Why Are Some Words Pronounced Differently in the English Voice?

In the United Kingdom, "aluminum" is spoken with an additional vowel sound when compared with its pronunciation in the United States. Citizens of the UK normally pronounce it as "ah-loo-MIN-ee-um," while most American English speakers would say "ah-LOO-mi-num."

While most UK and US English speakers will speak with very different accents and using different idioms, there are several words whose pronunciation, word stress and/or syllabification varies markedly between UK and US dialects.

Such words include: "schedule" (UK "SHED-joo-el," US "SKED-joo-el"), "herb" (UK "HERB," US "ERB"), "privacy" (UK "PRiV-ah-see," US "PRAIV-ah-see"), "advertisement" (UK "ad-VERT-iz-mint," US "AD-vert-ais-mint"), and "garage" (UK "GAY-raj," US "guh-RAJ").

While it can be tempting to think of a strong difference between US and UK speakers, there is in fact a great variety of speech patterns and regional dialects within these respective countries and their linguistic spheres of influence, which continue to evolve today. Even within the same location, such as the modern cities of Boston or London, distinctions between economic and ethnic strata can result in greatly varying use of idiom, accent and diction. As such, all generalized distinctions between US and UK speech are somewhat oversimplified, and the true picture is much richer and more complex than is generally believed.