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THE 37 ESSENTIAL WEAK-FORM WORDS

HECTOR ORTIZ LIRA •UNIVERSIDAD METROPOLITANA DE CIENCIAS DE LA EDUCACIÓN •UNIVERSIDAD DE SANTIAGO DE CHILE 2008

INTRODUCTION Weak forms are an essential feature of English pronunciation. Students who wish to acquire a high level of oral performance, as is the case of future teachers of English, must be aware of their existence, since failure to produce them will affect English rhythm quite considerably and even lead to misunderstanding. Spanish-speaking learners face a number of difficulties in this respect. On the one hand, weakening of the grammatical items which make up the weakform inventory in non-prominent contexts does not exist in Spanish. On the other hand, unless the weakened pronunciations are represented with a contracted form, i.e. by the use of apostrophes, (e.g. I could’ve helped if you’d asked me /aî k¨d \v «helpt îf jud `å…st mi/), English spelling does not provide learners with the information they need to make the correct choice. One final point concerns the varying type of information they find in books and courses. For instance, lists of weak-form words vary in length (e.g. as many as 48 in Gimson & Cruttenden 2001, 40 in Roach 2000, 35 in Kenworthy 1987, and 44 in García Lecumberri & Maidment 2000). This paper is divided in two parts. Part I intends to establish the main points concerning the topic. Part II provides a list of the essential items with examples in ordinary spelling and phonemic transcription with intonation marks. Since the use of weak and strong forms depends to a considerable extent on sentence accentuation, students are advised to read transcribed texts and mark utterances by making use of the so-called ‘tonetic-stress marks’, which indicate intonation. The analysis of minimal pairs such as /aî k\n `help/ and /aî kæn `help/ or /«w√n f\ `tu…/ and /«w√n fø… `tu…/ should help identify important differences in meaning; whereas /aî k\n `help/ and /«w√n f\ `tu…/ are the normal, usual patterns, /aî kæn `help/ may be understood as a contradicting remark –Contrary to what you may expect, I can be of help–, and /«w√n fø… `tu…/ is perceived as one, four, two. In sum, weak forms can only be taught and learned in connected speech. They are not a feature The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 1


of the word, but a feature of the utterance and as such should be taught from the very initial stages. Learners are advised to analyse the following examples and use the accompanying recording as practice material for listening and repetition.

PART I: GENERAL PRINCIPLES 1. There is a small group of about 35 to 40 very common structural words in English which are pronounced in mainly two different ways—a weak form and a strong form; some of these words have more than one weak form. In general, weak forms are much more common than strong forms; in fact, weak forms are the normal pronunciations and for this reason students should identify them and use them from the very early stages. The most complete and updated information concerning the pronunciation of weak-form words can be found in the two standard pronunciation dictionaries: Wells (2008) and Roach, Hartman & Setter (2006). Here users may find out about regular, occasional and fairly unusual forms. 2. A weak form usually contains a weak vowel –mainly /\/, sometimes the neutralized versions i and u– and, in some cases, no vowel, e.g. (1)

Come and kiss me. /«k√m \n k ` îs mi/

(2)

Bread and butter. /«bred n `b√t\/

3. In most contexts the use of weak forms is not optional, but compulsory. Failure to pronounce weak forms in appropriate contexts will result in a foreign accent, unnecessary (and therefore wrong) emphasis or contrast, excessive formality or even pomposity. 4. Weak-form words are structural or function words, i.e. adjectival words (including articles), some pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and a group of auxiliary verbs. 5. Students must learn when to use weak forms and when not to use them. The correct choice depends mainly on three factors, all of which are exemplified below, viz. (i) ACCENT: Is the weak-form word accented or unaccented? (ii) STRANDING: Is the weak-form word exposed as a result of a grammatical operation implying movement or deletion? (iii) PHONETIC ENVIRONMENT: Is the weak-form word followed by a vowel or a consonant? Does the weak-form word beginning with /h/ occur after a pause? The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 2


