why t weakening ?

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Oven

Senior Member
Chile, Spanish,pseudo-English, lame portuguese and french
I have a question that's been going round my head quite a long time I have to throw it at you !

Why is it that some RP speakers weaken the T sounds is words like better, letter and so on...???????????
I know it has probably nothing to do with this forum but I need to get an answer anyway.
 
  • JitterJive

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Ok, Oven, I'm not sure what you mean by RP speakers. But are you referring to the "T" sounding more like a "D"? Such as ledder and bedder?

    In any event, I'm almost certain that it's a matter of dialectal accents. I think that it's common in most languages. For example, I was watching a movie in Spanish the other day and one of the actors hardly pronounced any "s" sounds.
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    swetty said:
    As far as the weakened "T" sound, in most dialects of spoken English, I think this is quite standard. To me, it would sound very odd to pronounce "better" with a strong "T" sound.
    Et voila-- une autre.

    Edit-- Oops. Didn't mean to change the whole message :eek: I'm messing up all over the place today :eek:
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Swettenham said:
    Yeah, not to get off topic, but it used to really bother me that my ESL students (mostly from El Salvador and Honduras) drop so many "s's" (what's the plural of "s"?) when pronouncing English words. Then I payed attention to them speaking Spanish, and realized that they are just accustomed to dropping "s's."

    As for as the weakened "T" sound, in most dialects of spoken English, I think this is quite standard. To me, it would sound very odd to pronounce "better" with a strong "T" sound.

    Just a little correction for us English learners ... it is paid attention...
    I hope you don't mind Sweettenham... ;)
     

    Faith

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Oven said:
    I have a question that's been going round my head quite a long time I have to throw it at you !

    Why is it that some RP speakers weaken the T sounds is words like better, letter and so on...???????????
    I know it has probably nothing to do with this forum but I need to get an answer anyway.
    I'm not sure but I think you are wrong, RP speakers are who pronounce the T. In the rest of English dialects it is weakened, mostly in American English
     

    Oven

    Senior Member
    Chile, Spanish,pseudo-English, lame portuguese and french
    RP are british speaker's accent or famously known as posh accent. I asked this cos they are supposed to make every t sound stand out like in the examles I gave.....

    I haven't come across a good book explaining this..anyway thanks for your help

    PS= ohhh, GE is the north american accent
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    Artrella said:
    Just a little correction for us English learners ... it is paid attention...
    I hope you don't mind Sweettenham... ;)
    :eek: :D jejejeje....... You've found me out, Artrellita-- Spanish is really my first language. My English is getting pretty good, though :p
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted byOven
    RP are british speaker's accent or famously known as posh accent. I asked this cos they are supposed to make every t sound stand out like in the examles I gave.....
    I haven't come across a good book explaining this..anyway thanks for your help
    Hi Oven,

    Actually, thanks to panjandrum, a frequent forum visitor, I was directed to this website here, which further explains RP. I hadn't heard of it until I crossed it in this thread a few days ago. It came up in another thread today, so I went ahead and inquired about it.

    PS= ohhh, GE is the north american accent
    So, what does GE stand for? Great English?! :D I haven't heard of this either!?

    I will agree with others however, that the "t" is weakened in AE. It's not a completely "hard" t, but it's not a complete "d" sound, either. We kind of let our tongue roll on the front of our soft palate without forcing it, like the word "pero."

    If you all wish to discuss this even more in depth, I'm sure you would get some lively replies in the English Only forum! ;)
     

    SweetMommaSue

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA/American English
    Oven said:
    RP are british speaker's accent or famously known as posh accent. I asked this cos they are supposed to make every t sound stand out like in the examles I gave.....

    I haven't come across a good book explaining this..anyway thanks for your help

    PS= ohhh, GE is the north american accent
    Hello Oven,

    Well, I would have put this question in the English only forum, but I'm glad to have seen it. I have never heard of the terms "RP" and "GE" before. I see that they reference British versus North American accents, but what do the initials stand for? And are the Canadian and American accents really grouped together?

    As for "t weakening", does it mean how, in speech, the double t is pronounced as d? I saw this question, but not the answer. I do not believe that my English teachers ever explained "why" we pronounce certain t's that way; we just were told that correct pronunciation is one way for some words and another way for other words. It is a memory thing. However, now I must research this to see if I can find a rule. This is a great question!

