Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Hard to Quit

ˈɡɪvɪŋ ˈʌp ˈsməʊkɪŋz ˈiːzi || aɪv ˈdʌn ɪt ˈθaʊzn̩z ə ˈtaɪmz

Key at bottom of page.


up: The word up is usually stressed and has no weak form.

smoking’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/.

easy: The symbol i represents the same vowel phoneme as the symbol . We use i 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).

I’ve: When unstressed, as it usually is, auxiliary have has the weak form /v/ when preceded by the pronouns I, you, we or they. The weak form combines with these pronouns to form the contractions I’ve /aɪv/, you’ve /ju(ː)v/, we’ve /wi(ː)v/ and they’ve /ðeɪv/.

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

thousands: Phonemically, the final syllable of thousands is /əndz/. When this syllable is preceded by /z/, however, the schwa /ə/ often isn't pronounced. Instead the articulators move directly from the position for /z/ to the position for /n/. This is relatively easy to do because /z/ 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/. This results in syllabic /n/.

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).

When /d/ is at the end of a word (more specifically, in a syllable coda) and is immediately preceded by a consonant, it is commonly elided/deleted when another consonant immediately follows (i.e. without a pause) in another word or, as in this case, in a suffix.

of: When unstressed, as it usually is, of has the weak form /əv/. When a consonant immediately follows in the next word, of can have the form /ə/. This is particularly common before /ð/ (e.g. of the, of those, of them, of this, of that) and in high-frequency phrases (e.g. a cup of tea, a bunch of grapes).

times: 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.

Giving up smoking’s easy. I’ve done it thousands of times.

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