6. Accent, which is a feature of the utterance, affects all weak-form words: weak forms are never accented; strong forms may be either accented or unaccented. In examples (3) and (4), the accented weak-form words convey contrast: us v. them and are not v. am; in (5), the adverbial for instance occurring in medial position in the utterance forms an intonation group of its own, separating the auxiliary verb from the noun phrase; as a result, the auxiliary verb was has to bear an accent, e.g. (3) (4)

(5)

Is this for us or for them? /îz «∂îs f\r √s Æ ø… f\ ∂em/ ' ` A: You’re not certain, are you? /jø… «nÅt `sé…tn Æ `å… ju/ B: I am certain! /aî `æm sé…tn/ There was, for instance, the question of money. /∂\ `wÅz Æ f\r înst\ns Æ ∂\ «kwestß\n \v `m√ni/ ' (Cf. There was the question of money, for instance /∂\ w\z ∂\ «kwestß\n \v `m√ni, f\r înst\ns/).

7. The use of prepositions and auxiliary verbs in their weak or strong forms may depend on whether they are exposed or not as a result of a syntactic device. For instance, in order to form a wh-question such as that in (6), the word what, which is governed by of in the sequence of what, is moved to initial position in the utterance. Similarly, in (7) the speaker has decided to highlight the noun phrase a cold drink, which is governed by the preposition for, and is also moved to initial position. As a result of these syntactic movements the prepositions of and for are left exposed or stranded and are pronounced with the strong (though unaccented) form, e.g. (6) (7)

What’s it made of? (< It is made of what). /«wÅts ît meîd Åv/ ` A cold drink is what I’m looking for (< I’m looking for a cold drink). /\ «k\¨l `drîNk îz wÅt aîm l¨kîN fø…/

The same applies to auxiliary verbs. In examples (8) and (9), the grammatical operation does not involve movement to the right but omission of the main verb, because the speaker wants to avoid repetition, e.g. (8)

Dance? Æ Of course I can. / 'då…ns Æ \v `kø…s aî kæn/ (</\v `kø…s aî k\n då…ns/) The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 3


(9)

A: I must tell them now. /aî m\s «tel ∂\m na¨/ ` B: I know you must. /aî `n\¨ ju m√st/ (</aî `n\¨ ju m\s tel ∂\m/)

Notice that it is not advisable here to speak of strong forms in ‘final position’ or ‘before a pause’. For instance, in the examples (10)

(11)

(12)

How happy we are here! /«ha¨ hæpi wi å… hî\/ ` (Cf. We are happy here /wi \

hæpi hî\/) ` What are you laughing at may I ask? /«wÅt \ ju `lå…fîN æt meî aî å…sk/ (Cf. You’re laughing at what /ju \ «lå…fîN \t `wÅt/) Where does he come from really? /«we\ d\z i `k√m frÅm rî\li/ (Cf. He comes from where /hi «k√mz fr\m w ` e\/)

the weak-form words are, at and from are not in final position in the utterance, but are pronounced with strong form because a grammatical operation has left them stranded. At the same time, a grammatical boundary is produced between the stranded form and the final adverbial, which represents a potential pause; in actual practice, however, most speakers do not pause at this type of boundary. What is crucial is that weak forms of prepositions and auxiliary verbs are not used before grammatical boundaries. Finally, it is worth mentioning that than is the only conjunction that can be stranded, as exemplified on p. 10. 8. A pause or a silence influences weak-form words beginning with /h/, e.g. he, have, who, etc.; /h/ cannot be dropped immediately after a pause, e.g. (14)

Have you succeeded? /h\v ju s\k `si…dîd/, /hæv ju s\k `si…dîd/

(15)

