Thursday 19 April 2012

there + be reductions

Listen to this sound clip which is the beginning of a sentence said by a native speaker of General British (the clip is repeated twice); two words are to be heard:

The next section immediately following the one above sounds like this:

Four words are spoken in this 2nd clip.

Finally you can hear the whole sentence:

The rest of the sentence (i.e. the section after the first two snippets) is quite easy to grasp. Let's see if you can decode the beginning.

Thanks to John Maidment, who provided the sound clip.

Solution (in a very moderately narrow transcription): [ðɛwɒz̥təvbiːnəmiːtɪŋðɪsjɪətuː]


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. "There must have been a meeting THIS year, TOO."

  2. the next Prescott Niles18 April 2012 at 22:09

    "There was to have been a meeting _this_ year, too."

  3. [ðɛː] /mᴧstəv biːn ə miːtɪŋ `ðɪs jɪə `tuː/
    The first wurd represents hi'ly confident ghesswurk.

  4. "hi'ly confident ghesswurk" - I like the way you phrase this.

  5. Thanks to everyone for lending me your ears!

  6. What I actually said was "There was to have been a meeting this year too".

    The beginning, I reckon, should be sthg like:



    I can't remember where these files were used. If you could let me know, I can send you the original or post a link to it.

    1. Here's the link: I used the last version in the series.

  7. I think it was rather comic that a phonetician shd say
    "What I actually said was "There was to have been a meeting this year too".
    That's what I'd call "comic nomic" ie surely he shdve sed
    "What I actually said was/ðəwəztwəvbiːn.../or rather /ðəwəztəvbiːn.../ ie with the very common
    wynn-dropt extra-weak weakform of the "to" of "to have" reduced to simply /t/
    I write it "to've" in my blogs passim coz that's about the way I say it frequently as tons of other folks do
    including John, whatever he may've aspired to say here, judging from its complete audible absence from his clip

  8. Jack,

    Given the disagreement about what the sentence was, I think what I wrote makes perfect sense. Maybe I should have unpacked "said" into "aimed to convey".

    As to the presence or absence of [w]: what's a couple of ms between friends. It's entirely possible that I uttered neither [twəv] nor [təv], but sthɡ closer to [tʊv].