Key at bottom of page.
a: When unstressed, as it usually is, the indefinite article a has the weak form /ə/.
father’s: When unstressed, as it usually is, the word is can have three different pronunciations, depending on the final sound of the immediately preceding word:
- When the final sound of the preceding word is /s z ʃ ʒ ʧ ʤ/, then is has the form /ɪz/, e.g. Chris is well /ˈkrɪs ɪz ˈwel/.
- When the final sound of the preceding word is a voiceless consonants (excluding the consonants listed above), then is has the form /s/ and forms a contraction with the preceding word, e.g. Jack is well /ˈʤæks ˈwel/.
- If the final sound of the preceding word is voiced (i.e. a vowel or a voiced consonant (excluding the consonants listed above)), then is has the form /z/ and forms a contraction with the preceding word, e.g. John is well /ˈʤɒnz ˈwel/.
who: As a relative pronoun, who is usually unstressed and can have the weak form /u/ or /hu. As an interrogative pronoun, who is usually stressed and has no weak form (e.g. Who is it? /ˈhuː ˈɪz ɪt/ Who's asking? /ˈhuːz ˈɑːskɪŋ).
photos: Plural s has three pronunciations depending on the sound at the end of the noun:
- /ɪz/ after /s z ʃ ʒ ʧ ʤ/
- /s/ after the remaining voiceless consonants
- /z/ after vowels and the remaining voiced consonants.
The same pattern applies to third person singular s, possessive s and the contraction of is.
in: Although in is monosyllabic function/grammatical word and is usually unstressed, it doesn’t usually have a weak form.
his: When unstressed, as it usually is, and not immediately preceded by a pause, his has the weak form /ɪz/. After a pause, unstressed his is pronounced /hɪz/ (e.g. His home is his castle. /hɪz ˈhəʊm ɪz ɪz ˈkɑːsl̩/ His brother took his money. /hɪz ˈbrʌðə ˈtʊk ɪz ˈmʌni/ His dog bit his nose. /hɪz ˈdɒɡ ˈbɪt ɪz ˈnəʊz).
where: When a word ends in /eə/ and is immediately followed (without a pause) by a word beginning with a vowel, the consonant /r/ is inserted between the vowels. This process is known as /r/-liaison and also occurs after /ɑː ɔː ɜː ə ɪə ʊə/.
money: The symbol i represents the same vowel phoneme as the symbol iː. We use i in unstressed syllables and iː in stressed syllables. This distinction isn't very helpful for TEFL purposes and learners should simply treat the two symbols as the same. Because we are using two different symbols for one phoneme, this means our transcription isn't truly phonemic (phonemic transcription = one symbol for each phoneme)
used to: When ‘used to’ is used as a means of talking about the past, it is pronounced /ˈjuːst tə/ before a consonant and /ˈjuːst tu/ before a vowel. This is such a high-frequency word combination that the final voiced consonants /zd/ of ‘used’ /juːzd/ have over time been influenced by the following voiceless consonant /t/ and themselves become voiceless, resulting in /st/. Note that this is an unusual form of assimilation, because in English assimilation usually involves a change of place of articulation, not voicing.
Since the /t/ of ‘used to’ is preceded by a consonant in the same syllable and followed by another consonant, it is usually elided and ‘used to’ pronounced /ˈjuːs tu/ or /ˈjuːs tə/.