    Perhaps, if one of the mods were to move this thread to the English only area, some of our resident experts would contribute.

    Thank you for the post!
    Sweet Momma Sue :)
     

    Faith

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Hi

    I'm not a native or an expert in phonetics either, but I've studied this at the university so I'm gonna try to answer the question.

    RP stands for Received Pronunciation, it's one of the varieties of English also known as the Queen's English. GA (not GE) stands for General American which is the name under which the majority of North American accents are grouped together.

    The phenomenon by which /t /sounds like /d/ in words like better (where there is an intervocalic t) is called t-voicing

    Hope this help
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    Oven said:
    I have a question that's been going round my head quite a long time I have to throw it at you !

    Why is it that some RP speakers weaken the T sounds is words like better, letter and so on...???????????
    I know it has probably nothing to do with this forum but I need to get an answer anyway.
    Hello Oven,

    the answer Faith just gave:
    faith said:
    The phenomenon by which /t /sounds like /d/ in words like better (where there is an intervocalic t) is called t-voicing
    is the root of the matter:

    Unvoiced sounds (t basically, but also p or s sometimes) tend to become voiced when they are between two vowels.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Yes, we Americans voice the intervocalic "t" (say budder for butter). In some English dialects intervocalic "t" and other consonants are obliterated almost altogether, leaving a glottal stop behind, an effect you also hear a lot in German.

    So "sort of thing" becomes "soh' o' feng." And of course the much parodied "cuh' o' tay." "Bih' uh" for "bit of," and so forth. When Brits do pronounce intervocalic "t" they aspirate them-- pronounce an "h" with an initial t-like "attack," like a trumpet player "tonguing" a note.

    As far as I've heard, RP (or BBC English as I thought it was called) is not one of the dialects that abuses the intervocalic unvoiced lingual-alveolar plosive consonant-- except for post-aspirating it slightly. The consonant wouldn't be "plosive" if it didn't end with a little puff of air.

    I think the "received" in RP means it's a phony accent that has to be learned. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this accent has also been called a "public school" accent, or "Oxonian" or even "Etonian."

    In the BBCAmerica sitcom "Are You Being Served," Miss Brahms breaks out into what might be called mock-RP when she wants to sound "posh." Basil Fawlty also slips into it when he's being snide with customers he obviously feels he shouldn't be bothered with.
     

    remosfan

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Just a quick question, when people say they make their t's like d's in this position, what do they mean exactly? For me, there's no difference in the way I say "metal" or "medal", but the actual sound I make for the t/d is an r sound (it's the r in Greek and I've been told that the r in Spanish "pero" is the same). I'm wondering how widespread this pronunciation is.
     

    Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    remosfan said:
    Just a quick question, when people say they make their t's like d's in this position, what do they mean exactly? For me, there's no difference in the way I say "metal" or "medal", but the actual sound I make for the t/d is an r sound (it's the r in Greek and I've been told that the r in Spanish "pero" is the same). I'm wondering how widespread this pronunciation is.
    Are you sure they are the same as the Spanish "r"? If this is true, I wonder why so many Anglophones have trouble with the Spanish "r."

    They are three different sounds for me.

    Isotta.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    OK - here comes the exception putting his hand up in the corner of the room again.
    What is all this nonsense about not pronouncing TT with a very firm T sound? WE pronounce them quite distinctly - and believe me, we have never been accused of "received pronunciation", or BBC English either.
    And we make a very clear distinction between metal and medal.
    foxfirebrand is on the way to Estuary English.
    Miss Brahms caricatures Received Pronunciation.
     

    Enlasarenas

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish-Galician
    T-weakening wouldn't be the right way of naming this phenomenon. Voicing of T would be more accurate, like someone has mentioned before. The t phoneme is a voiceless one, so it becomes voiced in certain contexts. Not only between vowels (e.g. letter) but more exactly preceded by vowels plus at the beginning of an unstressed syllable: water. Furthermore, I don't think that's a sign of RP English, but rather of typical American English accent, which is far from being the Queen's English:D They call this sound the "alveolar tap", since the tongue taps on the alveolar ridge (the front palate) making a sound similar to that of the English "d" and to our Spanish intervocalic r: AME "petal" would be pronounced like Spanish "peral", although its Spanish counterpart is stressed on the last syllable.

