I'm trying to figure out a way to compute a score for the pronunciation of a given english word, so I can use that score to compare the pronunciation complexity between english words.

Eg: Given words apple and banana, determine which one is harder to pronounce based on that score.

Please share your thoughts. Thanks.


1 Answer 1


I think first you need to define "pronunciation complexity." Is it a measure of the amount of time it takes the average L2 learner to correctly pronounce the word? Or, a measure of the diversity of phonemes in the word. Operationalizing your variable will help immensely in clearing up your goal.

Suppose you want to measure complexity by the diversity of phonemes in the word. You could then find a dataset of phonemes for each English (or other language) word. Then you could do something like, calculate the entropy of each phoneme set per word. Or maybe the Shannon diversity (although this might not perform well for sets with very low specie occurrences). You could also vectorize each word and perform some measure of similarity between words.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. Once you update your question with a clear goal in mind it will be easier to help you more concretely!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. I still don't have an exact definition for pronunciation complexity. All I want is a way to compare the pronunciation of english words and figure out which one is harder to pronounce. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ Well then your first step should be to define complexity. From there on you can seek out more specific help! $\endgroup$
    – Alex L
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 15:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.