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  1. #1
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    pronunciation of two, too and to

    How do we pronounce the words "two", "too" and "to". Are there differences?

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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    We say them all the same way.

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    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    Are you sure they pronounce all the same? I need to give a class on that subject. I thought "too" sounded a little longer than "two" for instance.
    How is the phonetic transcription for these words?

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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    All the same: [tu].

  5. #5
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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    , with one proviso: all the same when unstressed*:

    'The journey to the conference was fine, but coming back the traffic was terrible.'

    (Stressed: /tu:/.)

    'I've been to London many times.'

    (Usually unstressed: /tə/.)

    'Too' is of its nature stressed, and I can't imagine an unstressed form of 'two'. These two are pronounced the same. But in 'There were too many to count' there are two pronunciations - except in the case of contrastive stress (for example, correcting a misplaced preposition; Language learner: "There too many for count"/Corrector: "You mean 'There were too many to count.'"

    b

    PS Academic students of linguistics may find my use of "/" confusing; it's not right, I know, but it's what most language learners use (in my experience )

    PPS * My first 'unstressed' should have been preceded by 'not' or 'unless'. Still, my point was clear.
    Last edited by BobK; 16-Jun-2009 at 15:49.

  6. #6
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    Ooh, good point Bobk.

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    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    Ok guys, thank you very much for your help. All your tips were very useful, the class I gave focusing on the subject was fine.
    However, as I researched more on the subject, another doubt occurred to me:
    The sound /t/ in English. For example, we know there is a difference on the
    beginning /t/ sound of the words 'to' and 'tooth'. However on the phonetic
    transcriptions for these words which I found, the /t/ sound was the same.
    Is there a differente phonetic symbol for these two /t/ sounds?

    Another examples:
    tea X teeth - tomato X two - top X today - took X tomorrow

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    the sound /t/ in english. For example, we know there is a difference on the
    beginning /t/ sound of the words 'to' and 'tooth'.

    we do? Who told you that?

    however on the phonetic
    transcriptions for these words which i found, the /t/ sound was the same.
    Is there a differente phonetic symbol for these two /t/ sounds?

    there is only one sound, represented in IPA as [t]. It's an unvoiced alveolar plosive.

    another examples:
    Tea x teeth - tomato x two - top x today - took x tomorrow

    all [t].
    r.

  9. #9
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    No* - an initial "t" makes the sound [t] With some consonants the place of articulation of the consonant varies with the following vowel: the difference is slight, and it's not worth bothering language students with it, but - for example - the /k/ phoneme produces slightly different sorts of [k] in the words 'keep' 'call' 'car' 'cool' 'Kyle' 'kill' and so on (because /k/ is a palatal consonant, and the palate is in a different position because of the following vowel in each case).

    But this isn't so with the /t/ phoneme; it's a dental, and the teeth (usually!) stay where they are.

    b

    *This was addressed to the post before Raymott's

  10. #10
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: pronunciation of two, too and to

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post

    But this isn't so with the /t/ phoneme; it's a dental, and the teeth (usually!) stay where they are.
    I'm pretty sure the English [t] is an alveolar plosive, not a dental. That's the way I say it.
    Dental [t] occurs in some languages, such as Hindi, which has and as dental [ta] and [tha] to contrast with their retroflex [t]s.
    But a good English [t] goes nowhere near the teeth, nor retroflexively.

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