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  1. #21
    Esgaleth's Avatar
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    ...most native speakers aren't aware of it, and even dispute it when you tell them - until they see a spectrogram.
    Indeed, it's hard to identify sounds in the stream of speech - it just goes without saying there should be /nd/ in 'handbag' not /m/ and even when pronounced with /m/ the word is clearly perceived according to its written form. Is it simply due to the context that the 'wrongly' pronounced words are easily understood?

    If there was any chance to have a look at that spectrogram, it would be really helpful.

  2. #22
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    it just goes without saying there should be /nd/ in 'handbag' not /m/
    There's no 'should' about it. The natural pronunciation of that word in informal and even semi-formal English for many speakers is with /m/. To pronounce /nd/ may well be inappropriate - unless you are Lady Bracknell.
    Is it simply due to the context that the 'wrongly' pronounced words are easily understood?
    It is not a matter of 'wrongly pronounced'. Within a particular variety/dialect and context, a pronunciation that might be inappropriate in another context is natural and 'correct'. Unlike a lot of people these days, I happen to pronounce 'forehead' 'waistcoat' and 'often' as if they were spelt 'forrid', 'weskit' and 'offen'. That's not wrong, though I have to admit that it's a little dated.

    Spellings are a crude attempt to represent the sounds of one common spoken version of a word - and many of our spellings were fixed centuries ago. The pronunciation of words has changed, but the spelling hasn't. We cannot say that because a word is spelt in a particular way it must be pronounced in that way,
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #23
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    ...
    If there was any chance to have a look at that spectrogram, it would be really helpful.
    Sorry The last time I saw one was forty-odd years ago. I did say a spectrogram!

    b

  4. #24
    Esgaleth's Avatar
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    There's no 'should' about it. The natural pronunciation of that word in informal and even semi-formal English for many speakers is with /m/.
    It's obvious to a teacher or someone with a particular knowledge in this field but not to an average native speaker. Many still believe they are saying /nd/ even when they naturally have /m/ instead. It takes time to realise that no matter how unreasonable /m/ might seem, /nd/ requires much more effort and is really challenging. So, full credit to Lady Bracknell - thanks for the link, I enjoyed it a lot

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It is not a matter of 'wrongly pronounced'. Within a particular variety/dialect and context, a pronunciation that might be inappropriate in another context is natural and 'correct'. Unlike a lot of people these days, I happen to pronounce 'forehead' 'waistcoat' and 'often' as if they were spelt 'forrid', 'weskit' and 'offen'. That's not wrong, though I have to admit that it's a little dated.
    Please, bear with me - I had 'wrongly' in inverted commas, didn't I Changeable pronunciation may well be the true sign of any live language, not solely English. We also have people of different generations speaking slightly differently but still within the norm. It could be an issue in teaching though, especially when learners tend to rely more on spelling than actually on listening.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Spellings are a crude attempt to represent the sounds of one common spoken version of a word - and many of our spellings were fixed centuries ago. The pronunciation of words has changed, but the spelling hasn't. We cannot say that because a word is spelt in a particular way it must be pronounced in that way,
    I was trying to understand what makes the word comprehensible when it is pronounced differently e.g. 'handbag'. Dictionaries have it like /handbag/ or /han(d)bag/ at best. Clearly, with only one sound altered (omitted) the word is still recognisable. In case with /'a'/ you need the whole context to understand that it was /hat/ in fact.

    When I cannot understand a word in my L1 I try to imagine it written (or ask the speaker to spell it for me), the same is true for me in English. I assume other people follow the same procedure for recognising the word. If so, we still have to rely on the spelling. It looks like the way the word is pronounced is somehow anchored to the way it is spelt. Does it make sense?

  5. #25
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    ...

    I was trying to understand what makes the word comprehensible when it is pronounced differently e.g. 'handbag'. Dictionaries have it like /handbag/ or /han(d)bag/ at best. Clearly, with only one sound altered (omitted) the word is still recognisable. In case with /'a'/ you need the whole context to understand that it was /hat/ in fact.

    When I cannot understand a word in my L1 I try to imagine it written (or ask the speaker to spell it for me), the same is true for me in English. I assume other people follow the same procedure for recognising the word. If so, we still have to rely on the spelling. It looks like the way the word is pronounced is somehow anchored to the way it is spelt. Does it make sense?
    I'm not sure where 'hat' came from, but - incidentally - a similar sort of thing happens with 'hat-box', which in informal speech (although it's not now a very common piece of equipment) becomes /'hæpbɒks/ (although the /p/ isn't released).

    'Anchored' isn't a very good word in the case of spoken English.

    b

  6. #26
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Let's just take one point
    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    I was trying to understand what makes the word comprehensible when it is pronounced differently e.g. 'handbag'. Dictionaries have it like /handbag/ or /han(d)bag/ at best. Clearly, with only one sound altered (omitted) the word is still recognisable.
    Normal dictionaries tend to give only what we might call the careful pronunciation. If you look at the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary or the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary you'll find both the /nd/ and the /m/ versions. In British English alone you will hear all of these, and more, variations: /hændbæg/, /hendbeg/, /hænbæg/, /henbeg/, /ʔændbææg/, /ʔendbeg/, /hæmbæg/, /æmdæg/ ... .These would usually be considered allophonic, rather than phonemic, variations, and most native speakers of BrE would consider them simply as dialect versions of the same word.

    In some languages,(Czech seems to be an example) minor variations in the quality of the sound can render a word incomprehensible to native speakers. This is not the case in English. Some English vowels, (/
    æ/, for example) can have a wide range of variations. Within each speaker's dialect/idiolect, however, a speaker's version of nearly every phoneme will be different from nearly all other phonemes. *

    We rarely utter words in isolation. If we do, we may revert to spelling, though semi-literate people may not spell correctly. That doesn't matter - we still know what is meant:
    A: "Cough - C - O U - G - H"
    B: "Cough - K - O - F"


    Normally context tells us what is meant. If a speaker of dialect X says, "I spent the day with my mate" and pronounces the word 'day' almost as I would pronounce 'die', there is no confusion. The word 'die' would make no sense there, and nearly every other word tells me that he is a speaker of another dialect, even if I can't tell which one. So, I know he is saying 'day'.


    *There are a small number of exceptions. For example, some speakers use different phonemes in the words pore and poor, others do not. This does not change the general picture.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #27
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    I'm sure '/æmdæg/' was a typo for '/æmbæg/.

    b

  8. #28
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I'm sure '/æmdæg/' was a typo for '/æmbæg/.
    No. I put that in to see if anybody actually reads posts like that. Congratulations.

    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  9. #29
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    Default Re: There are at least two different pronunciations for "Eleven"?

    Wouldn't a speaker of dialect X actually say, "I spent the die with my mite"? ;)

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