    Hope this helps...
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    What exception? Who do you mean by WE?

    I think I said "some English dialects" are clu'-'uhd up wif glo'-'al stops, and RP didn't seem to be one of them. Nobody said the Home Isles aren't still full of dialects other than RP where the t's are "properly" pronounced, and, dare I assume, crossed. And the i's dotttted, not doh'-'ed.

    And didn't I say Miss Brahms broke into mock-RP? So did Carol Burnett years ago, but she did it slightly crosseyed and wearing a cocked tiara, and added a nasal stridency that monstrified it to great comedic effect. As if it wasn't funny enough as it is.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    foxfirebrand said:
    What exception? Who do you mean by WE?
    Nobody said the Home Isles aren't still full of dialects other than RP where the t's are "properly" pronounced.
    WE = a good proportion of the residents of Northern Ireland. In responding to a number of posts much earlier in the thread, before your post:) I was making the point that it is not only RP-speakers who still pronounce their Ts.
    And didn't I say Miss Brahms broke into mock-RP?
    Indeed you did, and that was why it occurred to me to use that lead-in to the RP link - in other words, I wasn't disagreeing with you, merely providing additional information:)

    I really think the fox was flushed unnecessarily on this occasion.
     

    remosfan

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Isotta said:
    Are you sure they are the same as the Spanish "r"? If this is true, I wonder why so many Anglophones have trouble with the Spanish "r."

    They are three different sounds for me.
    Well, I'm sure that my t/d between vowels is an r sound (and even in words like curtain or murdering), and from my very little exposure to Spanish, I know that one of its r's is the same as the Greek r which I'm familiar with. At first, I thought it might be limited geographically, but Enlasarenas seems to be suggesting it's a feature of AE as a whole. As for why they have trouble, maybe because it's something they do subconsciously? Or maybe you just tend to read r as your r, whatever that r might be?
     

    Enlasarenas

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish-Galician
    remosfan said:
    As for why they have trouble, maybe because it's something they do subconsciously? Or maybe you just tend to read r as your r, whatever that r might be?
    English native speakers have troubles with rolling Spanish r's, because it's a sound you lack in your system. These r's are not the ones between vowels, but in other contexts, such as 1) in initial position: rojo (here the pronunciation is twice harder since you might have to deal with a much harsher h sound than that of English: j ;)), 2) at the end of a syllable followed by a syllbale beginning in consonant: parte, although in this case it's optional whether you want to roll it or just tap it. When TV comentators broadcast a soccer match they tend to roll them so as to get you hooked on the game!!! Comienza la segunda parrrrrrrrrrrrte!!!!:)

    Best
     

    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Reading this thread I can't help thinking that there are two ideas which have been mixed up together. Most people have been talking about the voicing of the 't' sound that is characteristic of the American accent, which sounds like a strengthening of the 't' sound. But I can think of a way of pronouncing 't's that sound more like a weakening and that is characteristic of RP. All you have to do is listen to one of those greatGreat British actors such as Trevor Howard in CloseBrief Encounter (what a film!). His 't's, like those of the queen, are a little more delicate than normal and are, I believe, more postalveolar than alveolar. In other words, move your tongue back, so that when you pronounce your 't' it touches (gently) the very back of that ridge behind your teeth. Make it nice and plosive and you have an RP-style weakened 't', and you sound like Trevor Howard. I wish I had a sample to play. I'll get back to you if I find one.

    What a film, what a film! Is it out on DVD yet?
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    The fox was flushed? I think you've got me confused with one of those ruddy British foxes who leave packs of beagles "flushed" with embarrassment-- and milling about in disarray.

    I don't have but the black and white modes-- the closest I get to "flushed" is when I'm in winter coat and the light is a little crepuscular.


    edit for garryknight: Didn't Angela Lansbury play the cockney maid in Gaslight? Her intervocalic "t's" seem to vary from picture to picture. Bio blurb on imdb.com says she was born in that Estuary area we've been talking bout.

    http://imdb.com/name/nm0001450/bio
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    GenJen54 said:
    Hi Oven,

    Actually, thanks to panjandrum, a frequent forum visitor, I was directed to this website here, which further explains RP. I hadn't heard of it until I crossed it in this thread a few days ago. It came up in another thread today, so I went ahead and inquired about it.


