fit vs feet

ManOfWords

Senior Member
Português [Brasil]
Hi all, if you say the word feet/feat with a grave/deep voice and say it quickly, would people understand it as fit? and vice versa, to say fit in a high voice slowly ... will it turn into feet/feat?
 
  • Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    No and no. In English (or to English speakers) there is a very clear difference between the long i in feet and the short i in fit. Don't let the name of those vowel sounds fool you. Both sounds can be made very rapidly, or very slowly and still sound totally different. Many languages do not have this distinction, and many learners struggle with this, but if you want to have a native-sounding accent, you'll have to figure it out.
     

    ManOfWords

    Senior Member
    Português [Brasil]
    No and no. In English (or to English speakers) there is a very clear difference between the long i in feet and the short i in fit. Don't let the name of those vowel sounds fool you. Both sounds can be made very rapidly, or very slowly and still sound totally different. Many languages do not have this distinction, and many learners struggle with this, but if you want to have a native-sounding accent, you'll have to figure it out.
    Thanks, so in all, there are no words that would sound the same if pronounced in a different speed (like the example I gave there), right? no case of that at all?
     

    ManOfWords

    Senior Member
    Português [Brasil]
    But ... as I try to say fit in a high pitched voice, the i there turns into ee ... it rises naturally to ee sound ... :(
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    There are a lot of words that would sound the same when spoken rapidly, but "fit" and "feet" generally don't. Perhaps if you try to say "feet" as quickly as you possibly can it will sound like "fit" (or maybe it will just sound like "ft"). And perhaps you can alter your voice to some unnatural degree where "fit" and "feet" sound the same (I can't; even when speaking at the top of my vocal range, they sound different). But within the bounds of natural speech, the words sound different.
     

    ManOfWords

    Senior Member
    Português [Brasil]
    There are a lot of words that would sound the same when spoken rapidly, but "fit" and "feet" generally don't. Perhaps if you try to say "feet" as quickly as you possibly can it will sound like "fit" (or maybe it will just sound like "ft"). And perhaps you can alter your voice to some unnatural degree where "fit" and "feet" sound the same (I can't; even when speaking at the top of my vocal range, they sound different). But within the bounds of natural speech, the words sound different.
    Hmm ;) :thumbsup:
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If your voice isn't naturally high-pitched, there's really no reason to say 'fit', or any other word, in such a way. And if it is naturally high-pitched, then I'm sure you would naturally pronounce 'fit' as 'fit'.
     

    ManOfWords

    Senior Member
    Português [Brasil]
    If your voice isn't naturally high-pitched, there's really no reason to say 'fit', or any other word, in such a way. And if it is naturally high-pitched, then I'm sure you would naturally pronounce 'fit' as 'fit'.
    The reason for saying like that is if I wanted to sing in such a way or maybe just to play/mold the word freely, because in my language there are no occurances like that ... as I said, if I say fit in a high pitched voice it goes til a limit that if I continue to a higher pitch (which I can) it will become feet ... the most acute sound of i and ee are not the same then? :confused: ... fit and feet in a piping voice (imagine a young girl screaming those words, almost shattering a glass) even then they would sound distinguishable?
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    fit and feet in a piping voice (imagine a young girl screaming those words, almost shattering a glass) even then they would sound distinguishable?
    I'm imagining that situation, and yes, they would be distinguishable. Sorry, we just have more vowels in English than you do in Portuguese. :)
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    One of the most common pronounciation mistakes made by speakers of Latin derived languages,
    is confusing those short 'i' and long 'ee' sounds. The learner must get it right, that's must as in absolutely has to.
    There's a huge difference between I need a shit and I need a sheet. Of course, context will often indicate what the speaker means. Who wants people to laugh at what they say?
    Students of English do not want to give the impression that they are idiots. Sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn't. It all depends on situation and context. It's rather complicated in fact.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    If someone says "fit" in a Spanish accent, they pronounce it "feat". In the U.S. we hear this often: 15% of the country speaks Spanish fluently, and some of them are not fluent in English. Usually, we can understand what word they mean, but the two vowels sound "completely different" to a native English speaker.

    It does not matter if I am shouting or whispering, high-pitched or low-pitched, singing or arguing, drunk or sober: short I ("fit") never becomes long E ("feat", Spanish I).

    English has about 45 phonemes (sounds that are used to tell words apart) and about 54 different sounds. That is more than most languages have. It has 15 vowel sounds.
     
    Last edited:

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    ManOfWords, I'm curious to know whether you hear the difference between "feet" and "fit," when they are pronounced in our dictionary or on Forvo. Would you simply find it less trouble to pronounce "fit" as "feet," said quickly, or is it difficult for you to distinguish between the words when pronounced by native English speakers?
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    One issue you may be overlooking is that it is impossible to give the vowel in feet the same length and stress as in fit. The long ee is, well, longer and it receives less stress. There are better and more official linguistic terms to use but you could start there.

    As a matter of encouragement, you will certainly learn to hear the difference in rapid speech, with more interactive exposure to English, i.e., in conversation. :thumbsup:
     

    ManOfWords

    Senior Member
    Português [Brasil]
    ManOfWords, I'm curious to know whether you hear the difference between "feet" and "fit," when they are pronounced in our dictionary or on Forvo. Would you simply find it less trouble to pronounce "fit" as "feet," said quickly, or is it difficult for you to distinguish between the words when pronounced by native English speakers?
    Hi, I can well distinguish them when a native speaks it naturally, I just put them in an extreme situation to know if they are told apart, in my language when we scream/shout in a piping voice the vowels seem to change a bit, and as a matter of fact I find hard to tell apart words like pen pan ban Ben man men ten tan ... :( ... by the way, THANKS EVERYBODY :rolleyes:
     
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