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  1. #1
    Constantinos is offline Newbie
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    Default phonetic readings "hi:" or "i:"

    I've been doing some phonetic readings lately, just to brush up a little on my streaming speech. Let's take the following sentences: A foolish young fellow once astonished an old clergyman by boasting that "he" didn't believe in anything "he" couldn't see and understand

    here is the phonetic transcription by D. Jones : 1st he = i: (long i) 2nd he = hi: (the h here is in italics and therefore optional)

    There are many such examples in my book "Phonetic Readings in English" by D. Jones

    …when he'd weighed it, he placed it on the counter… wen i:d weid it, hi: (here the h is not in italics) pleist it… I hope this is clear enough.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: phonetic readings "hi:" or "i:"

    With the first one, it would be very common to drop the 'h' to run the words together- it would slow things down. With the second, more speakers would say it, but a few would omit it too, especially in some regions.

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    Default Re: phonetic readings "hi:" or "i:"

    Additionally, in English word-final stops (p, t, k) tend to be de-aspirated. The puff of air (aspiration) that characterizes those "voiceless" sounds isn't as audible word-finally, so p, t, k sound like , [d], [g], respectively, but they are not voiced. There is no vocal fold vibration. They are de-aspirated.

    EX: that he is pronounced, tha[d] he (Note, "t" de-aspirated)

    Now, the pronoun "he" begins with an aspirated sound, [h], but when it follows a de-aspirated sound, it too becomes de-aspirated, which is why,

    EX: thathe is pronounced, tha[di:] (speech is a string of sounds)
    A foolish young fellow once astonished an old clergyman by boasting that he didn't believe in anything "he" couldn't see and understand
    As for the second "he", notice its environment. Aspirated [h] doesn't follow a voiceless sound (p, t, k). It follows a "voiced" stop, g.

    EX: anything he is pronounced, anything [hi:] (Note, "g" is voiced)

    Voiced [g] won't change the aspiration on [h], because the two don't share any similar characteristics. In fact, it's those differences which make them distinctive, and why speakers may make it a point to fully pronounce [h] in that environment.
    A foolish young fellow once astonished an old clergyman by boasting that he didn't believe in anything he couldn't see and understand
    Voiceless [t] and voiceless [h] share voicelessness. So, if you have two voiceless sounds in a row, and the first one is de-aspirated, then it's very likely the second one will be de-aspirated, too. The reason being, it's inefficent for a system, be it an engine or the human speech organ, to de-aspirate then aspirate. It's more efficient to continue the de-aspiration if the environment is suitable.

    All the best,

  4. #4
    Constantinos is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: phonetic readings "hi:" or "i:"

    Thank you both for your help on this one.

    Can you recommend a relevant site on the net?


    Constantinos

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    Default Re: phonetic readings "hi:" or "i:"

    Try searching under, English phonology; English phonetics.

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