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  1. #1
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    Default Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    asked the man and ask the man?

    It's really hard for me to differentiate between their respective pronunciations. Sometimes I thought I heard 'ask de man' in the first case. More often, though, I cannot readily tell which is being said. I think native speakers must have a way of telling which is being pronounced, as the adding of 'ed' marks an important grammatical meaning. So, would anyone please help me with this? I'd be extremely grateful. Thanks.


  2. #2
    A.Russell is offline Member
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    Default Re: Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    Often you can tell by the contect in which they are used. In this case the correct meaning should be fairly easy to ascertain since the tense is different.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    In addition to context, there's phonology and phonetics,

    -ed is pronounced as [t] in asked the man: [aeskt] the man. It's pronounced as [t], a voiceless sound, because the sound the comes before, notably [k], is also voicesless. The last three consonants, [skt], all share voicelessness.

    Now, if your first language doesn't have syllable-final voiceless stops (e.g., [t], [k]) or syllabels that end in three consonants (e.g., [skt], then that might be one reason you're having difficulty picking up [t] in [aeskt].

    Now, if it's not your ears, but rather native speaker pronunciation that's the problem, there are a few additional pronunciations for asked:

    (1) asked, [aeskd]
    => in this case a native speaker pronounces final -ed as [d], a voiced sound. What happens here is the speaker finds that having three consonants at the end is either too difficult to say or it's just too inefficient, so s/he makes the string easier by making the last sound in the -sked string voiced, thereby making the string easier to pronounce: /aeskt/ => [askd]

    (2) asked, [aekst] (sounds like axed)
    => in this case, the native speaker makes the string easier to pronounce by switching /s/ and /k/ around: sk => ks

    ===
    asked the man => ask [d]e man

    In this case, final [d] and initial 'th' produce ask[d]e man. What happens here is 'th' becomes [d], sharing place of articulation with final [d]. The reason, with consonant clusters, especially across word or syllable boundaries, it's easier to pronounce similar sounds than it is to pronounce different sounds, like [d] then stop and make a new sound 'th'.

    Hope that helps out a bit.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    It really helps. I find it easier now for me to tell with your explanation in mind. A million thanks, Casiopea! ^_^

  5. #5
    Szymon is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea

    Now, if it's not your ears, but rather native speaker pronunciation that's the problem, there are a few additional pronunciations for asked:

    (1) ...
    (2) asked, [aekst] (sounds like axed)
    => in this case, the native speaker makes the string easier to pronounce by switching /s/ and /k/ around: sk => ks
    What do you mean by a different pronunciation for `asked` in case of `axed`?
    Do you mean that normal `asked` could be pronounced as `axed`?
    What would it mean then? And how could I guess that smn meant `asked` by sayin `axed`? Or maybe it`s me who misunderstood you, Casiopea?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Szymon
    What do you mean by a different pronunciation for `asked` in case of `axed`?
    Some native speakers pronounce asked as [aekst]. The reason being, the final consonant cluster [skt] of [aeskt] asked is difficult to say, so speakers metathesize, or switch the consonants around so they're easier to produce. In the case of asked => [aekst], speakers switch /sk/ to /ks/, giving [aekst], which sounds like 'axed'.
    Quote Originally Posted by Szymon
    Do you mean that normal `asked` could be pronounced as `axed`?
    Yes, that's correct. 'asked' is pronounced as [aekst] axed by some native speakers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Szymon
    And how could I guess that smn meant `asked` by sayin `axed`?
    Meaning is the key. Note, axed means to use an axe; e.g., I axed the tree. (I cut it down), whereas asked means to get information; e.g., I [aekst] the tree a question. Also, 'asked' and 'axed' are transitive verbs; 'axed' takes one object, but asked takes two objects:

    axe something
    ask somebody something

    asked
    I [aekst] the tree a question.

    axed
    I [aekst] the tree. (I cut it down)

    It's not always that clear, though. Dialect variations coupled with omitted words can result in ambiguity, even comic relief:

    Pat: I [aekst] the [tri:] (what they were doing)?
    Max: Huhn?
    Pat: I said, I asked the three what they were doing.
    Max. Oh. I thought you said you asked the tree what it was doing.
    Sam: Haha. I thought Pat said, I axed the tree!

  7. #7
    Szymon is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    WOW This is amazing, really, thanks for explanation

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is there any difference in pronunciation between ..

    You're welcome, Szymon

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