English Pronunciation Lesson | -TION suffix

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

There are literally THOUSANDS of English words that end in -tion … So getting your pronunciation of this everyday suffix is a good idea!

I’ve also got a little secret tip to improve your speech so that you sound more natural when you speak English!


Video Transcript
Section 1
Hello I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! I’ve got a pronunciation lesson for you today, one that I think you’ll find incredibly useful. I’m going to give you some tips that will help you to pronounce thousands of English words. Words that end in -tion.

Now I bet that you’re already thinking of some examples of English words that end in -tion, aren’t you? There are so many!

This past of the word is a suffix, a common ending in an English word. Now words that end like this in English are almost always a noun. And the pronunciation of this syllable is always unstressed. It’s always an unstressed syllable which means it’s really quick. Yeah, -tion is pronounced.

If it was written like it’s supposed to sound it would be like this… ʃ ə n

These are the phonetic symbols, the sounds, not the letters.

ʃ  – an invoiced consonant sound
ə – the unstressed vowel sound, the schwa
n  – a voiced consonant sound

Now bring all of those sounds together and you get -tion

It’s really, really fast. In fact, often the schwa sound is absorbed into the consonant sounds around it.

Now these words are a special bonus for Spanish and Portuguese, Italian and French and German and Dutch native speakers because there are patterns between words in your language and words in English which means you instantly know the meaning of thousands of English words.

The pronunciation rules that you learn in this lesson will help you to correctly pronounce all of these words in English.

Okay let’s build up with some extra syllables to practise using this suffix within some bigger words. Okay? Practise out loud with me.

  • caution
  • tradition
  • frustration
  • conversation

Now there are a couple of exceptions to this pronunciation rule. Just a couple, so don’t worry! When the consonant sound is the sound right before the -tion, the pronunciation becomes /ʃən/ instead of….

  • question
  • exhaustion
  • digestion

One of the wonderful patterns that exists in English is that you can attach -tion to the end of many verbs to create a noun. It creates the noun that is the action of the verb. I mean, take a look at how many there are, and these are just a few!

In an earlier lesson, I talked about the importance of word stress in spoken English. Using the correct word stress will help you to sound much more natural when you speak English. Like I said, the -tion suffix is always unstressed. So which syllable should you stress? It’s actually simple, it’s the syllable before -tion.

The stress pattern is consistent throughout English pronunciation. The syllable before -tion is the stressed syllable.

  • action
  • caution
  • tradition
  • frustration
  • connection
  • donation
  • repetition
  • inspiration
  • construction
  • invention
  • infection
  • description
  • collection
  • interruption
  • population
  • celebration
  • innovation
  • transformation

It’s consistent across all syllables. -tion doesn’t have to be the final suffix either, it can be followed by -al or -ally.

  • traditional
  • traditionally
  • international
  • internationally

But the stress pattern is exactly the same – even now! The stress syllable is the one before -tion

Well that’s it for this lesson! I hope that this little pronunciation tip showed you just how easy it is to start practising the correct pronunciation of all of these words. Remember that there are thousands of them in English.

Make sure you subscribe and check out some of my other pronunciation lessons right here.

Thanks for watching today and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now!

Links mentioned in the video

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