He said he was coming. /hi sed i w\z `k√mîN/

Notice that in example (14) either a weak or a strong form is acceptable, provided it is a /h/-form. 9. In general, auxiliary verbs can be either weak or strong (and optionally, accented) in initial position in an utterance, e.g. The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 4


(16)

Can you ju make it? /k\n ju `meîk ît/, /kæn ju `meîk ît/, /«kæn ju `meîk ît/

(17)

Am I wrong? /\m aî rÅN/, /æm aî rÅN/, /«æm aî rÅN/ ' ' '

10. To and do take /u/ before vowels and /\/ before consonants, e.g. (18)

To eat and to drink. /tu «i…t \n t\ `drîNk/

(19)

Do I or do you? /du «aî ø… d\ `ju…/

Remember that both /j/ and /w/ are considered consonants; therefore we say (20)

To weep and to yell. /t\ «wi…p \n t\ `jel/

11. Prepositions can take either a weak or strong form before unaccented pronouns, but only a weak form before accented pronouns, e.g. (21)

I’m still working for them. /aîm «stîl `wé…kîN f\ (fø…) ∂m/

(22)

I’m still working for them. /aîm «stîl wé…kîN f\ `∂em/

12. The weak forms of he, she, we, be and been with /î/ and those of (in)to, you, who and do with /¨/ are not essential. Many speakers (mainly of a ‘modernised’ rather than a ‘classical’ variety of RP) use the weak vowels i and u, in word final position, instead of /î/ and /¨/. In theoretical terms, we say that the oppositions between /î/∼/i…/ and /¨/∼/u…/ are neutralized in word-final, non-prominent (unaccented) position (i.e. they can no longer distinguish meanings as they can in other contexts, e.g. seat /si…t/∼ sit /sît/). Since, on the other hand, only /i…/ and /u…/ can be used in prominent, accented positions, it turns out that the forms with i and u will always be safer, e.g. (23)

How are you? /ha¨ `å… ju/ (/j¨/ is possible, though less appropriate)

(24)

How are you? /ha¨ \ `ju…/ (/j¨/ is impossible) The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 5


(25)

Are you coming with me? /\ ju `k√mîN wî∂ mi/ (/î/ is possible, though less appropriate)

(26)

Are you coming with me? /\ ju «k√mîN wî∂ `mi…/ (/î/ is impossible)

14. Weak forms of could, should, and would with /\/ are not essential; the strong forms with /¨/ are perfectly acceptable in all contexts, both prominent and non-prominent. 15. Other weak forms are unnecessary because they signal very informal, regional or unusual pronunciations. Some of these are: I [a], you /j\/, /j/, your /j\/, them /\m/, by /b\/, my /m\/, many /m\ni/, madam /m\m/, etc. 16. Some structural words do not have a weak form, e.g. on, off, up should be pronounced /Ån, Åf, √p/ in all contexts. Then /∂en/does not have a weak form either; the weak form /∂\n/ can only be understood as than, and /\n/, either as an or and. Furthermore, /\n/ is the regular weak form of and before vowels and consonants. Not does not have a weak form; spelling n’t is considered a contracted form which is used in as many as 24 negative verbal forms, such as can’t, isn’t, etc. 17. Students are in general advised to use weak forms when reading aloud even if the written text does not show, for instance, contracted forms; strong forms should be limited to distinctly formal contexts such as verse, e.g. (27)

They are not as good as he is making us believe. /∂e\ «nÅt \z «g¨d \z iz «meîkîN \s bî `li…v/

(28)

Do not try again if it is not ready. /«d\¨nt traî \«gen îf ît «îznt (îts «nÅt) `redi/

PART II: THE INVENTORY OF WEAK-FORM WORDS Due to the complexity of the problem, it is advisable (at least in the initial stages of the teaching of pronunciation) to distinguish between essential and non-essential weak forms. The following list contains the essential weak form words only. They are 36 words representing 37 grammatical functions (her appears as determiner and pronoun): (i) ADJECTIVAL WORDS (ii) PRONOUNS

a, an, the, some, his, her he, him, her, us, them, there

The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 6


(iii) CONJUNCTIONS (iv) PREPOSITIONS (v) AUXILIARY VERBS

and, as, but, than, that at, for, from, of, to am, is, are, was, were have, has, had do, does shall, will can, must, would