    So, what does GE stand for? Great English?! :D I haven't heard of this either!?

    I will agree with others however, that the "t" is weakened in AE. It's not a completely "hard" t, but it's not a complete "d" sound, either. We kind of let our tongue roll on the front of our soft palate without forcing it, like the word "pero."

    If you all wish to discuss this even more in depth, I'm sure you would get some lively replies in the English Only forum! ;)
    I think some people in the US do say" bedder, budder". I do. This is one of many reaons I enjoy listening to books written in the UK read by UK readers. It's so different to hear "uttuh", "bettuh".

    Do those of you who listen to a great deal of both AE and BE disagree that, in general, the "t" sound is spoken much more clearly in BE? It seems so to me. :)

    Gaer
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    foxfirebrand said:
    The fox was flushed? I think you've got me confused with one of those ruddy British foxes who leave packs of beagles "flushed" with embarrassment-- and milling about in disarray.

    I don't have but the black and white modes-- the closest I get to "flushed" is when I'm in winter coat and the light is a little crepuscular.


    edit for garryknight: Didn't Angela Lansbury play the cockney maid in Gaslight? Her intervocalic "t's" seem to vary from picture to picture. Bio blurb on imdb.com says she was born in that Estuary area we've been talking bout.

    http://imdb.com/name/nm0001450/bio
    Angela Lansbury, in my opinion, is a "mimic". She can vary her accent from role to role in a way that amazes me. In order to hear how she really speaks, you would have to hear her interviewed, and it is possible that he original accent has been modified over the years. :)

    Gaer
     

    Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    What's this about voicing the [t]? I don't think it ever sounds voiced, unless you're Elmer Fudd.

    I contend that it is an unaspirated [t]. Any takers?

    Isotta.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Isotta said:
    What's this about voicing the [t]? I don't think it ever sounds voiced, unless you're Elmer Fudd.

    I contend that it is an unaspirated [t]. Any takers?

    Isotta.
    You mean in the way, for example, the "t" is unaspirated in French or Spanish? To my ears really not, the usual American pronunciation - when they pronounce it that way, for I have definitely heard Americans pronounce it like a "t" like us Brits (perhaps with a bit less aspiration) - sounds like a full-on "d" to me... Perhaps in your American accent your "t" is more like a "t" than the average?
     

    Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    Well, I don't have an American accent, but that is secondary.

    I can't answer for Spanish, but I am guessing that you refer to the French "t" that begins a word or is in the middle of a word, which is unaspirated, and a final "t" is aspirated. The "t" in question is even weaker than the former (we have something like three [t]'s in English), but it is not a full-on [d]. It is not voiced.

    Perhaps an unvoiced [d] then?

    Isotta.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    When I hold my larynx and say "Get a patta better butter," it vibrates. Maybe it's not butter at all, speaking of Elmer Fudd-- maybe it's Jehww-o.The candle also stops flickering briefly on the word "ever" when I say "hurricanes hardly ever happen." Yep, I'm an American. Try as I might to be hoity-toity, it comes out hoydy-toydy.
     

    Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    I don't think the larynx trick is pertinent in this one, because it is difficult to distinguish the consonant from the vowels.

    I think the trick would be to say it slowly. Is it really a full-on [d] for you, as in "daring"?

    Indeed, urricanes ardly hever appen. New Orleans is getting a rare one as we speak.

    Isotta.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Isotta said:
    Well, I don't have an American accent, but that is secondary.

    I can't answer for Spanish, but I am guessing that you refer to the French "t" that begins a word or is in the middle of a word, which is unaspirated, and a final "t" is aspirated. The "t" in question is even weaker than the former (we have something like three [t]'s in English), but it is not a full-on [d]. It is not voiced.

    Perhaps an unvoiced [d] then?

    Isotta.
    An unvoiced "d" is a "t"!:)

    To my ears an American intervocalic "t" sounds just like a "d". I think the only way we could test this is to ask some Americans to go up to someone and at random say "bitter" and take a survey as to what the person thinks has been said.

    Actually "bitter" is not the best choice because "bitter" is going to be more common a word than "bidder" so people are going to hear "bitter" more readily.

