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  1. Senior Member
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    #11

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    Now that's a interesting thing. I always thought this was just an mistake, much like how were, we're, where are often mistaken for one another.


    On a side note, I know a few elderly people who pronounce the "h" in "wh", so where is /hwɛr/. I thought it must be some kind of an old pronunciation, on its way to becoming obsolete, but one day I was watching a program where they used it in a clever way. When the host was reading a letter sent by one of the viewers, she saw "If you where to team up with someone...", and she read it as /hwɛr/ (even though she normally pronounces it /wɛr/) to make sure the viewers knew it was spelled "where", not "were".

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    #12

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    I know a few elderly people who pronounce the "h" in "wh", so where is /hwɛr/.
    That was what I was taught was the correct way in my rather formal British schools (1954-64). The /hw/ pronunciation is still common for some Scottish and Irish speakers. I find that I still use it occasionally when I am speaking in formal situations. My offspring mock me for being pretentious.

    When the host was reading a letter sent by one of the viewers, she saw "If you where to team up with someone...", and she read it as /hwɛr/ (even though she normally pronounces it /wɛr/) to make sure the viewers knew it was spelled "where", not "were".
    If she wanted to point out the incorrect spelling - it should be were in that clause - she should have pronounced it as /hweə/.

    In BrE:

    /hwɜː(r)/ is whirr (with the /h/ sound)
    /wɜː(r)/ is whirr (without the /h/ sound) and were.
    /hwɛr/ is not a word in BrE.
    Last edited by Piscean; 07-May-2019 at 20:23. Reason: Typo

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    #13

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    I meant it was /hwer/. It was an American program.

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    #14

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    I meant it was /hwer/. It was an American program.
    Many Americans (myself included) use the /hw/ pronunciation. Not in the sample fragment, though, which should be "If you were to team up with someone ."
    I am not a teacher.

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    #15

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    /hwɛr/ is not an word in BrE.
    Excuse me, Piscean, was that a typo or did you use 'an' intentionally? If the latter, could you explain why? The first explanation comes to mind is that you don't pronounce 'w' in 'word'...
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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    #16

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    It was a typo, now corrected. Sorry.

  7. Senior Member
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    #17

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    Excuse me, Piscean, was that a typo or did you use 'an' intentionally? If the latter, could you explain why? The first explanation comes to mind is that you don't pronounce 'w' in 'word'...
    I thought it was on purpose!

    I know it would be much more convenient if I provided you with a link to the line in question, but it comes from a rather... peculiar show I'd rather you didn't know I watch.
    But I'm positive she pronounced it /hwer/ on purpose to show the writer spelled it incorrectly. The nature of this segment of the show is to, after all, laugh at the questionable quality of the letters they're sent.

    By the way, Piscean, I thought "ɛ" and "e" were just different symbols used by different publishers to represent the same vowel ("e" as in "met"), am I wrong?

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    #18

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post

    By the way, Piscean, I thought "ɛ" and "e" were just different symbols used by different publishers to represent the same vowel ("e" as in "met"), am I wrong?
    In BrE phonemic notation, most phoneticians use /e/ for the dress vowel and /beə(r)/, /beəʳ/ for the square vowel. Oxford dictionaries have /ɛ/ and /ɛ:/ respectively for these two sounds. As far as I know, no British writer would transcribe BrE where as /hwɛr/ or /wɛr/.

    I don't know enough about American phonemic systems to say how they work.

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    #19

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    "A(n)" appears as a pause when the person speaking is looking for a word. It's kind of like with "umm" you can hear when somebody's thinking about what they are going to say, but in this case, they already know the word they're looking for is a noun.

    "And this was... ummm... a very successful deal." → "And this was aaa... very successful deal."
    Yes, the indefinite article where "ummm" expresses uncertainty - a somewhat naive, intuitive, not quite accurate way to explain the function of the article. I suppose it works for a limited number of cases.

    However, you are correct that the origins of the indefinite article may lie in the numeral "one". That's what books say - just do not remember where it is stated as a fact or hypothesis.

    And what is your first language?

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    #20

    Re: My view on the indefinite article.

    We use an before a vowel sound, not a vowel- a union/an umbrella.

    However, here's a usage to test your understanding against- Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher have both been the prime minister of the UK, but which one was a PM?

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