eslHQ Home
User Name Password
Lost Password? | Join eslHQ.com, it's FREE!
View today's posts
Search Extras Help   

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 4th, 2010, 04:15 pm
eslHQ Member
 
Join Date: Oct 4th, 2010
Posts: 15
!jamesbrooke is on a distinguished road
Default Can Anyone Teach how to pronounce can and can't differently?

hi,

I am still confusing when people say can or can't(with out /t/ sound)

I know it is little complicated to explain it in written, but I'd appreciated any help.

Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 5th, 2010, 10:12 am
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
Posts: 1,400
susan53 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Can Anyone Teach how to pronounce can and can't differently?

Hi James,

The first answer to this question is the obvious one : can is the affirmative and can't the negative. But I suspect that's not what you mean.

Are you actually asking about pronunciation - the fact that in normal speed speech the /t/ sound is often dropped from the utterance? ie in carefully spoken speech I can't go would be pronounced /aɪ kɑ:nt gəʊ/ (I'm using British pronunciation here) whereas in normal speech, it's frequently /aɪ kɑ:n gəʊ/ - ?

Dropping a sound like this is called elision, and it's very frequent in English, especially affecting the sounds /t/ and /d/ at the end of the syllable. It may happen before a vowel - I can't eat that! /aɪ kɑ:n i:t t/ or a consonant, as above.


In front of another consonant,/t/ will frequently change into completely different consonants too - for example I can't go might well become /aɪ kɑ:nk gəʊ/, Similarly in an expression like that bag the /t/ might change to /p/ : /p bg/. When the consonant changes like this, it's called assimilation.

The reason why elision and assimilation happen is becusae it's easier to pronounce the words that way. Try saying /t/ /g/ and /t/ /b/ in sequence. You'll notice that you have to change the position of your mouth or tongue completely between the two sounds, and there's quite a lot of muscular effort involved. Now try the sequences /k/ /g/ and /p/ /b/ - they're made in the same position and there's consequently much less effort required.

When we're speaking rapidly (as in normal conversation) there isn't always the time to make the necessary changes of mouth position between sounds. So we simplify the sound sequence by either dropping a sound or by changing it to one which is quicker and easier to pronounce together with its neighbour.

Going back to can and can't, in British English it's easy to distinguish between the two because, even if the /t/ is missing, the vowel is different : can = /kn/ (or unstressed /kən/) whilst can't = /kɑ:nt/. So even without the /t/ it's clear which is intended. American English is a bit more difficult as both words use the vowel // -/kn/ and /knt/.

So, in answer to your question (and I hope that was the question you intended), the /t/ and /d/ sounds at the end of any syllable may frequently disappear or be replaced by a different consonant in normal-speed speech, but there's no "rule" to say that it will or it won't. Personally, I teach my students to recognise when it's happening as they'll need to if they want to understand native speakers (that would probably be /ʌnəstn neɪtɪv spi:kəz/ !!) but it's not necessary for them to be able to pronounce the words like this themselves - in fact it's often counter-productive. As we've said, they're a consequence of rapid speech. and may learners just aren't fluent enough to reach that sort of speed. Inserting these features just makes them sound really strange.

How nice to have a phonology question for a change
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 6th, 2010, 09:20 pm
eslHQ Zealot
 
Join Date: Mar 19th, 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 68
Dave-B is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Can Anyone Teach how to pronounce can and can't differently?

As well as the final consonants, the pronunciation of the vowels i different too.

Can't is a longer sound, and is more of an "A" sound. It is similar to "and". It is that "A" sound that come from the nose.

Can is often pronounced very quickly and sounds like "ken" or "kin"

I ken go to the party.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Find the Best TEFL, TESL, TESOL & CELTA Certification Courses - User Submitted Ratings & Reviews for Online, Distance & Abroad TEFL Courses. Over 3,500 reviews of 100+ TEFL schools!

Teach English in Thailand - Onsite and Combined TEFL certification courses in Phuket, Thailand.


Free ESL Flashcards




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:40 pm.

All materials from this website are for classroom-use only. Digital redistribution of materials, in part or in whole, is strictly forbidden!

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2