Asked British pronunciation

Cat Krumbles

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

I have watched a video in which it said that you could pronounce 'asked' as 'ast' and ignore the k sound.

I wonder if it's common in British English?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Does your 'ast' have the same vowel sound as "asked", Cat? If so, then I'd say yes, it's very common.

    -----

    I see I'm disagreeing with Le Gallois bilingue:)
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    In faster speech the middle /k/ might be weak, but if it's lost completely, the word is 'arsed', as in 'I couldn't be arsed' = I couldn't be bothered.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi,

    I have watched a video in which it said that you could pronounce 'asked' as 'ast' and ignore the k sound.

    I wonder if it's common in British English?

    This is important for your listening skills. But in general don't try to pronounce things like a drunk teenager :)
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ... if it's lost completely, the word is 'arsed', as in 'I couldn't be arsed' = I couldn't be bothered.
    Only if you have a southern English accent. Those of us further north pronounce it with the short "a" as in aspic, astrolabe, asinine... so that problem doesn't arise. Perhaps the elided version "he as(k)ed her" rhyming with "the aster" is more common here? Certainly, I use it all the time if I'm honest.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Just to say - I don't think this is unique to BrE. Here's an extract from a paper on The Consonants of American English by Marla Yoshida, an academic coordinator and TEFL instructor at the University of California, Irvine Extension International Programs:

    When there are three or more consonants in a row, the middle one is sometimes dropped. [...] This happens most often when the middle consonant is a stop, /θ/, or /ð/. For example:
    tests might sound like /tɛsts/ or /tɛs/
    asked might sound like /æskt/ or /æst/
    months might sound like /mʌnθs/ or /mʌns/
    sixths might sound like /sɪksθs/ or /sɪks/
    Native speakers are often not aware that they’re omitting these sounds. However, these pronunciations are very common and are found in all but the most careful types of speech.

    Source: http://ocw.uci.edu/upload/files/consonants.pdf
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    When there are three or more consonants in a row, the middle one is sometimes dropped. [...] This happens most often when the middle consonant is a stop, /θ/, or /ð/.
    This definitely happens in AE.

    I think it is because an un-aspirated stop is difficult to hear. And stops are unaspirated before consonants. So even if I say the K in "asked" (or the last T in "tests") people might not hear it. It might "sound like" I didn't say it.

    And if you know most people can't hear it, you might drop it.
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    There is no single "British pronunciation", Cat. There's a (more or less) agreed dictionary model: the pronunciation guide that you'll find for single words uttered in isolation in an RP accent. The better dictionaries might even include weak forms for words which are often unstressed.

    But when it comes to what real people actually say - in connected speech in the dozens of different accents across the length and breadth of the UK - there is no standard.

    In general, BrE speakers who use the short vowel of 'cat' for the word 'asked' may be less likely to drop the 'k' in connected speech. Those who use the long vowel of 'cart' usually do drop it. I've used both pronunciations in my lifetime, and while it feels relatively natural to say the 'k' when speaking carefully using my short-vowel pronunciation, I actually find it very difficult to squeeze the 'k' into my long-vowel version.

    As others have already said, the natural pronunciation of 'asked' is a homophone of 'arsed' in the long-vowel version. This can lead to some ambiguity:

    I can't be asked to work at weekends.
    I can't be arsed to work at weekends.

    Those two sentences sound identical for many speakers in the south of England.
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    And if you know most people can't hear it, you might drop it.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    In general, BrE speakers who use the short vowel of 'cat' for the word 'asked' are probably less likely to drop the 'k' in connected speech. Those who use the long vowel of 'cart' are far more likely to drop it.
    I'm not sure that's the case, but perhaps I only think so because I'm an exception to that general rule. As I indicated in my #6, there is usually no 'k' sound in my 'asked', but my 'arsed' does not sound the same. My 'asked' is feline rather than anal. :)
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    I'm not sure that's the case, but perhaps I only think so because I'm an exception to that general rule. As I indicated in my #6, there is usually no 'k' sound in my 'asked', but my 'arsed' does not sound the same. My 'asked' is feline rather than anal. :)
    Sorry to mess things up, but I'd actually slightly modified my post before yours appeared. I think I was wrong to suggest that short-vowel accents tend to retain the 'k'. The homophone for the 'cat vowel' version is aster' / 'asked her', as Keith says. My apologies.
     
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