    Anyone think of a suitable minimal pair?
     

    Enlasarenas

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish-Galician
    timpeac said:
    An unvoiced "d" is a "t"!:)


    Anyone think of a suitable minimal pair?
    I think someone pointed out the pair metal/medal earlier... Would that work?

    On another note, what about the following sentece in which there are three similar combinations of sounds:

    Let us eat some lettuce first and then we'll write letters...

    Any pronunciation difference between the first pair of words? And if so, in what cases would you voice the t?

    Cheers
     

    remosfan

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Enlasarenas said:
    On another note, what about the following sentece in which there are three similar combinations of sounds:

    Let us eat some lettuce first and then we'll write letters...

    Any pronunciation difference between the first pair of words? And if so, in what cases would you voice the t?
    For me at least, the first two end in different vowels, but as far as the t goes, it's the same for me throughout, a voiced tap as you called it previously.

    But I'm wondering about another group of words and how they're pronounced. For me it's:

    renter - unvoiced aspirated t
    render - voiced d
    redder - voiced tap (an r sound)

    And if there were a word "retter," I would not distinguish it from "redder." But this sound is different for me from the d in render. Does this bear any resemblance to the way others pronounce these words?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Isotta said:
    Exactly! It is not a [d]!

    I suppose the previously mentioned "metal" and "medal" would do nicely.

    Isotta.
    Good idea -

    Can the USAers amongst us please go out and survey? If you say "metal" or "medal" to someone - what percentage of people you ask get it right? (bearing in mind that if there really is no difference it should be around 50-50, so we are looking for a higher percentage correct if these are pronounced differently).

    By the way - there are definitely some American accents that pronounce these differently so we really need people who pronounce them identically/very similarly to do this.
     

    Oven

    Senior Member
    Chile, Spanish,pseudo-English, lame portuguese and french
    Ive seen you got really interested in the subject. In fact, I am a phonetics student but haven't come acroos any good explanation of this phenomena. when I wrote t weaking I meant for all those people who don't know phonetics since devoiving is a bit of a technical term. throughtout my english studies, Ive realised there is not just one way to pronounce words and also have noticed that the accent we are taught (RP) has been progressively disappearing. I've been listening a lot to britich dialects and this phenomena seems to be part of a new kind of english called Estuary english used mainly in london and it appears to be the replacement to the BBC english. I think this complex subject need more than a forum to be discussed.

    Anyway, I want to thank you all people for your valuable help.
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    foxfirebrand said:
    Yes, we Americans voice the intervocalic "t" (say budder for butter). In some English dialects intervocalic "t" and other consonants are obliterated almost altogether, leaving a glottal stop behind, an effect you also hear a lot in German.
    Where in German would that be?! Can you give some examples, fox? Thank you :).
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    gaer said:
    Angela Lansbury, in my opinion, is a "mimic". She can vary her accent from role to role in a way that amazes me. In order to hear how she really speaks, you would have to hear her interviewed, and it is possible that he original accent has been modified over the years. :)

    Gaer
    I've seen her a couple of months ago on Larry King Live, talking about her (at that time) new film "The Blackwater Lightship", where she played an Irish Grandma - they showed clips of the film where she has a very thick Irish accent (on purpose of course).
    Does Jessica Fletcher have a British kind of 'accent'?! I think that's pretty much the way she speaks usually. ;)
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Enlasarenas said:
    Let us eat some lettuce first and then we'll write letters...

    Any pronunciation difference between the first pair of words? And if so, in what cases would you voice the t?
    I particularly like this example, because my pronounciation of let depends entirely upon the letter or word that follows.
    In the example as written, I pronounce the underlined t as d throughout.
    If the sentence is changed to let me, I'm astonished to find that I replace the t with a glottal stop instead, as the British do in some instances (this one included??). If I'm sleepy it might slide to lemme but that wouldn't be my usual way. (but it would be, I think, for a lot of Americans).

    Even without a survey among my friends and relatives, I can say with some confidence that without context, you couldn't tell the difference between my pronounciation of medal and metal (or meddle, for that matter.)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    MrMagoo said:
    Where in German would that be?! Can you give some examples, fox? Thank you :).
    [I'm going to use this keystroke (`) to designate a glottal stop]

    There's a glottal stop any time a word like eine, die or wie is followed by a word that begins with a vowel. "Eine `andere," for example. Or "Die `Entführung aus dem Serail." Things might've changed in the past couple decades, but I don't think Germans tend to elide and say ein'andere or die'nt Fühurung, as a speaker of a Romance language might.

