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  1. #1
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Hello!

    Question: Words like at and has have reduced forms, where the schwa is the vowel sound. However, Ive heard people say these words with the same vowel sound as "ten". So my question is: does this mean I heard it correct? That, in such context, the vowel sound as in bat will reduce to the schwa or the vowel sound in "ten"? For instance, how do you say: "She says she has to go"?

    Thanks!

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    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    There are some varieties of English in which the vowel in such words as 'at' and 'has' may be pronounced /e/. However. I don't think that in such varierties /e/ is the unstressed form.

  3. #3
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Hello 5jj, thats what I thought at first, but the context is clearly for the unstressed variety. For example, he was at the door. What do you think, do you think ppl may reduce it until /e/ instead of going all the way to the schwa?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carolina1983 View Post
    Hello 5jj, thats what I thought at first, but the context is clearly for the unstressed variety. For example, he was at the door. What do you think, do you think people may reduce it until /e/ instead of going all the way to the schwa?

    Thanks!
    /e/ is not "on the way from // to schwa". Schwa is in the middle of the vowel diagram. Whether it's further from // than /e/, I'm not sure. I don't know of any major dialect that uses /e/ for //, but we all certainly use schwa in "at" when it's not stressed.

  5. #5
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Hi Raymott, yes, I get it. What confuses me is that I constantly hear people use the /e/ vowel sound where a schwa would be the first choice, since the word is unstressed (or would be according to context and the melody itself of the language). Thanks anywho!

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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carolina1983 View Post
    Hi Raymott, yes, I get it. What confuses me is that I constantly hear people use the /e/ vowel sound where a schwa would be the first choice, since the word is unstressed (or would be according to context and the melody itself of the language). Thanks anywho!
    Are you sure they are native speakers?

  7. #7
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Are you sure they are native speakers?
    I am! lol I hear it mostly on sitcoms, all the time. Like: "Shes at the door (et)" or She says she has to leave (hez)". How do you pronounce at and has in these sentences 5jj? Thanks!

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    I'd pronounce at as /ət/ and has to as /hstə/. Note the /s/ in /hstə/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carolina1983 View Post
    Hi Raymott, yes, I get it. What confuses me is that I constantly hear people use the /e/ vowel sound where a schwa would be the first choice, since the word is unstressed (or would be according to context and the melody itself of the language). Thanks anywho!
    Well, since no native speaker has confessed to saying [e] or [ɛ] for // here, and since a few of us are denying it happens with any frequency, I guess it might be your idiosyncratic interpretation. But that's possible, since [e] doesn't occur naturally in English - it's usually [ɛ]. So we natives might not interpret what you hear as an [e].
    The following indicates that NZE uses [ɛ] for //, but [e] doesn't occur (except apparently by us Aussies, for /e/ as 5jj points out below):
    International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If it's as prevalent as you think, maybe you could post a soundfile or YouTube video in which you consider that this [ɛ], ie. the sound in 'ten' occurs?

    Editings in blue, following 5jj's post below.
    Last edited by Raymott; 21-Jan-2014 at 07:56. Reason: Change /e/ for [e]

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    Default Re: At-Has etc. reduced forms!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    But that's possible, since /e/ doesn't occur naturally in English - it's usually [ɛ].
    I think you mean that [e] (Cardinal Vowel 3) does not occur naturally in English.

    The vowel that most Britsh writers transcribe phonemicaly as /e/ most certainly does occur. (Most American writers transcribe this sound phonemically as/ɛ/.) In modern standard southern BrE, this vowel is closer to [ɛ] than to[e], though a variant fairly close to [e] still occurs in the RP of some older speakers; this version can sound affected to younger speakers. In Australian English, the vowel is closer to [e].

    Note that I am not talking about the vowel in unstressed words, which is almost universally /ə/

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