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  1. #21
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce "can't"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It's all very well for Americans not to pronounce the /t/ if they can do it and be understood. There are many subtle phonetic variations from the standard that are acceptable only because they are understandable. If you are not a native speaker, you should say the /t/. It's far more important that you are understood than that you drop the 't' on 'can't'.
    To me it's not really about whether the /t/ is pronounced, but whether it is rendered in some audible way despite being weakened, clipped or shortened.

    I usually explain can vs can't as using a physics wave diagram. People can tell the difference in AmE because the waveform ends abruptly in 'can't' --- just as abruptly as if you pronounced the /t/ --- whereas in 'can' the word tapers off over a rather long period of time in the voiced nasal consonant.

  2. #22
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: how to pronounce "can't"

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Thanks ems.

    There was a time when I said "don't", I didn't pronounce the "T's". My child's American teacher told me that I should pronounce the "T's". What is your opinion about that?
    Sounds often change in connected speech- we drop or add sounds to link things together. If you pronounce the /t/, you will always be understood.

  3. #23
    The apprentice is offline Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce "can't"

    Dear members:


    In my answer to this question, I have been told by my English phonology and phonetics teacher who has an american accent or style, that the alviolar stop consonants sound [T], [P] and [K], which are unvoiced or voiceless, not to be spit (spat) when they are at the end of a word, just to made a slightly sound.

    In regards to the word CAN and CAN'T, he also has taught me the following:

    1) When CAN is at the end of a sentence has its full pronunciation or sound; as if it were isolated, for example:

    Can you teach me how to dance?

    Yes, I can. /kŠn/

    I would like to go with you, but that depends if you can. /kŠn/

    2) When CAN is not at the end of a sentence, the vowel ''A'' becomes Schwa /ə/

    Can you go with me to the market Yulian? /kən/

    I can go with you Carlos, but a little later. /kən/


    3) About CAN'T, I have been taught the following:

    a░ = In negative, the sounds remain strong and consequently do not change to Schwa sound.

    b░) = The dental nasal consonant [N] is voiced and the alviolar stop consonant [T] is unvoiced or voiceless, so the voicing of the [N[ removes the unvoiced [T], but in this process the [T[ takes the voicing sound away from the [N] and let the [N] unvoiced, becoming the CAN'Tsound shorter than the normal. it sounds like CAN,
    but a little shorter.

    c░) = Does this phonological phenomenon happen in British English (BrE)?


    Sincerely,


    The Apprentice.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 15-Oct-2013 at 05:39. Reason: editing

  4. #24
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce "can't"

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    To me it's not really about whether the /t/ is pronounced, but whether it is rendered in some audible way despite being weakened, clipped or shortened.

    I usually explain can vs can't as using a physics wave diagram. People can tell the difference in AmE because the waveform ends abruptly in 'can't' --- just as abruptly as if you pronounced the /t/ --- whereas in 'can' the word tapers off over a rather long period of time in the voiced nasal consonant.
    Exactly. There isn't necessarily a full glottal stop replacing the t. A small hint of a stop is sufficient for intelligibilty.

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