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  1. #1
    Latixer is offline Newbie
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    Default /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    Spanish speakers tend to make mistakes with the pronunciation of the letter "a" in words like "nation", "favourite" or "basic". It sounds /ae/ in our language and /ei/ in English. Does anybody know if there's a rule to clarify it?

    Thanx

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    Do you have the sound /ei/ in Spanish?

  3. #3
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    mara_ce is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    I pronounce the /eɪ/ in nation like ley (law) and rey (king).

    YouTube - Pronunciacion de los diptongos en ingles

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Do you have the sound /ei/ in Spanish?
    Only when it's a digraph, as in peine - 'comb'. And I'm afraid the OP was a bit misleading about 'ae' - by which I imagine s/he means //. English people tend to use the // phoneme when speaking Spanish. But the Spanish vowel is a pure [a].

    b

    PS What I mean is that our 'pan' and Sp pan (=bread) don't sound the same - the sound of pan is more like (but by no means the same as) 'pun'.
    Last edited by BobK; 03-Nov-2010 at 16:01. Reason: PS Added

  5. #5
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    Default Re: /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    Maybe the OP has heard the word "national" which is pronounced /n/.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by mara_ce View Post
    I pronounce the /eɪ/ in nation like ley (law) and rey (king).

    YouTube - Pronunciacion de los diptongos en ingles

    Thanks for that. But I think Latixer's question is about knowing when to use /eɪ/ (as in 'nature') and when to use // (as in 'natural'). There are one or two straightforward rules (that must be dealt with on a web page somewhere - where is Casiopeia when you need her? ), such as '//, and other short vowels before a double consonant or a single consonant when it's not followed by 'e' (in the same syllable): so 'hate' with /eɪ/ and 'hat', 'Mad Hatter' etc with //.'

    But words have (there's an exception - it 'should' be /heɪv/ [rhyming with 'behave', which is sometimes - in poetry - reduced to "'have"; and Shakespeare wasn't too picky about apostrophes ])... as I was saying...
    words have found their way into modern English from so many sources and by so many different routes that it's hard to pin down any useful rules. (Apart, or course, from "Get a dictionary that uses the IPA, and learn to make the most of it"

    b

  7. #7
    Latixer is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    Thank you all. I'll think about all these helpful ideas and see if I can come to any conclusions.

  8. #8
    raindoctor is offline Member
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    Default Re: /ei/ vs /ae/, any rules?

    a-gen-cy, va-can-cy, ca-den-cy, la-ten-cy (tense vowel: like hay, may)
    ab-sen-cy (consonant cluster gets split across the syllables): lax vowel like hat

    re-gen-cy, de-cen-cy (tense)
    ten-den-cy (lax, consonant cluster nd gets split)

    po-ten-cy, co-gen-cy (tense)
    if there is a gibberish word like pok-ten-cy, you see a lax vowel like got, cot.


    you can see this patterns that got vowel digraphs.

    effi-'ca-cious (tense)
    con-scious (lax thanks to the consonant cluster)


    Many 2 syllable words have similar structure:

    a-nus, sta-tus, ma-gus, hi-a-tus, bo-nus, lo-cus (tense)
    mag-nus (lax, consonant cluster gn)

    na-tion (tense)
    fraction (lax, thanks to ct)


    pa-gan, rea-gan,ga-gan, hi-a-tus
    Last edited by raindoctor; 05-Nov-2010 at 04:23.

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