Actual pronunciation of ‘World Cup’ will surprise you

The glorious cup

Akeem Lasisi

Yes! The real pronunciation of ‘World Cup’ will shock you. The reason is that, most times, the phrase is mispronounced by many people. Note that I didn’t have to say ‘The reason why is because…’ as some would put it. I just noted, ‘The reason is that…’, which conveys the same sense in the winding and tautological ‘The reason why is because…’

Often, many mispronounce the ‘or’ in ‘world’ as the long ORR (/ɔ:/) that we have in warmth, ward, lord, Ford and saw etc. This should not be because the phonetic vowel in ‘world’ is not the same as the one in each of those just listed. Rather, it is the ERR sound, the /ɜː/ as we have in worth, earth, first, birth and even word. So, ‘world’ should be pronounced like wERRld, not wORRd. It is transcribed as /wɜːld/, not /wɔːd/.

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Cup too is not Cop! Instead, it is like Cuhp. In other words, it is transcribed as /kʌp/, not /kɒp/. This means that the pronunciation of ‘cup’ and ‘cop’ are surely not the same. You will, however, bear me witness that eight out of every ten folks, especially in our part of the English-speaking world, articulate cup as cop.

As a matter of fact, many words in which we have the intriguing vowel /ʌ/ is usually phonologically murdered. It may amuse you to note that it is the sound you have in the spots in capital letters in the following words too: cUpboard, cOme, mOther, blOOd and cOUntry. Now, how many times have you NOT mispronounced the terms based on how you handle /ʌ/?

Conclusion: Explore online resources to practise the correct pronunciations of ‘world’ and ‘cup’.

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