Phonological features of contractions

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ametisto, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. ametisto New Member

    I'm doing this pre-DELTA task and one of the questions is as follows:

    Identify the phonological features you would focus on when presenting the following sentence: If I’d known, I’d have told him.

    Now, surely they are aiming for the contraction. But what exactly are they looking for here? Do they want to hear that I'd is short
    for I would and that this is ok in spoken language but not in written? Any help would be much appreciated.


  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    No, phonology is about the sounds, not the meaning, nor the written conventions (whether imaginary or not). Assuming as you do that they're thinking mainly about the contractions, you'd describe how the suffixed parts of the two forms I'd and I'd have (= I'd've, but we don't write it that way) are pronounced: a total lack of vowel in I'd and a reduced vowel in I'd've. They might also want you to look at the loss of [h] in unstressed grammatical words have and him. These two phonological processes - contraction and [h]-loss - depend on context in a sentence (and on style), rather than being a property of the word itself (as the pronunciation of if or known is).
  3. ametisto New Member

    Thanks, entanglebank! Your explanation helped a lot and made it much clearer.

    Just one additional question: by '... a reduced vowel in I'd've.' I presume you mean the change from [æ] to [ə], right?
  4. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Not entangledbank, but I will answer on his behalf and say yes: hav --> əv

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