In today’s commonly confused words blog post we are showcasing the words “flour” and “floor.” Like the other words featured in our commonly confused word pairings series, these words differ from one another by a single vowel. However, those working to refine their speech in English accent training may not be aware that “flour” is also an example of a homonym. A homonym is a pair of words that have identical pronunciations, but different meanings, irrespective of how each word is spelled. The homonym to flour is flower.
Flour Vs. Floor
Throughout your English accent training, you must occasionally step back and do a self assessment regarding the current state of your speech. Take note of any words, or to be more accurate-sounds-that you are having difficulty pronouncing. You may have gotten into a pattern of purposely avoiding specific English words and/or sounds in your day to day speech because using them makes you feel self conscious about your accent. Such tactics may work in the short term, but ultimately limit how effectively you can articulate your ideas. By reading articles such as these however, working in concert with your accent coach, you can stay on the path towards clearer speech.
To pronounce “floor”, blend the first syllable together by biting your lip slightly and moving the tongue behind your top teeth in a single fluid motion. Elongate the final syllable by rounding your lips, finishing by opening your mouth widely for instructional purposes. Reverse the order of the aforementioned final two steps when you go to pronounce “flour”, keeping your mouth wide open and ensuring that you emphasize the -our portion of the word when pronouncing the word by itself.
Say the words in quick succession of one another at a slow, yet steady speed. This allows you to become familiar with the position of your lips and tongue as you pronounce the word as well as the sound of the word itself. Gradually work your way up pronouncing each word at your regular speaking speed. Try to use them in conversation as soon as possible, just to see if you notice any differences in how you say the words when having to deal with outside factors that can influence the prominence of your accent. These include: stress, your level of emotion while speaking, and vocal inflection.
Example sentence: The last baker was fired for constantly getting flour on the floor around his work space.
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