    I even hear a pre-vocalic glottal stop after für, at least in non-rhotic Low German dialects-- "für `Ihnen," z.b.

    Try to say "a `other" instead of another, and you'll make a glottal stop, assuming you pronounce the indefinite article "uh"-- which brings up another example, the glottal stop in the middle of the word "uh `oh."

    By the way, you wasted a post on the topic of Angela Lansbury's birthplace-- it's been covered earlier in the thread. Nun geben Sie uns eine `echte, `aufrichtige `Entshuldigung!
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    foxfirebrand said:
    [I'm going to use this keystroke (`) to designate a glottal stop]

    There's a glottal stop any time a word like eine, die or wie is followed by a word that begins with a vowel. "Eine `andere," for example. Or "Die `Entführung aus dem Serail." Things might've changed in the past couple decades, but I don't think Germans tend to elide and say ein'andere or die'nt Fühurung, as a speaker of a Romance language might.

    I even hear a pre-vocalic glottal stop after für, at least in non-rhotic Low German dialects-- "für `Ihnen," z.b.

    Try to say "a `other" instead of another, and you'll make a glottal stop, assuming you pronounce the indefinite article "uh"-- which brings up another example, the glottal stop in the middle of the word "uh `oh."

    By the way, you wasted a post on the topic of Angela Lansbury's birthplace-- it's been covered earlier in the thread. Nun geben Sie uns eine `echte, `aufrichtige `Entschuldigung!
    Oh that is what you mean - I thought you were taking about letters that are weakened and obliterated and therefore lead to the use of a glottal stop... which is never the case in German (at least not that I know of).
    You're right with all the other examples. ;)

    I'm sorry for the double posting of Angela Lansbury's birthplace ;) (but I don't think that the post was wasted *hehe*)
    (Btw: You'd not use the polite "Sie" form in a discussion forum; you can say "you" to me ;))
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    MrMagoo said:
    I'm sorry for the double posting of Angela Lansbury's birthplace ;) (but I don't think that the post was wasted *hehe*)
    (Btw: You'd not use the polite "Sie" form in a discussion forum; you can say "you" to me ;))
    It certainly wasn't wasted-- it gave me a segue! Okay, lass uns duen-- I hate to admit my German's so rusty, but I had a choice between being too formal or looking up "gib uns" to make sure I shouldn't be saying "geb uns." Too lazy.

    Edit for KellyB-- I'm glad someone else hears the glottal stop that replaces the "t" in "let me." It's hard, almost impossible, for people who read a lot and have a good visual memory for the written word-- to hear what they're/we're really saying.

    I think if you went around saying "lep me" you wouldn't raise an eyebrow-- provided you didn't give away the game by forcibly aspirating the "p." (Same reason that "sandwich" is becoming "samwich")
     

    PolkaGrammie

    New Member
    USA - American English
    SweetMommaSue said:
    Hello Oven,

    Well, I would have put this question in the English only forum, but I'm glad to have seen it. I have never heard of the terms "RP" and "GE" before. I see that they reference British versus North American accents, but what do the initials stand for? And are the Canadian and American accents really grouped together?

    As for "t weakening", does it mean how, in speech, the double t is pronounced as d? I saw this question, but not the answer. I do not believe that my English teachers ever explained "why" we pronounce certain t's that way; we just were told that correct pronunciation is one way for some words and another way for other words. It is a memory thing. However, now I must research this to see if I can find a rule. This is a great question!

    Perhaps, if one of the mods were to move this thread to the English only area, some of our resident experts would contribute.

    Thank you for the post!
    Sweet Momma Sue :)
    would this be related to phonics and the pronounciation of vowels, i.e. "hat" vs "hate" ??
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    OK, completed my brief unscientific survey of the two other people in the house. Attempt 1:
    Q: Hi, sweetie. What do you think a medal is?
    A: (paraphrased) Hi, Mom, it's the hard shiny heavy stuff you make strong things from.
    Q: yes, but what do you think a MEDAL is?
    A: I TOLD you, its (approximate repeat of the first reply).
    Q: well, what if I said you WON a medal, instead?
    A: OHHHHHH! well, why didn't you say what you meant...... I did?
    Q: sorry, no... (brief explanation).

