Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    fenglish is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    207
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words

    Hi,

    In many situations, it is hard to hear clearly if the talker says "can" and "can't", sometimes, I just guess that.

    How to distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    masterding is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    283
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words

    Quote Originally Posted by fenglish View Post
    Hi,

    In many situations, it is hard to hear clearly if the talker says "can" and "can't", sometimes, I just guess that.

    How to distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words.

    Thanks.

    It depends on whether you speak British English or American English.
    For British English it's easy,can is pronounced [kæn],whereas can't is pronounced[kɑ:nt].
    AS for American English it's more complicate,because normally t(can't) is not pronounced ,so it pretty much depends on the stress, for example,"I can't do it." [I kæn(t) do it] ,Both can't and do are stressed .
    "I can do it." [I kən do it],only do is stressed.
    I hope it helps you.

  3. #3
    Whiskeyjack is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words

    It's tricky. I find that people usually put more emphasis on the word "can't" than "can". "Can" often gets slurred a bit.

    If it sounds like, "I kin do it" or "I c'n do it" it's probably "can".

    If you can easily hear the "a" sound, it's more likely "can't".

    I hope this helps!

  4. #4
    fenglish is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    207
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words

    Quote Originally Posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
    It's tricky. I find that people usually put more emphasis on the word "can't" than "can". "Can" often gets slurred a bit.

    If it sounds like, "I kin do it" or "I c'n do it" it's probably "can".

    If you can easily hear the "a" sound, it's more likely "can't".

    I hope this helps!
    So, should we never put emphasis on "can"? it seems emphasis is the patent of "can't".

  5. #5
    greegorush is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    222
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words

    Quote Originally Posted by fenglish View Post
    So, should we never put emphasis on "can"? it seems emphasis is the patent of "can't".
    I think your conclusion is wrong. Say it as clear as possible.

  6. #6
    fenglish is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    207
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words

    Quote Originally Posted by greegorush View Post
    I think your conclusion is wrong. Say it as clear as possible.
    If I speak "can't", I will also pronounce "t".

    It is hard to hear clearly if speaking by someone else, sometimes, I heard it is "can", but actually it is "can't".

  7. #7
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    576
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: distinguish "can" and "can't" in spoken words

    Quote Originally Posted by masterding View Post
    It depends on whether you speak British English or American English.
    For British English it's easy,can is pronounced [kæn],whereas can't is pronounced[kɑ:nt].
    AS for American English it's more complicate,because normally t(can't) is not pronounced ,so it pretty much depends on the stress, for example,"I can't do it." [I kæn(t) do it] ,Both can't and do are stressed .
    "I can do it." [I kən do it],only do is stressed.
    I hope it helps you.
    (Not a teacher)

    I would say the replacement of word final 't' with a glottal stop is just as prevelant in British varieties of English as American. Not standard British English, but the major 'flavours' all drop word final 't' in the same way.

    I find the glottal stop (the 't' in 'can't') is heard as a sort of break/pause before the next word, which you don't get when there is no glottal stop (i.e. when the word is 'can'). This is how I would distinguish it, at least.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •