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  1. #1
    EngFan is offline Member
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    Default Native Speakers never confuse "Can" and Can't"???

    Hi All,

    I am not a native english speaker, I always confuse the pronunciation of "Can" and "Can't" in American English Pronunication, as I know when stressing the "Can", the sound would be similar to "Can't", in fast speech "t" in "can't" will be dropped, so it is very hard to understand people are saying "Can" or "Can't", I'll analyse the sentence and guess the meaning and get the meaning is "Can" or "Can't", I was wondering if native speakers never have this confusion?

    EngFan

  2. #2
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Native Speakers never confuse "Can" and Can't"???

    No, we never do. They have different intonation, and more importantly different decay rates at the end of the syllable. Can't decays (is stopped) very rapidly, whereas can decays (stops) smoothly and gradually.

  3. #3
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    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Native Speakers never confuse "Can" and Can't"???

    I can't agree.

    It's not at all uncommon to have to interrupt someone to say "I'm sorry, did you say 'can' or 'can't'?"

    I can tell/I can't tell -- it can be very hard to distinguish them, especially when people speak quickly or indistinctly.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Native Speakers never confuse "Can" and Can't"???

    If that was true, we'd be using some other formulation, some other pair of antonyms. But we don't need them, so the difference is well beyond the minimum threshold of perception.

  5. #5
    EngFan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Native Speakers never confuse "Can" and Can't"???

    Thank you for the replies, but it's kind of hard to understand your text explanation, do you have any video from youtube or somewhere to teach me how to distinguish "can" and "can't in American English? Thanks.

  6. #6
    DontBanMe is offline Member
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    Default Re: Native Speakers never confuse "Can" and Can't"???

    Quote Originally Posted by EngFan View Post
    Hi All,

    I am not a native english speaker, I always confuse the pronunciation of "Can" and "Can't" in American English Pronunication, as I know when stressing the "Can", the sound would be similar to "Can't", in fast speech "t" in "can't" will be dropped, so it is very hard to understand people are saying "Can" or "Can't", I'll analyse the sentence and guess the meaning and get the meaning is "Can" or "Can't", I was wondering if native speakers never have this confusion?

    EngFan
    Well, I've no problem distinguishing those two pronunciation though I'm not a native speaker. I think you should watch more American programmes.
    I've been watching sitcom like Victorious, Icarly, andHannah Montana and other tv show since the beginning of the year. I think you should be able to find out the difference between these two sounds after watching numerous american tv programmes. By the way, Do you have the difficulty pronouncing those two words in American English? Before you can hear the difference, you should learn how to pronounce the word Can or Can't differently.So you might be able to differentiate which is which. Here's a video link. it's about CAN and CAN'T YouTube - ‪can / can't‬‏
    Please always use Youtube. You get many videos related to your question there. I hope this helps!

  7. #7
    thatone is offline Member
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    Default Re: Native Speakers never confuse "Can" and Can't"???

    I think Rachel's English video about this issue is pretty good

    Can Vs. Can't | Rachel's English

    Though can-can't might usually have a different vowel or vowel length /kɛən/-/keənt̚/ or /keən/-/kɪənt̚/, it can be hard to differentiate them at times.
    Last edited by thatone; 24-May-2011 at 06:21.

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