Monday, 19 March 2018

Age and Virtue

ˈdəʊn ˈwʌri | əˈbaʊt əˈvɔɪdɪŋ temˈteɪʃn̩ || ˈæʒu ˈɡrəʊ ˈəʊldə | ˈɪt ˈstɑːts əˈvɔɪdɪŋ ˈjuː

Key at bottom of page.


don’t: Although function/grammatical words are generally unstressed in English, negative contractions such as don’t (and didn’t, won’t, can’t shouldn’t, etc.) are usually stressed.

Although /t/ isn’t usually elided when it is preceded by /n/ (e.g. in bent nail /ˈbent ˈneɪl/, front door /ˈfrʌnt ˈdɔː/), the negative contractions, because of their high frequency, are an exception and their final /t/ can be elided before both consonants and vowels (e.g. I couldn’t say /aɪ ˈkʊdn̩ ˈseɪ/. He didn’t ask /hi ˈdɪdn̩ ˈɑːsk/.), but not before a pause. This is much more common in the case of disyllabic negative contractions (e.g. didn’t, doesn’t, haven’t, hasn’t, hadn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, etc.). In the case of monosyllabic negative contractions (won’t, can’t), elision of /t/ is only usual in rather casual speech.

temptation: Phonemically, the final syllable of temptation is /ən/. When this syllable is preceded by /ʃ/, however, the schwa /ə/ often isn't pronounced. Instead the articulators move directly from the position for /ʃ/ to the position for /n/. This is relatively easy to do because /ʃ/ is a fricative, a category of sound which involves making a very narrow stricture in the vocal tract. It is possible, therefore, for the articulators to move from such a position to the complete closure required for /n/ (accompanied by the lowering of the soft palate to allow air to escape out through the nose) without passing through the position for a vowel and thereby avoiding an intervening schwa /ə/.

Note that in English, syllabic /n/ is not a phoneme in its own right, but merely a special way of realising the syllable /ən/. This means that when we use a special symbol [n̩] for it in transcription, it makes our transcription non-phonemic (because we are now using more than one symbol for each phoneme and introducing a special symbol to show a particular phonetic detail).

as you: When a word ends with /z/ and the immediately following word begins with /j/, the /z/ and the /j/ can combine to form /ʒ/. This is known as coalescent assimilation. It is most common with the high-frequency words you and your.

The symbol u represents the same vowel phoneme as the symbol . We use u in unstressed syllables and 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).

starts: The third person singular s has three pronunciations depending on the sound at the end of the verb:
  •          /ɪz/ after /s z ʃ ʒ ʧ ʤ/
  •          /s/ after the remaining voiceless consonants
  •          /z/ after vowels and the remaining voiced consonants.

Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it starts avoiding you.

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