    Q: Hi, sweetie, what do you think I mean when I say medal?
    A: Do you mean met-al or med-al?
    Q: Just wondering. This Englishman wanted to know if we really said both words exactly the same way here.
    ...edited...
    A: Why, what would HE say?
    Q: Well, metal would have either a glottal stop or a t.
    A: (wandering off, trying it out) hmmm. Me'al. me'al.....

    And you know what? He sounded just like a working class New Yorker from a 1950's war film. They still use that glottal stop in Brooklyn or Bronx or one of dose places dere.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Kelly B said:
    OK, completed my brief unscientific survey of the two other people in the house. Attempt 1:
    Q: Hi, sweetie. What do you think a medal is?
    A: (paraphrased) Hi, Mom, it's the hard shiny heavy stuff you make strong things from.
    Q: yes, but what do you think a MEDAL is?
    A: I TOLD you, its (approximate repeat of the first reply).
    Q: well, what if I said you WON a medal, instead?
    A: OHHHHHH! well, why didn't you say what you meant...... I did?
    Q: sorry, no... (brief explanation).

    Q: Hi, sweetie, what do you think I mean when I say medal?
    A: Do you mean met-al or med-al?
    Q: Just wondering. This Englishman wanted to know if we really said both words exactly the same way here.
    ...edited...
    A: Why, what would HE say?
    Q: Well, metal would have either a glottal stop or a t.
    A: (wandering off, trying it out) hmmm. Me'al. me'al.....

    And you know what? He sounded just like a working class New Yorker from a 1950's war film. They still use that glottal stop in Brooklyn or Bronx or one of dose places dere.
    Kelly,

    I think I say: Aluminum is a "medal". My eyes have been very tired lately, so I've been listening to a lot of books.

    AE: liddle, come ON, directly, ad all (at all), etc.
    BE: little, COM own, die RECT ly, a TOLE (at all), etc.

    I'm listening to a book right now, very nicely read, but the poor reader (UK) has to do one character who is American. It's quite awful.

    The difference between BE and AE pronunciation is so great, when you really start listening, I think it's a wonder we can understand each other aTOLE. ;)

    Gear
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    gaer said:
    Kelly,

    I think I say: Aluminum is a "medal". My eyes have been very tired lately, so I've been listening to a lot of books.

    AE: liddle, come ON, directly, ad all (at all), etc.
    BE: little, COM own, die RECT ly, a TOLE (at all), etc.

    I'm listening to a book right now, very nicely read, but the poor reader (UK) has to do one character who is American. It's quite awful.

    The difference between BE and AE pronunciation is so great, when you really start listening, I think it's a wonder we can understand each other aTOLE. ;)

    Gear

    Hmm... I have to admit that for me, British English is harder to understand than American English, esp. when I talk to someone Scottish ;) but - on the basis of standard versions, I'd say they're both understandable. :)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    MrMagoo said:
    Hmm... I have to admit that for me, British English is harder to understand than American English, esp. when I talk to someone Scottish ;) but - on the basis of standard versions, I'd say they're both understandable. :)
    I find BE and AE equally clear or impossible to understand, according to diction and region. Scottish English, although technically BE (is it?), because it is part of the UK, is SO different. But I do enjoy listening to the Scots and the Irish, because the accents are so musical. :)

    Gaer
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    gaer said:
    I find BE and AE equally clear or impossible to understand, according to diction and region. Scottish English, although technically BE (is it?), because it is part of the UK, is SO different. But I do enjoy listening to the Scots and the Irish, because the accents are so musical. :)

    Gaer
    The Scots are no easier for the rest of the UK to understand either!! Although, to be fair, it is by no means the whole of Scotland which is hard to understand, just parts. In particular Glasgow I think.

    I remember being in a pub and a very very big and scary looking Scottish guy saying something to me of which I could not decipher a word. This was not a guy who I wanted to upset so I just smiled and nodded while he repeated it ever more agitated. In the end he cast his eyes to heaven and wandered off.

    That's when I noticed I'd set my coat alight with a cigarette...:eek:
     
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