Sunday, 18 March 2018

Classic Comedy

maɪ ˈmʌðər ɪn ˈlɔː | ˈsez aɪm ɪˈfemənət || aɪ ˈdəʊm ˈmaɪnd | bɪˈkəz kəmˈpeəd tə ˈhɜːr | aɪ ˈæm

Key at bottom of page.


my: Although my is monosyllabic function/grammatical word and is usually unstressed, it doesn’t usually have a weak form.

mother: When a word ends in schwa /ə/ 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 eə ɪə ʊə/.

says: The pronunciation of the word says is a little irregular. While say is pronounced /seɪ/, says is pronounced /sez/.

I’m: When unstressed, as it usually is, and immediately preceded by I, am has the weak form /m/, which attaches to the preceding I to form the contraction I’m /aɪm/.

I: Although I is a monosyllabic function/grammatical word and is usually unstressed, it doesn’t usually have a weak form.

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.

The final consonant of don’t undergoes assimilation, changing from /n/ to /m/ because the immediately following word begins with /m/. The consonant /n/ is articulated at the alveolar place of articulation, while /m/ is articulated at the bilabial place of articulation. The change from /n/ to /m/ is a change of place of articulation (not of voicing or of manner of articulation). The place of articulation of /n/ changes from alveolar to bilabial because the following consonant is bilabial (/m/ = a voiced bilabial nasal). It is usual for /n/ to change its place of articulation to that of an immediately following consonant, becoming /ŋ/ before velar consonants (/k/ or /ɡ/) or /m/ before bilabial consonants (/p b m/).

because: Although it’s generally true that schwa /ə/ doesn’t occur in unstressed syllables in the General British accent, there are a small number of words in which it can be stressed and the most important of these is because. Learners needn’t be concerned by this because there is always a non-schwa alternative in such words (/-ˈkɒz/ in the case of because) and it will never be wrong to use it.

Note that the generalisation about schwa not occurring in stressed syllables relates to the General British accent. In other accents, most notably General American, there is no phonemic difference between schwa and the strut vowel, both of which can be pronounced with a schwa vowel quality in unstressed and stressed syllables. This is also true of many of the accents of England and Wales.

to: When unstressed, as it usually is, to has the weak form /tə/ when the immediately following word begins with a consonant. This is true for both the preposition, e.g. Go to hell /ˈɡəʊ tə ˈhel/, and the 'to infinitive', e.g. Go to see /ˈɡəʊ tə ˈsiː/.

her: The personal pronoun her has it’s strong form here because it is stressed (for contrast).

am: When an auxiliary verb stands alone to represent a verb phrase, it is stressed and has its strong form. For example: Will you carry this home? ~ Yes, I will /aɪ ˈwɪl/. Can you transcribe whole sentences phonetically? ~ Yes, I can /aɪ ˈkæn/.

My mother-in-law says I’m effeminate. I don’t mind, because compared to her, I am.

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