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Walk vs wok

  • Walk and wok are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words walk and wok, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.



     

    Walk means to travel on foot, to move through space by putting one foot in front of the other. Walk is also used as a noun to mean to go somewhere by putting one foot in front of the other. Related words are walks, walked, walking. The word walk is derived from the Old English word, wealcan, which means to move around.

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    A wok is an Asian cooking vessel that is shaped like a bowl and can be used for stir-frying, boiling, steaming, braising, and a number of other cooking methods. The word wok came into use in the 1950s and is a borrowed or loan word from Cantonese.

    Examples

    Summers said it’s been fun to see families enjoy the Winter Wonderland Walk, and the whole thing came together because of a group of festive, creative people who brought energy and excitement to the project. (Connecticut Post)

    The vehicle was parked in the driveway of the residence and a witness stated they saw a man matching the suspect’s description get out of a passenger car and walk to the driver’s side of the vehicle with an object in their hand.  (St. George News)

    One of the most interesting pictures in the book shows a master blacksmith pounding a flat sheet of metal into a bowl-shaped wok in China’s Guangxi Province. (Seattle Times)

    She’s also the creator of the Lotus Wok, a nonstick, flat-bottomed version of the traditional tool and designed for the modern kitchen. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)


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