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Thread: why ???

  1. #1
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    Default why ???

    hi. i have a question about pronunciation, pertaining to words such as :

    Province / Provincial

    I was wondering, why is "province" has a "pa - ra" sound at the beginning , but "provincial" has a "pr-oh" sound?

    Is there an English rule for thses types of prefixes??

    thanks!!

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: why ???

    The stress changes from the first syllable in 'province' to the second in 'provincial'. The unstressed sound becomes a schwa.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: why ???

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    The stress changes from the first syllable in 'province' to the second in 'provincial'. The unstressed sound becomes a schwa.
    sorry, but what do you mean by "schwa" ??

  4. #4
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    Default Re: why ???

    It's called tri-syllabic laxing. That's when a two-syllable word becomes a three-syllable word and stress is redistributed, like this,

    [1] pro'vince (two syllables)
    [2] pro'vin'cial (three syllables)

    In [1] the letter "o" is pronounces as [a], as in father, and in [2] the letter "o" is is pronounced as schwa, which is the sound the letter "e" makes in the word the.

    Here's how tri-syllabic laxing works: Add the suffix -al to the word province and the stress changes; it moves one syllable forward:

    [1] pro (stressed) vince
    [2] pro (unstressed) vin (stressed) cial

    In [2], stress is taken off of "o", pronounced [a], which reduces or laxes the vowel sound [a] to schwa. Other examples of schwa are,

    want to => wanna
    going to => gonna

    Schwa is unstressed. Any vowel stripped of its place of articulation is reduced to schwa.

    Hope that helps.

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