The following examples illustrate the use of weak and strong forms. ‘C’ stands for any consonant sound; ‘V’ represents any vowel sound:

(i)

ADJECTIVAL WORDS

1

a, an /\/ + C In a minute /în \ `mînît/ /\n/ + V In an hour /în \n `a\/ • The strong form /eî/, always accented, is of rare occurrence, e.g. (i) I said ‘a’ son, not ‘the’ sun /aî sed ‡eî s√n ì nÅt `∂i… s√n/

2

the /∂\/ + C The east and the west /∂i «i…st \n ∂\ `west/ /∂i/ + V The old and the poor /∂i «\¨ld \n ∂\ `p¨\/ • The strong form /∂i…/ is usually accented, e.g. (i) Alan is ‘the’ man for the job /«æl\n îz `∂i… mæn f\ ∂\ ÊÅb/ (ii) You can’t be ‘the’ James Bond! /ju «kå…nt bi ‡∂i… Êeîmz bÅnd/

3

some /s(\)m/

Have some more /«hæv sm `mø…/ (= exact quantity is not stated) I’ve got some friends coming /aîv gÅt sm `frendz k√mîN/ (= an indefinite amount) • The accented, strong form /s√m/ is used when it is a contrastive quantifier, as in (i). When it functions as indefinite pronoun, it can be stranded, and therefore unaccented, as in (ii), or accented when following the verb there to be, as in (iii); it is also strong with the meanings indicated from (iv) to (vii), e.g. (i) Some people complained /«s√m pi…pl k\m `pleînd/ (= but not everybody) (ii) If you need some, just say so /if ju «ni…d s√m Ê√st `seî s\¨/ (iii) There are some in the drawer /∂\r\ «s√m în ∂\ `drø…/ The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 7


(iv) I was away for some time /aî w\z \ `weî f\ s√m taîm/ (= a considerable length of time) (v) He’s making some five hundred a week /hiz meîkîN s√m «faîv h√ndrîd \ wi…k/ (= a fairly large, though indeterminate, amount) ` (vi) Some professor is on the phone /«s√m pr\ `fes\z Ån ∂\ f\¨n/ (= somebody you don’t know) (vii) Some car you’ve bought! /«s√m `kå… juv bø…t/ (= impressive)

4

his /îz/ That’s his family /«∂æts îz `fæmli/ • The strong form /hîz/ is used initially and when accented, e.g. (i) His hands in his pockets /hîz «hændz în îz `pÅkîts/ (ii) That’s his funeral /∂æts `hîz fju…n\rl/

5

her /\(r), é…(r)/ usually after C She broke her own record /ßi «br\¨k \r \¨n `rekø…d/ /h\/ usually after V Give her her money back /«gîv \ h\ `m√ni bæk/ • The strong form /hé…(r)/ is accented, e.g. (i) Her room is tidier than his /«hé… ru…m îz «taîdî\ ∂\n `hîz/

(ii)

PRONOUNS

6

he /i/ Is he happy? /îz i 'hæpi/ /hi/ after a pause He says he can’t /hi «sez i `kå…nt/ • The strong form /hi…/ is accented, e.g. (i) He is the one! / `hi… z ∂\ w√n/

7

him /îm/ Tell him at once /«tel îm \t `w√ns/ • The strong form /hîm/ is used when accented, e.g. (i) It’s him I can’t stand /îts `hîm aî kå…nt stænd/

