What is that mean?

Hey,
Could you please explain me why I always hear native speakers say What is that mean? ? Is it really what they say? Or maybe it's because of the weak form of does, which should actually follow what in above question. How is that?
Thanks in advance. :)
 
  • Monnik

    Senior Member
    Mexico - Spanish/English
    Hello, majlo...

    I believe that what you're hearing is rather something like What's that mean? And you are right, it's simply an abbreviated form of "does", rather than actually using the word "is"

    I believe its use is very informal.

    Have a good one...
     

    revathy

    New Member
    hindi ,india
    The correct way of saying is "what does that mean?" meaning the same. what's that mean is certainly informal way of talking especially in us.
     

    whatonearth

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Monnik is right - "What's" is simply a contraction of "What does" that is used very commonly in informal everyday speech.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you had really excellent hearing, you would hear all of the elements of "What does that mean" in the sentence.
    What does...
    What-d's...
    Whatd's...
    What's
     

    deadimp

    Member
    English - USA
    The only problem with some contractions in English is, there are some that are spelled the same, yet have different expanded forms.
    "What's it mean?" - "What does it mean?"
    "What's it doing?" - "What is it doing?"
    "What's it been doing?" - "What has it been doing?"
    And on and on and on...
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    deadimp said:
    The only problem with some contractions in English is, there are some that are spelled the same, yet have different expanded forms.[...] And on and on and on...
    I agree - it makes life really difficult for non-natives trying to learn English. I have only just resisted the temptation to laugh heartily. I swear, we don't do it deliberately:)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Let's not treat things heard in spoken language as examples of written contractions! What was said was not "what's it mean," likely as not, but "what does it mean." As spoken, this phrase comes out, in AE, as "whudd3z it mean?" Or in the north, "wudda zit mean" or even "wudsit mean."

    And those are the examples of fairly clear pronunciation. "Wuzz a-mean" is amply represented.

    I've long claimed that we are so prejudiced by the written word that we aren't able to hear what we really say, even if we try. My recent attempts to implement voice-recognition software confirms my every pronouncement, and it's even worse than I thought.

    Well okay, here it is. I just dictated "whadduz that mean" and it printed "what does that mean." Okay, I've got it trained to recognize me-- so I tried to slur just a tiny bit and got "was that mane." Changing the stress to "wudz that mean," I got "was at me."

    So what does it all mean?
    .
     

    BasedowLives

    Senior Member
    uSa
    i agree that "what is it mean" is just how you would pronounce "what does it mean" in a relaxed state.

    this thread has me questioning if i even pronounce things correctly anymore...as i 9/10 the time will say "whuddizat mean"
     
    Well, from your replies I can clearly conclude it is all because of, as we call it, weak forms. As Panjandrum said, it makes life really difficult for non-natives. Not only does it concern What does that mean? but also What are you doing? (To me it is always What you doing? or potentially with schwa instead of are) or What have you done? and many more auxiliary verbs. "Weak forms" are something we do not lose any sleep over. :)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    majlo said:
    Not only does it concern What does that mean? but also What are you doing?
    You mean "choo doon?"

    Or the black AE version, at least in the 70s-- "Choo doon, chump?"
    .
     

    novice_81

    Senior Member
    German
    Hi

    I know it should be "what does it mean," however it seems to me that quite a few times, especially in movies I heard "what IS that mean," but maybe I just misunderstood something and this is not what they really said.

    So, do some people say "What is that mean?"
     

    lian.alon22

    Senior Member
    US
    US-English
    They might be saying "What's that mean?", which is a contraction of "What does that mean?", but nobody with any education would say "What is that mean?". Hope that helps!
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I can imagine a native speaker of English saying Whadduz that mean? where does is shortened to uz, that is, /əz/ (and the dd represents a flap rather than /d/). It's difficult for me to imagine a native speaker of English saying it with /I/ being used instead of a schwa.

    Indeed, the pronunciation spelling Whadduz that mean? shows up in Google and Google Books searches, but :cross:Whaddis that mean? and :cross:Whaddiz that mean?, which would be how I would expect some writers to represent What is with a flap does not turn up in either type of search.
     

    Ivy06

    New Member
    Hungarian
    Hi, I am not native speaker either and I agree with Majlo. It is really sounds like "What is that mean?" however I know it is incorrect grammatically. I heard it many times in movies and TV shows. It is confusing for those try to learn English.
    Thanks
     

    gettingby

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    I am a native, educated speaker, and I am certain I have said "What's it mean?" - definitely meaning "what-does-it-mean" but definitely saying "what-s-it-mean?"

    As to "what you doing" - never... "whatcha doin?" definitely. The former does seem black AE, as would all the double negatives, mismatched auxiliaries, to me. (He don' know nuthin'). But what-is-it-mean, for me, doesn't exist.
     
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