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  1. #1
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Assimilation - canīt

    Hello, everyone!

    I have been reading and, actually, agreeing with the notion of a stop t in "I canīt understand". But I thought of something!
    In the phrase "I canīt believe it", one can drop the t and assimilate the n, which would give: I cam believe it. The sound of the a in "cam" is, precisely, the sound of a in "canīt with a so-called stop t (I canīt understand)". So, my question is: thereīs no stop t in "I canīt understand", is there?
    Thanks!

    (Iīm insisting on this particular subject because my native teacher insists thereīs a stop t in the given situation. But, if there is, how can the same sound be made in "cam"? Which, obsviously, does not have a t?)

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    You must be talking about American English, as in BE the vowel's different: can - /kæn/; can't - /ka:nt/

    But in any case I don't know what you (or your teacher) mean(s) by 'stop t'. The stop that replaces the /t/ is a glottal stop, and this [ʔ] can replace any stop (not just /t/).

    b

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    You must be talking about American English, as in BE the vowel's different: can - /kæn/; can't - /ka:nt/

    But in any case I don't know what you (or your teacher) mean(s) by 'stop t'. The stop that replaces the /t/ is a glottal stop, and this [ʔ] can replace any stop (not just /t/).

    b
    It is amazing to me that any teacher can insist on the pronunciation of words by other people. Not everyone I know in the US pronounces all words the same. And, then as you pointed out, there are other varieties of English. I have heard people insist that "fountain" is pronounced with stop t, but I pronounce it with a clear t.

  4. #4
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    You must be talking about American English, as in BE the vowel's different: can - /kæn/; can't - /ka:nt/

    But in any case I don't know what you (or your teacher) mean(s) by 'stop t'. The stop that replaces the /t/ is a glottal stop, and this [ʔ] can replace any stop (not just /t/).

    b

    Hello again! Well, what she says is that, even before a vowel sound, there will be a t left in words that end with nt (went, canīt, donīt, blatant). She says the proof this t occurs is the raising of the soft palate, given that nasals are produced with the soft palate down. But, then again, Iīve read that thereīs no such thing and that the proof of it is the assimilation I mentioned. By the way, am I right in saying itīs possible: I "cam" believe it? I copied it from this example: I donīt believe it - I don believe it - I dom believe it. By the way, my teacherīs American, from NYC.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    It seems to me dangerous to talk about about a vague thing like 'a little bit of t left' and not talk about the anatomical realities involved. There is a stop; it is a glottal stop (occurring in the glottis); but there is no dental stop 'left'. The idea of something being 'left' is a romantic oversimplification.

    I'd better not say any more; I don't think this is going anywhere useful.

    b

    PS In my original response I was being theoretical when I said 'The glottal stop can replace any stop'. In practice, it repolaces /t/ more than any other,

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    I agree with what Bob has said.

    I don't think we can get anywhere unless we can find out what your teacher means by stop t, an expression that I, with a little knowledge of phonetics, have not met, though apparently Mike has. As Bob said, "The idea of something being 'left' is a romantic oversimplification".

    It would be useful in future posts if we used phonetic/phonemic transcription for words being discussed.

  7. #7
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    It's a question of decay, the accoustics (physics) concept.... how fast the end of the word 'stops.'
    Can decays gradually, like a song slowly going away, whereas can't decays suddenly, like a twig breaking.

  8. #8
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I agree with what Bob has said.

    I don't think we can get anywhere unless we can find out what your teacher means by stop t, an expression that I, with a little knowledge of phonetics, have not met, though apparently Mike has. As Bob said, "The idea of something being 'left' is a romantic oversimplification".

    It would be useful in future posts if we used phonetic/phonemic transcription for words being discussed.

    She says you position the tongue for the t sound, but donīt release it. She uses [t/].

  9. #9
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    The effect of which is to end the syllable suddenly.

  10. #10
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Assimilation - canīt

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    The effect of which is to end the syllable suddenly.
    Right. So how can we get the same effect thru assimilation? I canīt (t/) believe - I "cam" believe?

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