Pronunciation of "second"

The phonetic symbols for “second” is

uk /ˈsek.ənd/ us /ˈsek.ənd/

But I notice native speakers pronounce the word as sek.end.

What is the reason for this?



It’s easier to pronounce. Words will usually move toward what is easier and faster to pronounce.


This is exactly the same with words like ‘obvious’. Normally, you should pronounce the ‘b’, however, it isn’t done any more. What you in fact hear is ‘ovious’.

Just like the following sentence: ‘In the end there’ll be nobody left standing but me.’, but I sometimes here : ‘In the end they’ll be nobody left standing but me.’

Ofcourse, I could be wrong. If am don’t hesitate to correct me.

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I think that “obvious” is a different case.
The pronunciations of “b” and “v” are very close together. I definitely feel myself pronouncing the “b” to start the sound, but it’s not obviously distinct from the following “v” sound.


Thank you Arinker. But there’s another problem that non-natives have deal with and that’s perception. How do non-native perceives texts and lyrics of songs? When I bought my first CD of Céline Dion and put in on, I thought: ‘What the bloody hell is she singing?’ Afterwards, when I read the lyrics, I did understand.
In 1976 ABBA released their single ‘Dancing Queen’, I was only five years old at the time and wanted to sing along with them. It starts with: ‘Friday night and the nights are low’. You know what I sang? Ninety-nine and lights are on. Do you understand what I mean, my dear friend? Perception is that the right word, in this case?
Bye, the way, I hope you and your wife still go head with buying a stair lift for your parents-in-law. However, make sure the package is without Gremlins.


Don’t feel bad about this. It happens all the time.
Credence Clearwater Revival had a song with the line “there’s a bad moon on the rise".
Famously, many native English speakers hear it as “there’s a bathroom on the right”.
Apparently, sometimes the group sings it that way in concert.


I’ve always had a hard time understanding song lyrics. For much of my life I considered vocals as just another instrument that makes sounds. In most songs I thought the words were incidental.

I remember friends who played in bands and did cover songs. This was long before you could look up lyrics online. They’d sit with their record player and listen to short sections of songs over and over again trying to figure out the words.

Of course they did the same thing with instrumentals. But you could figure out the key pretty quickly. With a basic understanding of chords and progressions, it was much easier to guess what they were doing. With lyrics it could be almost anything and doesn’t even have to make sense.

This all reminds me of an early viral video on YouTube called “Ken Lee”. It was a talent contest in Bulgaria. The singer obviously didn’t know much English.The singer tried to sing phonetically without actually understanding the words. She miss-sang the line “can’t live” as “Ken Lee”.

Back to the original question. When said quickly, there is little difference between:
second ( like pond )
second ( like end )
second ( like under )
I think I personally pronounce it more like “under” with a slight “end” sound. I definitely don’t pronounce it like pond.

A similar word is ‘monk’. Most people pronounce it like ‘junk’ or ‘trunk’. There are a small number of people who pronounce it like ‘honk’ or ‘bonk’.


Hi Arinker,

I just listened to ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ live by Creedence Clearwater Revival. They’re absolutely wonderful. I like them.