The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 8


8

her /\(r), h\(r)/ Phone her and tell her /«f\¨n \r \n `tel \/ Tea will do her good/«ti… wl «du… h\ `g¨d/ The weak form /h\/ and not /\/ is used after another central vowel, i.e. That will stir her to protest /«∂∂æt wl «sté… h\ t\ pr\ `test/ This will cure her /«∂îsl kj¨\ h\/ ` • The strong form /hé…/ is used when accented, e.g. (i) It’s her responsibility /îts `hé… rîspÅns\bîl\ti/

9

us /s, \s/

Let’s eat now /lets `i…t na¨/ Tell us when /«tel \s `wen/ • The strong form /√s/ is used when accented, e.g. (i) Did he really mean us? /dîd i «rî\li mi…n `√s/

10

them /∂(\)m/ Tell them to be nice to them /«tel ∂m t\ bi `naîs t\ ∂\m/ • The strong form /∂em/ is used when accented, e.g. (i) Let them decide /let `∂em dîsaîd/

11

there /∂\/

There’s something there /∂\z `s√m†îN ∂e\/ There are two left /∂\r\ «tu… `left/ There was no interest /∂\ w\z «n\¨ `într\st/ There were three survivors /∂\ w\ «†ri… s\ `vaîv\z/ There will be no excuses /∂\ wl bi «n\¨ îk skju…s/ ` This ‘existential’ pronoun must not be confused with the adverb of place there, which is always pronounced /∂e\/, e.g. (i) They’re over there /∂e\r «\¨v\ `∂e\/

(iii) 12

CONJUNCTIONS and /\n/ Go and ask /«g\¨ \n `å…sk/ The weak form /\nd/ is more formal than /\n/ and therefore not essential. The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 9


• The strong form /ænd/ occurs in accented or prominent positions, e.g. (i) I said ‘and’, not ‘end’ /aî sed ‡ænd Æ nÅt `end/ (ii) And, he said, that’s not all / ‡ænd hi sed Æ «∂æts nÅt `ø…l/

13

as /\z/ As good as ever /\z «g¨d \z `ev\/ • The strong form /æz/ occurs when as functions as a preposition in exposed position, e.g. (i) What’s he acting as? /«wÅts i `æktîN æz/

14

but /b\t/ Poor but proud /«pø… b\t `pra¨d/ • The strong form /b√t/ is accented to emphasise a contradiction, e.g. (i) Rain? Nothing but rain! / 'reîn Æ n√†îN `b√t reîn/

15

than /∂\n/ More often than not /mø…r «Åfn ∂\n `nÅt/ • The strong form /∂æn/ occurs in stranded position and when accented , as in (i) Who is he taller than? /«hu…z i `tø…l\ ∂æn/ (ii) Better? Who’s he better than? / 'bet\ Æ «hu…z i bet\ `∂æn/

16

that /∂\t/ Now that you mention it /«na¨ ∂\t ju `menßn ît/ The conjunction and relative pronoun that has in practice no strong form; the determiner that, on the other hand, has no weak form, i.e. it is always pronounced /∂æt/, e.g. (i) He said that that was easy /hi sed ∂\t «∂æt w\z `i…zi/

(iv) 17

PREPOSITIONS at /\t/ Is he good at languages? /îz i «g¨d \t `læNgwîÊîz/ • At may be either weak or strong between a weak syllable and an unaccented personal pronoun, as in (i); a weak form is used between a strong syllable and a pronoun, as in (ii); the strong form /æt/ is used in exposed position (e.g. (iii) and The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 10


(iv)) and when accented, as in (v), e.g. (i) He kept looking at you /hi «kept `l¨kîN \t (æt) ju/ (ii) Don’t look at him /«d\¨nt `l¨k \t îm/ (iii) What’s he aiming at? /«wÅts i `eîmîN æt/ (iv) What’s he aiming at now? /«wÅts i `eîmîN æt na¨/ (v) You say he’s clever? What at? /ju «seî hiz 'klev\ Æ wÅt `æt/

