(BE) there're vs. there (AE) - pronunciation

zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
(BE) There're vs. There (AE) - pronunciation

Will these two sound pretty much the same, that is, "there're" in BE and 'there' in AE? I believe the BE will read the 'r' sound in the "there're" just like the final 'r' sound in 'there' in AE, right?
 
  • tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    If 'There are' (which is rarely written as 'there're' however it is pronounced) is followed by a consonant in everyday conversation, the final sound is pronounced by many speakers of BrE as a schwa. There is no 'r' colouring at all.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I am not sure how you can compare an expression in one pronunciation with a different expression in another pronunciation, unless you happen to find someone familiar with both.

    "There are" in BrE (it is not shortened in standard written English) is pronounced /ðɛrə/, for non-rhotic speakers at any rate. The 'r' sound is barely heard, and the second syllable often disappears at normal talking speed. In fact, "there are" would often be indistinguishable from "there" (BrE), if all you had to go on was the sound of the word. Of course, usually the context makes it clear which one is meant.
     
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    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I am not sure how you can compare an expression in one pronunciation with a different expression in another pronunciation, unless you happen to find someone familiar with both.
    Yeah, you're right. I just watched a video on YT where a Canadian said the never uses 'there are' in everyday speech, because he would have to contract it to "there're" and that would make its pronunciation awkward, meaning he would have to say two 'r' sounds in a row. So he always says "there's" no matter if the noun is singular or plural. Then I thought a BE speaker would read just one 'r' in that contracted form, but looks like you would still pronounce neither of the two R's.


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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's no different than the words "fairer", "(sea) farer", "barer", "terror", "wearer". I hope he doesn't skip those words, too.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    It's no different than the words "fairer", "(sea) farer", "barer", "terror", "wearer". I hope he doesn't skip those words, too.
    In other words you do say "there're" in AE and don't find it awkward to pronounce, right? BTW, why did you use 'too' not 'either' in your negation above?
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    In other words you do say "there're" in AE and don't find it awkward to pronounce, right? BTW, why did you use 'too' not 'either' in your negation above?
    I say "there're" all the time in US English, and I'm impressed that the Canadian can think far enough ahead to avoid the contraction and the two words altogether.
    [Honest to God, that is not meant as a slur against Canadians.]
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I say "there're" all the time in US English, and I'm impressed that the Canadian can think far enough ahead to avoid the contraction and the two words altogether.
    [Honest to God, that is not meant as a slur against Canadians.]
    The contraction "there's" is used occasionally by many people in rapid conversation instead of "there're" but it's generally due to not counting the number of things that are about to be mentioned, not because "there're" is harder to say. It's due to not thinking ahead.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    The contraction "there's" is used occasionally by many people in rapid conversation instead of "there're" but it's generally due to not counting the number of things that are about to be mentioned, not because "there're" is harder to say. It's due to not thinking ahead.
    I don't agree. I think the contracted form there's (not the full form there is) is, and always has been, common and natural in informal conversation. Because it is not in accord with the 'rules' of subject-verb agreement, it has always been regarded as incorrect by prescriptivists.

    I note that the question is 'What is there ...?' is correct even when the person enquiring knows full well that the response will mention two or more thing. Informally, the response may well be 'There's ...", even when the person responding knows in advance that they will mention two or more things.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't agree. I think the contracted form there's (not the full form there is) is, and always has been, common and natural in informal conversation.
    You're not disagreeing with me, or at least, I'm not disagreeing with you.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    You're not disagreeing with me.
    Well, I disagree with certain points:

    The contraction "there's" is used occasionally [I would say 'often'] by many people in rapid conversation instead of "there're" but it's generally due to not counting the number of things that are about to be mentioned, [I don't agree] not because "there're" is harder to say [I agree]. It's due to not thinking ahead [I don't agree].
     

    Logos_

    Senior Member
    English - America
    Let's be clear that "there're" is a non-standard contraction in writing. When speaking rapidly "there are" will sound like "thera" in BE or "there're" in AE. This is due to the natural elision involved in speaking quickly. It has nothing to do with not thinking ahead.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Well, I disagree with certain points:
    I think that people are saying "there's" without caring whether the rest of the sentence is plural. Disagreeing with that means to me that people are thinking about the fact that the verb should be plural and intentionally choosing to say "there's" despite that. Do you really think that?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The choice between there is and there are can sometimes fall short when not thinking ahead. If you think you are going to talk about one thing and then change to two it might still come out as "there's".

    "There's something I need to tell you." becomes "There's two things I need to tell you."
     

    Logos_

    Senior Member
    English - America
    I think that people are saying "there's" without caring whether the rest of the sentence is plural.
    Do you think people are saying "there're" without caring whether the rest of the sentence (what sentence?) is singular? I can't even understand what you're getting at.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Will these two sound pretty much the same, that is, "there're" in BE and 'there' in AE?
    No. In AE "there are" (there're) is never shortened to "there" by dropping one of the R sounds. "There are" has 2 R sounds.

    No matter how fast the speech, in normal conversations people clearly pronounce important things (which are sometimes slowed down because they are hard to pronounce), and allow unimportant things to be slurred, or sloppy, or poorly spoken.

    If "there are" is unimportant an AE speaker may say it carelessly, and a foreigner might think he heard "there". But a native speaker will notice that the R-colored vowel is doubled in length (lasts for 2 syllables) and that "there are" fits the sentence, so he hears "there're", not "there".

    I just watched a video on YT where a Canadian said the never uses 'there are' in everyday speech, because he would have to contract it to "there're" and that would make its pronunciation awkward
    I think the video-maker is exaggerating to make a point. Or he is only talking about 1 person's speech. It is not true that most AE speakers use "there is" in place of "there are". More likely (in my opinion) is to slow down the pronunciation slightly, so that "there are" is clearly heard. That is very common in fast speech. Every word is not equally fast.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    ... people are thinking about the fact that the verb should be plural and intentionally choosing to say "there's" despite that. Do you really think that?
    I do think that. I would be happy to say, in an informal setting, 'There's a few things wrong there' or similar. It's not to do with not thinking ahead.

    There are many threads on this, for example, There is / there's - with plural
    and you'll see a difference of opinion about its correctness etc.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    The contraction "there's" is used occasionally by many people in rapid conversation instead of "there're"
    Well, you might not feel it the way we, non-natives, do, but you use "there's" for plural nouns almost ALWAYS in everyday speech, and that's what confuses us, because we are punished for such forms in tests and exams.


    Interestingly enough, Andreea S. Calude, a universty linguist researching grammar, says the same thing as that Canadian.

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    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    The contraction "there's" is used occasionally by many people in rapid conversation instead of "there're" but it's generally due to not counting the number of things that are about to be mentioned, not because "there're" is harder to say. It's due to not thinking ahead.
    I agree, and I'm not sure if you are disagreeing or agreeing with my comment. The Canadian says that in the middle of a sentence he realizes he should say 'there are', yet dislikes 'there are' in informal speech and also dislikes the clunkiness of two r's with a schwa between, and so he consciously chooses 'there's' instead. For what it's worth, he's chalking 'there's' in his own speech up to thinking ahead, which is the opposite of what you and I think about the typical English speaker's use of 'there's.'
     
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