The following question was asked on the main site: How to pronounce 'll after ll?

Despite the question being based on something read on a book, I think that pronouncing a word ending with ll followed by a contraction of will is still possible nowadays.
Maybe people avoid saying "Jill'll come later." and prefer saying "Jill will come later." (I doubt that), but how can a English learner know that he is asking for the pronunciation of something that is rather rare to say in English?

  • I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you campaigning against the close votes that have been cast? In that case I agree; this is a completely valid question (and is something that is quite often spoken in English today, actually). To answer your last question, there really is no way for a learner to know if something is common or not. That's why we're here to tell them :) If you mean something else by your question, please let me know and I'll comment on that instead!
    – WendiKidd
    Apr 18, 2013 at 16:47
  • I am not taking any position about closing that question. I am just trying to understand in which cases questions about pronunciation are acceptable. Even if there would be just a combinations of words that cause that sound combination, the question should still be valid.
    – apaderno
    Apr 18, 2013 at 17:45
  • 5
    I think most "how-do-you-pronounce-this-word" questions are unnecessary, because the pronunciations of most words are easily researched, either on Forvo.com, or by using online dictionaries. However, I think the question you mention is an interesting exception to that generality, because it is not easily answerable from such sources.
    – J.R. Mod
    Apr 18, 2013 at 19:12
  • @JR Knowing the pronunciation of single words doesn't mean you know how two words together are pronounced. Apart that, I read American Accent Training, and I can say I don't even get close to that pronunciation.
    – apaderno
    Apr 18, 2013 at 19:34
  • @kiamlaluno: Sure, that would be another example of a valid pronunciation question – when it's about two words put together and the answer's not readily available by hearing each single word.
    – J.R. Mod
    Apr 19, 2013 at 0:22

2 Answers 2


In my opinion, questions about pronunciation are always valid, so long as the question can't be trivially answered by a dictionary.

For this reason, I'd say that questions like these are off-topic:

How do you pronounce "alumni" (off-topic, dictionary lookup)

How do you pronounce "flibberjabber"? (i.e. off-topic, since the word is not real English)

How do you pronounce "shouldn't"? (dictionary lookup)

Whereas these (in my opinion) would be on-topic:

Is n't pronounced the same in all words like shouldn't, couldn't etc? (can't be trivially solved with a dictionary)

What is the difference between "belovèd" and "beloved"? (borderline - possibly better suited to ELU, but probably also acceptable for ELL).

What is the difference in pronunciation between "cafe" and "café"? Is it the same as the difference between "rose" and "rosé"?


the person wouldn't know until they ask the question and are told that it's a rare occurrence. But even then, it's a fair question that needs to be answered. The learner wouldn't know how rare it is but at a particular point it may boggle them and make them feel insecure about whether they're using the language correctly.

  • 1
    If they looked in a dictionary and the dictionary didn't help, or they had trouble finding what they were looking for, if they mention that in their question, it will help us be able to write a good answer and the question probably wouldn't be closed.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 24, 2016 at 18:50

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