How to pronounce the word "reconciliation"
Today (16 December) is a public holiday in South Africa. It's called RECONCILIATION DAY!
But first, some quick facts for the history buffs out there... The 16th of December used be called The Day of the Vow ("Die Geloof") - when, in 1838, the Voortekkers won the battle of Blood River against the Zulus. They vowed to build a church and observe that day as a day of thanksgiving to God for the victory.
In later years, during Apartheid, another historical event took place. After the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, The ANC's passive approach to fighting against Apartheid was no longer regarded as effective. Consequently, on 16 December, 1961, the military wing of the opposition party (ANC) - Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was formed.
Since the birth of democracy in South Africa in 1994, 16 December has been celebrated as Reconciliation Day, recognising both Afrikaans and liberation struggle traditions. It is a day to celebrate and promote reconcilaition and national unity.
"How do I pronounce 'Reconciliation'?" you might ask. This word contains the suffix "-tion". Read on to learn how to say words with this suffix correctly.
A pronunciation lesson: How to pronounce the suffix "-tion"
After that little history lesson, we turn to a quick lesson on how to pronounce words ending with "-tion"...
You might have noticed a few words in the history lesson that end in "-tion". Let's look at how to say these words correctly.
If you are a Spanish speaker, you might pronounce this suffix exactly the way it is spelled. One tricky thing about English is that we do not always pronounce words this way. We have many silent letters and some letter combinations produce less than obvious sounds.
When I teach pronunciaiton, in addition to saying difficult words, broken up into small words or sounds, I also like to re-type some words the way they sound.
The way it should sound
Here is the suffix "-tion" typed the way it should sound:
"-tion" is pronounced "shin"
Let's break it up
There are three sounds that make up this syllable.
First is the unvoiced "sh" sound (like when you are telling someone to keep quiet... "Sssshhh...")
Second is the relaxed, unstressed Schwa sound, represented phonetically by "the upside down e"
Last is the voiced "n" sound for "new", "night" or "nail"
Take a look:
The "-tion" suffix is very common in English
Words ending in "-tion" are usually nouns
The "-tion" is never the stressed syllable
And don't forget - it's pronounced "shin"
The best way to master pronunciaiton is through repetition and practice! Try these to get you going. The words in bold above are included.
*Note: The capitalised syllables are the stressed syllables.
nation >> NAY-shin
lotion >> LOW-shin
action >> AK-shin
tradition >> tra-DI-shin
adoption >> a-DOP-shin
creation >> cree-AY-shin
opposition >> op-i-SI-shin
liberation >> lib-er-AY-shin
combination >> com-bin-AY-shin
repetition >> rep-i-TI-shin
pronunciation >> pro-nun-see-AY-shin
exhilaration >> eks-il-ir-AY-shin
denomination >> din-om-in-AY-shin
Six or More Syllables
reconciliation >> re-con-cil-ee-AY-shin
computerization >> com-pew-ter-ai-ZAY-shin
instramentalization >> ins-tra-men-til-ai-ZAY-shin
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For Spanish students: how to pronounce the Spanish suffix "-ción"
Here are some Spanish pronunciation videos that demonstrate how to pronounce some of the words above in Spanish. These take on the word ending "-ción":
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