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  1. Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    #1

    Question I can't (with dark a)!

    Hello,

    I've noticed that the phrase "I can't" is pronounced in two different ways:
    Pronunciation of can't - how to pronounce can't correctly.

    With usual a (like the a in bat)
    and with "dark a"! (not sure what it is called :) , but it is like the a in the word far)

    I've also noticed that it is common in British English to pronounce it with the "dark a".
    1. But are these accents in America that will pronounce "can't" with dark a?

    2. Do all British say "can't" with dark a?

    3. How do those who say "can't" with dark a, say "can"?


    And finally, I "can't" thanks you enough for your help :D

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    #2

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    In standard British English (RP) and most British dialects can't is pronounced /kɑnt/, while can is /kæn/.
    In standard American English (GA) and almost every American dialect both are pronounced with an a nasalized /æ/ (which can be /eə/, /ɛə/ or /ɪə/).

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    I have heard very few North Americans pronounce 'can't' with a nasalised vowel.

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    #4

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I have heard very few North Americans pronounce 'can't' with a nasalised vowel.
    That's strange. How about YouTube - ‪Robert Downey Jr. On The Late Late Show‬‏ (0:18) for example? (I was just watching it. )

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    #5

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I have heard very few North Americans pronounce 'can't' with a nasalised vowel.
    That's indeed strange, a non nasalized /æ/ would be dialectal. A /ɛ/ maybe, but /æ/?

    can't pronunciation: How to pronounce can't in English

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    I can't decide whether I hear any nasalisation in the examples you have both provided, but the American female about 10 down from the top in Thatone's example seems particularly clear in its non-nasalisation. But maybe you're right, and I haven't noticed it, as it may be less nasalised than the French and Portuguese nasal vowels I'm used to hearing.

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    #7

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    I guess saying it's tensed is a more general and better way of putting it.

  4. Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    Thanks all. :)
    What I've heard in the clip is that Craig Ferguson pronounced "I can't" the usual normal way (non-nasalised).


    birdeen's call,
    I'v googled and found out that the presenter is "Scottish-born, naturalized American". So I guess he might have pronounced it the American way, didn't he?

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    #9

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    birdeen's call,
    I'v googled and found out that the presenter is "Scottish-born, naturalized American". So I guess he might have pronounced it the American way, didn't he?
    I don't think Ferguson pronounces the word in a very American way. However, I meant Downey's pronunciation in my post and that pronunciation is American.

    Ferguson is a naturalized American, but he still has a clearly Scottish accent, although it has changed over the years. He's quite good at doing different accents too.

  5. Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: I can't (with dark a)!

    I've heard the clip over and over, and both the host and the guest pronounce "can't" in a non-nasalised typical American way.
    Didn't they?

    Thanks.

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