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Re: The fourteen vowels of English?

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Monday, September 13, 2004, 16:50
J. Mach Wust wrote:
> > I've read of the minimal pair /k&n/ (modal verb) vs. /kE@n/ ('to put into > cans'). Do you really have this? >
That sounds like US Southern dialect to me; unless you meant to type /k&n/ vs. /k&@n/-- in which case I think there's no real contrast. The underlying/base form of both is simply /k&n/; all the rest depends and where and how they can occur. Modal 'can', in the rare case when it's the main verb of the sentence, would also be pronounced [k&@n]-- --Can you do it by tomorrow? --I cán. [k_h&@n] (Probably also, --I cán't [k_h&@nt] but it's marginal, for me) --What's your job at Del Monte? --I cán (sci. 'things') [k_h&@n] OTOH, modal can is usually followed by something else-- another verb, 'not ~ -'t', too -- (ceases to be main verb and is unstressed) and in these cases loses its monosyllabic-ness and lengthened vowel-- so it either reduces to unstressed [kn=] or has a shortened vowel nucleus-- --He can réad [k_hn='r\i:d], but he can't wríte [k_h&~?'r\aj?] (or [k_h&~(n)t'r\ajt] in more careful speech) --He can tóo! [k_h&n'tu:] (I suspect the /k/ in [k..n=] is aspirated only slightly, if at all.) At the beginning of a course long ago, the prof. asked us to do a phonetic transcription of a dialogue, in our normal speech, to see how accurate our various ears were. One of the sentences was "Can you get me a can of beer?" Very few of us, to his dismay, noted the difference between the two can's. Many even failed to note that "can of beer" would probably be [k_h&n@'bI@r\]in everyday speech. Thus even the container "can" can lose its offglide in a phrase or followed by another syllable-- "canning" ['k_h&nIN]-- though obviously it never reduces to [k_hn=]. (Others' dialects may differ)