Wednesday 23 April 2014

Cruttenden's 'extra' weak forms

In Cruttenden's new Gimson's Pronunciation of English, Routledge (2014), pp. 273-277 are devoted to the, for the EFL learner/teacher extremely important, topic of English weak and strong forms. In an improvement on the previous edition, this section now includes many more weak forms than in the past, several of which are also exemplified by sentences/phrases transcribed into GB. Some of the weak forms which now feature in Cruttenden (2014) and which are not to be found in the seventh edition of the book are:

a) the very common an for and;

b) bt for but;

c) fm̩ for from, as in The man from the...;

d) ɪz`self for himself, as in He did it himself;

e) (`)kədnt for couldn't;

f) (`)ʃədnt for shouldn't;

g) (`)wədnt for wouldn't.

On page 275, Cruttenden rightly states that in English common uses of reduced forms involve auxiliary verb plus not, and that

"a final /t/ may be lost before a word beginning with a vowel (sometimes with assimilation), e.g. /kɑːn `liːv/, /dʌzn `ʃəʊ/, /wəʊŋ `gəʊ/".

Although this kind of reduction in English is possible, it is probably much more frequent before a word beginning with a consonant sound, as is clearly indicated by the examples provided in the quote above.
NB: From now onwards, posts on this blog will be offered only in English.

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