Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    thincat is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    114
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    Hi,

    When pronouncing the words, "forever" and "wherever," does the /r/ sound "link" with /e/ to form a /re/ sound? The IPA shows that "forever" should be read as / fərˈevə(r)/, with /r/ and /e/ separated by a /'/ symbol, instead of / fə'revə(r)/, is there any special implication?

    In fact, I sometimes seem to hear native speakers saying "forever" or "wherever" without the /r/ sound. But because it's in conversational speech, and I am not a native speaker of English, I am not sure if I am right.

    Therefore, I have recorded some sound files. In sound files "forever1.mp3" and "wherever1.mp3", I said the /r/ sound, but in "forever2.mp3" and "wherever2.mp3," I tried to omit it. Which ones are more natural to you?

    forever1.mp3
    forever2.mp3
    wherever1.mp3
    wherever2.mp3

    Thank you very much!
    Last edited by thincat; 24-Jan-2013 at 18:03.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    Quote Originally Posted by thincat View Post
    When pronouncing the words, "forever" and "wherever," does the /r/ sound "link" with /e/ to form a /re/ sound?
    In both words, the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary has the stress mark before the /r/. The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary has it after. I think the Cambridge version is better, unless the second syllable is strongly stressed.

  3. #3
    thincat is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    114
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    I wonder what the differences are between the two transcriptions. If we have the stress placed in /e/, does it mean that there will not be a /re/ sound, but something sounds like /fəˈevə/?

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    Quote Originally Posted by thincat View Post
    I wonder what the differences are between the two transcriptions. If we have the stress placed in /e/, does it mean that there will not be a /re/ sound, but something sounds like /fəˈevə/?
    No. If there is /r/ in the transcription, then it is sounded.

    My feeling, and I have not discussed this with Wells, is that if the syllable-stress symbol is placed before the /r/, then to second syllable is /rev/, which seems natural to me. If the symbol is placed after the /r/, then it makes the first syllable /fər/ and the second /ev/ which seems less natural to me.

    Unfortunately I do not have access to a spectogram these days. When I try the word myself, I am moderately sure that I prefer Roach's Cambridge transciption. However, the more I try it, and get colleagues to say the word (in complete sentences) the less sure I am. I have looked through several dictionaries at onelook.com; they seem to be pretty evenly split. However, where they give a spoken pronunciation, the syllable split does not always agree with the transcribed syllable split.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No. If there is /r/ in the transcription, then it is sounded.
    Sorry, that answer was not correct. In the LPD transcription, the /r/ is italicised, meaning it may not be pronounced.

  6. #6
    thincat is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    114
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    Thanks a lot for doing so much “research” for me! I am really grateful for that!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Sorry, that answer was not correct. In the LPD transcription, the /r/ is italicised, meaning it may not be pronounced.
    I guess it is what I pronounced in “forever2.mp3.” By the way, is the case the same for the word “wherever” as well? I mean is it correct to omit the /r/ sound in “wherever” just as what I did “wherever2.mp3.” Actually, after I listen to my recordings again, I feel a bit strange for “forever1.mp3” and “wherever1.mp3,” in which I retained the /r/ sound. Do you have this feeling as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    However, where they give a spoken pronunciation, the syllable split does not always agree with the transcribed syllable split.

    As an ESL learner, I feel that sometimes what is written in the IPA may not be what is really pronounced or heard. Just like the word “schedule.” Although dictionaries show me /ˈʃed.juːl/, I hear /dʒ/ in the Cambridge dictionary recording instead of /dj/. I felt quite puzzled before I learned that /d/ and /j/ can combine into /dʒ / in connected speech. Therefore, to me, spoken English is quite an abstract aspect compared to written English. (For the latter, at least what is written is what it truly is!). Learning spoken English really requires native speakers to help sometimes.

    But fortunately, I came across UsingEnglish.com, in which there are teachers, native speakers and non-native English learners willing to offer help! I hope I will be able to get assistance from this forum in the future!

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    Quote Originally Posted by thincat View Post
    As an ESL learner, I feel that sometimes what is written in the IPA may not be what is really pronounced or heard. Just like the word “schedule.” Although dictionaries show me /ˈʃed.juːl/, I hear /dʒ/ in the Cambridge dictionary recording instead of /dj/. I felt quite puzzled before I learned that /d/ and /j/ can combine into /dʒ / in connected speech. Therefore, to me, spoken English is quite an abstract aspect compared to written English. (
    Spoken English is far from an abstract concept. With modern recording devices, spectograms, etc, phoneticians can give very accurate descriptions indeed of the sounds we make. Unfortunately, unlike the printed word in English, in which, assuming the same font is used, whoever prints the word will use exactly the same symbols* speech is more like handwriting - every person's handwriting is different in some tiny way. An individual's version of a word s/he wrote one day is not exactly the same as the version s/he wrote yesterday. The sounds we make are similarly slightly different, and one speaker's version may be noticeably similar from another person's, even if they speak the same dialect

    Both the EPD and the LPD give both /dj/ and /ʤ/for that consonant, reflecting the fact that both versions, and many in between, are heard. (I'm a /dj/ person.) Except in very careful speech, there is little difference when you hear the two sounds in the middle of a word. Dictionaries, which give phonemic rather than phonetic transcriptions give the versions that are closest to those spoken and recognised by the majority of speakers of the variety they are recording.


    *but note the small differences between a,a, a, a, a,a, a,,a, a,a, a,a,a, a, a, a, a, a,a, a,,a, a, and a,

  8. #8
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    4,798
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /r/ in "forever" and "wherever"

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    In both words, the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary has the stress mark before the /r/. The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary has it after. I think the Cambridge version is better, unless the second syllable is strongly stressed.
    I agree. But, in reality, our syllable division rules may be a compromise between our half-Saxon half-Latin vocabulary. In many words, it seems more accurate, if not more natural, to divide the syllables the French way, with the consonant belonging to the following vowel.

    But we were right to do it in the way that we do. In quintessential English words, a syllable quite often has a consonant at the beginning and end of each syllable, which is quite rare in world languages.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 17-Sep-2012, 04:23
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-Jul-2012, 19:53
  3. [Vocabulary] How do you pronounce "Cotton", "Button", "Britain", "Manhattan"...
    By Williamyh in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2009, 08:36
  4. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Sep-2008, 08:27
  5. confusing words "expressed" or "express" and "named" or"names"
    By Dawood Usmani in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-Oct-2007, 19:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •