Sunday, 8 January 2017

weakforms: BUT

BUT can function as a
- conjunction: "He rushed to the post office, but it was already closed",
- preposition: "I can come any day but Wednesday",
- adverb: "We can but try and do our best" or
- noun: "I don't want to hear any buts from you".
BUT has one or more weakform pronunciations. What you find in the three pron dictionaries is this:

strong form:  bʌt
weak form:  bət
Note: Weak-form word. The strong form /bʌt/ is used contrastively (e.g. ifs and buts) and in sentence-final position (e.g. 'It's anything but'). The weak form is /bət/ (e.g. 'It's good but expensive' /ɪtsˌɡʊd.bət.ɪkˈspent.sɪv/).

but strong form bʌt, weak form bət

but strong form bʌt, weak form bət

Jack Windsor Lewis's PhonetiBlog has an entry (no. 441), in which he lists additional weakform variants:
The conjunction, adverb and preposition etc but has only a single ordinary weakform /bət/. However, before a word beginning with a vowel, a form of but reduced to the consonantal cluster /pt-/ may sometimes occur in relaxt style where the original initial /b/ is devoiced to a /p/ which is merely an unreleased bilabial closure. Meanwhile the release of the /t/ is without aspiration [...].
Here are three excerpts from a TV film (credit: BBC4) on the famous lexicographer Samuel Johnson.

1. "/bət/ you can't, as it were, make decisions about which words should or should not be used." (speaker: Prof John Mullan, UCL)
2. "/bət/ in the course of his reading he found that - you know - some words had 20 or 30 or a hundred different applications [...]." (speaker: Henry Hitchings, author)

 3. "/bə i dʌz hæv/ the word retromingency, which means pissing backwards." In this excerpt I don't hear a /t/ at the end of "but".

Friday, 6 January 2017

Mr Right and Mrs Always Right

<Mrs> is a "title of courtesy prefixed to the surname of a married woman" as the OED (lemma: Mrs) tells us. The weakform pronunciation is ... ?
Well, the LPD indicates none nor do the EPD or the ODP. Jack Windsor Lewis in blog 528 lists these weakform variants: /mɪsz̩, mɪss̩/.
What about the strongform (variants)? Here's a quick overview:

GB pron
EPD18 /ˈmɪs.ɪz/

LDOCE /ˈmɪsɪz/

LPD3 /ˈmɪsɪz/

OALD8 /ˈmɪsɪz/

Oxf. Dict's online /ˈmɪsɪz/

OED3 /ˈmɪsᵻz/1

(The recording of "Mrs" on the EPD CD is distorted.)

 1 The symbol /ᵻ/ represents free variation between /ɪ/ and /ə/.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

MMXVII = Annus Serenus?

A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2017 to All My Followers!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Happy Xmas to all of you!


  |twɒz ðə ˈnaɪt bɪfɔː ˈkrɪsməs | wen ˈɔːl θruː ðə ˈhaʊs |
| nɒt ə ˈkriːtʃə wəz ˈstɜːrɪŋ | nɒt ˈiːvn̩ ə ˈmaʊs |
| ðə ˈstɒkɪŋz wə ˈhʌŋ | baɪ ðə ˈtʃɪmni wɪð ˈkɛː |
| ɪn ˈhəʊps ðət seɪnt ˈnɪkələs | ˈsuːn wʊd bi ˈðɛː|

| ðə ˈtʃɪldrən wə ˈnesl̩d | ɔːl ˈsnʌɡ ɪn ðe
ə ˈbedz |
| waɪl ˈvɪʒn̩z əv ˈʃʊɡəplʌmz | ˈdɑːnst ɪn ð
eə ˈhedz |
| ən ˈmɑːmər ɪn ə ˈkɜːtʃɪf | ənd ˈaɪ ɪn maɪ ˈkæp |
| həd ˈdʒʌst setl̩d ˈdaʊn | fər ə ˈlɒŋ wɪntəz ˈnæp |

Monday, 5 September 2016

phonetic puzzle

Find a word ending in <th> in which the digraph is not pronounced as /θ/.

If you need a hint, lemme know!

Update: My apologies! I forgot to add the /ð/. The word must not end in /ð, θ/. 

Update 2: If you've ever owned an elephant, you will be familiar with the word (and you'd better be!).

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

pun for fun - #2

Does this pun work for you?

Why is Henry’s wife covered in tooth marks?
-- Because he’s Tudor.

(credit: Adele Cliff)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Do know what thou sayest - #3

credit: Japan Trend Shop
This is an easy one:

What is a beaker used for in a _____?

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Do know what thou sayest - #2

Another sentence to be read aloud is this one:

"He must be washed in the blood of the _____."

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Do know what thou sayest - #1

In the final orals my students had to pronounce various sentences in English. One of the more frequent mispronunciations lends itself to a rebus - well, almost:

"The moon was hidden behind a _____ of clouds."

Can you guess what the correct missing word is?