How to pronounce radius, circumference, diameter

How to pronounce radius, circumference, diameter

If you ever talk about circles in English, it is useful to know how to pronounce the words radius, circumference, and diameter.

radius: Both the British and the American pronunciation is [ˈreɪdiəs], listen to it here. German native speakers should be careful not to pronounce the word in the German way, [‘rɑːdiʊs]. Finally, the plural of radius is radii, which is pronounced as [ˈreɪdiaɪ].

circumference: The word is to be stressed on the second syllable, not the third. Stressing it on the third syllable often leads to a pronunciation similar to the word interference. Instead, the correct pronunciation is [səˈkʌmfərəns] in British English, and [sərˈkʌmfərəns] in American English. In particular, whereas the third syllable of interference is pronounced just like the word fear, the -ference in circumference is pronounced just like -ference in the word conference. Listen to the pronunciation here.

diameter: Similar to circumference, people often stress diameter on the third instead of the second syllable. Moreover, diameter is another example where -meter is not pronounced like the unit of distance but with a short i instead, see my previous post on the subject. The British pronunciation is [daɪˈæmɪtə(r)], whereas the American pronunciation is [daɪˈæmɪtər]. Listen to it here.


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