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  1. #1
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    Default vowel affected by the consonant following it

    Can anyone tell me how the pronunciation of a vowel will be affected by the consonant following it? For example, leg is pronounced like 'lig' and egg as 'ig'. (Some native speakers insist that they are pronounced with the e as the e in bed or Ted or FedEx.That means, there is no change.)


    To me,the properties of 'e' or 'i' seem to have changed when they are followed by 'k' or 'g' as in 'leg' or 'tick'.

    Does this change take place only when 'e' or 'i' is followed by the velar consonants 'g' and 'k'?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: vowel affected by the consonant following it

    The 'e' in leg has the same pronunciation as the 'e' in bed and hen
    If you are pronouncing it as 'lig' then you have been misinformed.
    E gives an 'i' sound is a small number of words one of them being the word English, another pretty.
    Where you usually get the change of sound is when there is a following (consonant - vowel) combination such as mere or penal - in both cases the 'E' here is pronounced as EE (Say of CHEESE to smile)
    E can also sound 'er' as in were and her - the e sounds like fern (which rhymes with turn)
    and 'ea' as in there which rhymes with care and bear
    The really tough part is that there is no easy rule to tell you which is the correct pronunciation - It is a matter of learning and remembering which is which.
    E can be a bit of a last resort vowel - When the first dictionaries were being compiled and decisions were made on how to write a word which had been spoken for centuries - the letter E often seems to have been put in just because none of the other vowels seemed to fit.

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: vowel affected by the consonant following it

    The person who mentioned the /lig/ pronunciation may have been referring to a different dialect. For example, in New Zealand English the short e does have the [i] sound - but that's nothing to do with the following consonant.

    b

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    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: vowel affected by the consonant following it

    The linguistic process of ‘assimilation’ is not uncommon in English. To pronounce the ‘e’ in <leg> & <egg> as the short ‘i’ /w/ / rather than the short ‘e’ /e/ would be either “wrong” as suggested by Niskelton or “dialectal” as indicated by BobK.

    It may be helpful to understand how a vowel is affected and annunciated in a particular word using phonics and some syllable division scheme as used by the CEPD (D Jones) or LPD (JC Wells).

    The 'e' in ‘leg’ and ‘egg’ is in a closed syllable. It’s pronounced as its short sound /e/. “Mere’ is what we call a vowel-r magic-e or vowel-r silent-e syllable. The final ‘e’ is silent and the other vowel is pronounced with its long sound. ‘Mere’ is therefore transcribed in IPA symbols as /mi:r/. Please note a variant pronunciation of ‘mere’ as /mwr/ (the short sound of ‘i’) as suggested by some dictionaries. ’Penal’ is a 2-syllable word. Using the MOP (maximal Onsets Principle), it’s divided thus ‘pe.nal’. This makes the 1st syllable (‘pe-’) an open syllable. The ‘e’ is uttered with its long sound /i:/. The whole word is therefore pronounced as /0pi+.nəl/ or /0pi+.nəl/. ‘Were’ in our rhotarized dialect is uttered: /wf+r/, /wd+/ or /wg+/.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: vowel affected by the consonant following it

    Dear Buddhaheart,

    Do you mean that no assimilation takes place when pronouncing the word like leg ,egg or tick?

    Regards,
    michael

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    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: vowel affected by the consonant following it

    I don’t think so, Michael.

    Interestingly, I came across another word ‘buffet’ that has its ‘e’ pronounced as a short ‘i’ when used as a verb.

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    peter123 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: vowel affected by the consonant following it

    Hi there,

    If you know the word 'let', I think you will pronounce 'leg' correctly.

    Thanks
    pete

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    Default Re: vowel affected by the consonant following it

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelfung View Post
    Can anyone tell me how the pronunciation of a vowel will be affected by the consonant following it? For example, leg is pronounced like 'lig' and egg as 'ig'. (Some native speakers insist that they are pronounced with the e as the e in bed or Ted or FedEx.That means, there is no change.)

    To me,the properties of 'e' or 'i' seem to have changed when they are followed by 'k' or 'g' as in 'leg' or 'tick'.

    Does this change take place only when 'e' or 'i' is followed by the velar consonants 'g' and 'k'?
    In some regional varieties of English, [ɛ] and sometimes [æ] become [eɪ] before voiced velar stops: egg and leg are pronounced as [eɪg] and [leɪg]. But the change does not occur before the voiceless [k].

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