind of enjoy days like this where, right now, it’s about 12 p.m. It’s lunchtime and I come out and go walking, but usually, at least more recently, these clouds haven’t been here and it’s just been just brutal sunlight coming down and there no shade and, you know, kind of worried about getting sunburnt and everything. I put sunscreen on today, but yeah… So, that’s been fun.
Another interesting fact I guess about Canberra is the fact that on weekends the place empties out, you go into the city on the weekend and there’s just no one there. It’s really bizarre. I guess, because Canberra are sort of fly in, fly out location, and I’m just looking at the kangaroo tracks on the ground here. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see, but you can see these tracks on the ground here on this dirt road, where the kangaroos have obviously come up from down here and they go up into this field, and then we keep seeing them up here at night eating the grass.
So, during the day the kangaroos, while it’s really, really sunny, will actually be sitting under these trees in the shade just chilling out and they tend to be more active in the mornings when the sun’s not yet all the way up, and then in the evenings when the sun’s come down quite a bit, and that’s when you’ll see them out in the fields here, just eating grass. And the crazy thing is, you know, we live about a kilometre that way, currently, if these trees weren’t here, you’d be able to see the house that we’re staying in.
So, anyway, back to Canberra. What was I saying? What was I saying? Losing my track (train*) of thought. Anyway, yeah, so, it’s cold, it’s not too bad, but the sun is really bright, the city’s emptied out on the weekends, which is nice. When you cruise around, it’s not really busy. Like, Melbourne, on weekends, seems to be as busy as it is during the week. There seems to be no real difference. And so, I was sort of expecting that, but that does not happen because everyone flies in, they work here in Parliament, usually in the government, and then on weekends they go home. They fly in, they go home, they fly in, they go home. That tends to be the pattern.
Enjoying Aussie English?
Support AE on Patreon today so I can bring you even better content!
So, it hasn’t been too bad. The only downside, I guess, for me is that it is not close to the beach. It’s about two and a half hours drive to get to the beach, two hours? Two and a half hours? The vegetation type, if I want to be really picky… this is all artificial forest, that’s pine. These aren’t native. These’ve been planted here as a pine farm, I guess, and they’ll chop them down for wood at some point. And most of the surroundings tend to be pretty barren, tend to be pretty bare. Like, this behind me here. There is no real trees in this field. It’s just low grass, and it’s very dry out here. It’s not very wet.
When we went to Bateman’s Bay recently, you can actually see as you drive through the landscape, we drove through the forests and the farms and everything, you can see the gradual change from really sort of… I guess sort of arid-ish, it’s not really desert or anything like that, but dry country land, and the closer to the coast you get the wetter it gets, and I think too the Great Dividing Range is there. So, we go but that. There’s a lot of rainfall, a lot of water, and that’s the kind of country that I really like in Australia. I really love the wet forests, a lot of rain, I love the beach, and so… yeah, I might just turn around here and start heading back.
So, that’s my opinion of Canberra so far. It’s not too bad. Another thing that I noticed, the birds are the same species here. So, we have things like currawongs, crows here, we have the magpie, the black and white magpie, I’m not sure if you can see them, see if I can point it out. There’s one over here in the grass. There’s a few of them. There’s three or four of them over here hunting for food. But one thing that I did notice, and I don’t know if this is because I’m a bit of a biology nerd, they have different calls here which is, you know, it’s unsurprising and the magpies are a different subspecies of Magpie here, they have… again, they’re nowhere near close enough for me to show you, but the magpies in this part of Australia have this black over their back, where down south in Victoria they have a white patch there. So, you can see them and they tend to be… just to have a slightly different patterning. But they have different calls. The crows have a different call. The currawongs have a different call. The magpies definitely have different calls. And so, I guess it’s like anything with languages, right? They have different languages, different languages. So, just something that I noticed when listening out and hearing these birds call in the mornings and during the day and in the afternoon. I know what birds they are, but they have different calls from the ones that I’m used to down south.
So, that’s probably long enough, guys? We’ve been chatting here for about 22 and half minutes.
Oh, one more funny thing to tell you. So, there’re these… these bushes everywhere, right? This is blackberries, these are blackberries, these are blackberry bushes, I don’t know if there’s any fruit that I can show you, but they’re an introduced pest. So, you can probably see down here, they kind of go all the way down the back here. They’re really, really spiky. Let’s see if you can see this. So, this is some right here that’s been… that’s dyed off, I don’t know it’s been sprayed or not, but you can see those spikes. So, they’re really nasty, and these things were introduced when the British got here. I mean, I assume probably 100 or so years after the British got here, but they were introduced as a food source for people who wanted to go hiking. So, I’m just trying to find… and, you know, they’re called blackberries for obvious reasons. They have these beautiful berries on them that are black, that are really tasty. And Quel and I were walking along here and we saw this big thicket of these blackberries and I was like, “Oh my God! Yes! Food”, and picked a whole bunch and ate it, only to walk out and see a sign saying that they’ve been poisoned and don’t eat it. So, fortunately, though, there had been a lot of rain recently, and I’ll give you look down here. And so, I think the poison and everything like that was washed well and truly off the berries themselves. So, nothing happened. We’re all good, we’re all good.
I think… I think I can see some here. Let’s see if I can come down and show you what some of these berries look like. But, again, they’ve been… yeah they’ve all been poisoned and died off. Anyway, so, more blackberries here in the bushes, but they’re another introduced pest species that some, you know, colonialist British idiot brought into Australia thinking he is doing everyone a favour by putting this noxious weed along tracks like this so that people could just pick and eat it, but now you see these weeds everywhere in Australia and they are a big issue, and you’ll see also over here all of these plants are a pest species. There’re all weeds.
Anyway, yeah… so, oh! And I can give you a good look at this. This is why it’s a big problem, right? This is why it’s a big problem. You’ll see behind me, this is just or dense blackberry bushes. So, you can’t even walk through there, because there’s about two metres high of these blackberry bushes that are so prickly and horrible to get near that, you know, and all of this grey stuff here is dead blackberry bushes.
Anyway, guys, I hope you enjoy this sort of Walking with Pete episode where I just got to chill out with you, go for a walk and give you a sort of review of Canberra in our experience here so far. I’m sure you’ll hear more about it in the future. And yeah, thanks for joining me and I will chat you, guys, soon.
Watch other recent vlogs here:
Learn Australian English even faster when you enroll in The Aussie English Classroom!
Each course is a comprehensive English lesson covering these areas:
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 1,358