There are over 600 adjectives in the English language that end in -inal. What does this suffix mean? The -inal suffix after a root word means “relating to.” For example, medicinal means “relating to medicine.” The tricky part is that some -inal words often get long (one of them is 23 letters long!) because they are latinate (of Latin origin). Long words are often the trickiest to pronounce, right? Let’s take a look at a rule that will help you out next time you have to pronounce a word that ends in -inal.
Rules on how to pronounce –inal words:
- Place the syllable stress on the syllable just before the -inal combination.
- To pronounce these words naturally, you should also pronounce the “i” and “a” as schwas. Both vowels take on a schwa sound because they’re not stressed. For example, abdominal sounds like /ahb-DOM-uh-nuhl/
Examples to practice with:
Here is a list of some common words that end in -inal. Practice saying them out loud, following the 2 guidelines above. Then, listen to the audio to compare your pronunciation to that of a native speaker.
- Practice words:
Abdominal Nominal Criminal Medicinal
Latitudinal Seminal Nominal Seminal
Longitudinal Subliminal Pronominal Terminal
Ready for some practice in context? Try reading the following sentences out loud.
- The medicinal plant relieves abdominal cramps.
- Follow the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates to locate the terminal.
- Criminal charges were laid against the group’s nominal leader for the subliminal messaging in his seminal book.
To learn more about patterns of syllable stress and vowel sounds in words with the same suffix, check out these articles
To learn more about syllable stress and practice using it correctly in conversation, join SpeakUp, a dynamic program that engages you in authentic conversations on relevant topics and provides you with feedback from a professional and experienced English teacher. In fact, the first week is free for you to try it out!