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  1. #1
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    Pronouncing "THE"

    Re: The pronunciation of t-h-e. I have noticed that in recent years the use of the long i (thee) pronunciation when it comes before a word beginning with a vowel is being eliminated from common usage, even in the media with people who are supposed to be trained to use the language correctly. I, for one, find this distressing and would like to know why this is happening. It is a steadfast rule and, furthermore, the short i or schwa sound i when used before a vowel is awkward sounding. eg; "Thuh apple". Can anybody suggest why this is happening?

  2. #2
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Pronouncing "THE"

    Quote Originally Posted by fishline79 View Post
    Can anybody suggest why this is happening?
    Because phonological 'rules' are governed by what people say. What people say isn't governed by phonological 'rules'.

    It shouldn't be distressing. Anyone who enjoys language enough to know it's rules should enjoy it enough to realise that it is a dynamic being. Phonology especially is always changing from one generation to another. With English becoming a sort of lingua franca in the world, phonological changes are only going to become more frequent.

    You can't stop phonological change. No more than any other aspect of language. All you can do is keep what you say yourself as you say it.

  3. #3
    harrypurple is offline Newbie
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    Re: Pronouncing "THE"

    Interesting. I haven't noticed this. I think I still use the 'thee' sound before a vowel because it is easiest way to flow the words together. To use the short 'thuh' sound needs a stoppage after it if used before a vowel. It isn't as natural. If speaking quickly I think the 'thee' sound is still used but if speaking slowly more the 'thuh' sound. Maybe you are hearing it for example on the news or radio 4 where although they speak RP usually and 'proper' English, they also tend to speak quite slowly.

    Just a thought ...

  4. #4
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    Re: Pronouncing "THE"

    I realized that too, I actually see my daugher(she is 7) pronunced more like "thaa" and I do not why buy she learned english in school.

  5. #5
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Pronouncing "THE"

    Quote Originally Posted by fishline79 View Post
    Re: The pronunciation of t-h-e. I have noticed that in recent years the use of the long i (thee) pronunciation when it comes before a word beginning with a vowel is being eliminated from common usage, even in the media with people who are supposed to be trained to use the language correctly. I, for one, find this distressing and would like to know why this is happening. It is a steadfast rule and, furthermore, the short i or schwa sound i when used before a vowel is awkward sounding. eg; "Thuh apple". Can anybody suggest why this is happening?
    I haven't noticed this either. How widespread do you think it is?

  6. #6
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    Re: Pronouncing "THE"

    Quote Originally Posted by fishline79 View Post
    Re: The pronunciation of t-h-e. I have noticed that in recent years the use of the long i (thee) pronunciation when it comes before a word beginning with a vowel is being eliminated from common usage, even in the media with people who are supposed to be trained to use the language correctly. I, for one, find this distressing and would like to know why this is happening. It is a steadfast rule and, furthermore, the short i or schwa sound i when used before a vowel is awkward sounding. eg; "Thuh apple". Can anybody suggest why this is happening?
    Yes, I agree with you as I have same experience to you. I thought all native speaker would follow the rule, when "the" before vowels a, e, i, o, u, it will pronounce as long i sound but it's not true in the real world. I always watch american and british movies and TV series, some of people wouldn't follow the rule to pronounce "the". This phenomenon happens because the speakers can't predict what he/she will say after "the", perhaps "orange", "tree"...and they speak very fast in conversation, so it's very hard to follow the rule to speak it correctly....In the education point of view, I do think people should follow the rule, but in the real world, it really depends on, just speak it naturally and fluently, that's good enough....

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