I wonder if, in normal speech, full devoicing of usually voiced consonants can occur? For example, I often hear native speakers correctly say /ɪz/ (is), but sometimes, especially if the word is not emphasized, it sounds to my ears like /ɪs/. This seems to happen especially at word endings.
I've noticed similar devoicing with other consonants, and it seems sometimes one is only left with other clues like vowel lengthening or context.
Is this bad hearing on my part or can full devoicing indeed occur in English depending on how much attention the native speaker pays to the correct pronunciation?
Yes, I'm taking about the word "is". Or "eyes", "games", "season", etc., where the bold s should be pronounced /z/. Sometimes I hear that very clearly, sometimes I don't.
So I wonder if that's bad hearing on my part, or if an usually voiced consonant can indeed by fully devoiced.
The only time this should happen, is when the /z/ if followed by /s/ for example in "His sister", but even then most people manage /hɪz sɪstə/
You might hear it happening when the following phoneme is another unvoiced sound, ("his toy") but it's not what we are "supposed" to say.
If an "s" sound is produced immediately after an unvoiced (the vocal chords are not used to produce it) consonant, it is usually pronounced [s]. Example: cat + s = cats.
If an "s" sound is produced immediately after a voiced consonant or vowel, it is usually pronounced [z]. Example: dog + s = dogz.
Here I'm again confused by your use of "should". Does this mean, you ought to devoice the s in his, if followed by an unvoiced consonant?The only time this should happen, is when the /z/ if followed by /s/ for example in "His sister", but even then most people manage /hɪz sɪstə/
So native speakers do fully devoice if the next sound is unvoiced, even though it's not correct?You might hear it happening when the following phoneme is another unvoiced sound, ("his toy") but it's not what we are "supposed" to say.
I apologize for asking for clarification, but my interpretation of the three quotes of your post seem to contradict each other.
Is it allowed to upload some audio files here? I'd love to collect some examples where I hear no voicing although there should be. Then you could tell me if you do hear voicing or not.
I think that the total devoicing of /v/ in 'have to is a result of our (probably) subconscious feeling that the two words have and to are very closely associated as one idea (similar to must). In an utterance such as 'I've told you a thousand times', even though the /t/ follows immediately after the /v/, I don't think that it is fully devoiced.
The close association of the two parts of 'have to' have led to the written forms of the word(s) hafter/hafta in dialogue that is spoken by supposedly less educated speakers.
Although it's not connected with devoicing, we see a similar result of this close association of to with a preceding verb in such forms as wanna (want to), gotta (got to) and oughta (ought to)
If you listen to enough English you will know when phonemes are devoiced, etc. Yes, it's a good idea to upload videos or audio of sounds. It's easier to identify and talk about sounds after you've heard them.
I think you'd have to post them on an external site and give us the URL.