Learn English – Difference in starting pronunciations of “station” and “sun”


Why do some English speakers have different starting pronunciations of station and sun? Station is pronounced as e-station while sun simply as sun. Is the difference due to the fact that the second letter is a vowel in sun but not in station?

Best Answer

If you look up the official pronunciation of 'sun' and 'station' you get respectively

  • sun - /sʌn/
  • station - /ˈsteɪʃən/

with no notated difference. No standard or dialectal variety of English has any difference either.

But it is the case in many foreign languages that they do not allow the complicated consonant cluster of /s/ followed by a harder consonant, or some change is needed to the /s/. Then this gives a sound change when they try to speak English.

This is especially true of Spanish where there are many close cognate words or borrowings from the same source (Latin). For example:

school (En) - escuela (Sp)

This is a pattern for 's' followed by 't', 'p', or 'k'. There is a tendency for native Spanish speakers to naturally say the English word 'school' as 'ehs-kool', which is closer to their own native pronunciation.

In Japanese, because any consonant pair is forbidden, they tend to put a vowel -between- an English word that has two consonants 'suh- koo -luh' (and a vowel at the end.

So I suspect that the 'estation' pronunciation that you are hearing is from a non-native speaker of English that speaks a native lanaguage that treats 'st' differently than English. No native variety of English has a difference between 'sun' and 'station' for 's'.

The 't' in 'station' is a whole nother story.