18

for /f\/ For better or for worse /f\ «bet\r ø… f\ `wé…s/ • For may be either weak or strong between a weak syllable and an unaccented personal pronoun, as in (i); a weak form is used between a strong syllable and a pronoun, as in (ii); the strong form /fø:/ is used in exposed position (e.g. (iii) and (iv)) and when accented, as in (v), e.g. (i) It’s better for you /îts `bet\ f\ (fø…) ju/ (ii) It’s good for you /îts g ` ¨d f\ ju/ (iii) What’s he famous for? /«wÅts i `feîm\s fø…/ (iv) What’s he famous for mainly? /«wÅts i `feîm\s fø… meînli/ (v) What is it for? /«wÅt îz ît `fø…/

19

from /fr\m/ A year from now /\ «jî\ fr\m `na¨/ • From may be either weak or strong between a weak syllable and an unaccented personal pronoun, as in (i); a weak form is used between a strong syllable and a pronoun, as in (ii); the strong form /frÅm/ is used when the word is stranded (e.g. (iii) and (iv)) and when accented, as in (v), e.g. (i) You’ll be hearing from me /jul bi `hî\rîN fr\m (frÅm) mi/ (ii) I’d like to hear from you soon /aîd «laîk t\ «hî\ fr\m ju `su…n/ (iii) Where does he come from? /«we\ d\z i `k√m frÅm/ (iv) Where does he come from everyday? /«we\ d\z i `k√m frÅm evrideî/ (v) Where are you from? /«we\r \ ju `frÅm/

20

of /\v/ The best of luck /∂\ «best \v `l√k/ • Of may be either weak or strong between a weak syllable and an unaccented personal pronoun, as in (i); a weak form is used between a strong syllable and a pronoun, as in (ii); the strong form /Åv/ is used in exposed position (e.g. (iii) and (iv)) and when accented, as in (v), e.g. The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 11


(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v)

How silly of me! /«ha¨ sîli \v (Åv) mi/ ` That’s very kind of you /∂æts «veri `kaînd \v ju/ What’s it made of? /«wÅts ît `meîd Åv/ What’s it made of really? /«wÅts ît `meîd Åv rî\li/ He died? What of? /hi 'daîd Æ «wÅt `Åv/

21

to /t\/+ C At a quarter to three /\t \ «kwø…t\ t\ `†ri…/ /tu/+ V At a quarter to eight /\t \ «kwø…t\ tu `eît/ To may be either weak or strong between a weak syllable and an unaccented personal pronoun, as in (i); a weak form is used between a strong syllable and a pronoun, as in (ii). • The strong form /tu…/ is used in exposed position, as in (iii) and (iv); the strong form is used when accented, as in (v), e.g. (i) My best wishes to them /maî «best `wîßîz t\ (tu…) ∂m/ (ii) Why don’t you talk to him? /«waî d\¨nêu `tø…k t\ hîm/ (iii) Who did you give it to? /«hu… dîd ju `gîv ît tu…/ (iv) Who did you give it to in the end? /«hu… dîd ju `gîv ît tu… în ∂i end/ (v) Say? There’s nothing to say! / 'seî Æ ∂\z n√†îN `tu… seî/

(v)

AUXILIARY VERBS

22

am /m/+ I I know I am (I’m) right /aî `n\¨ aîm raît/ /\m/ What am I to do? /«wÅt \m aî t\ `du…/ • The strong form /æm/ is used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) Of course I am /\v `kø…s aî æm/ (ii) Am I right? /«æm aî 'raît/

23

is /z/ after V or /b, d, g, v, ∂, m, n, N, l/ /s/ after /p, t, k, f, †/ This one is (’s) yours /«∂îs w√n z `jø…z/ It is (’s) no use /ît s «n\¨ `ju…s/ • The strong form /îz/ is used after /s, z, ß, Z, ê, Ê/, after pauses, when stranded, and when accented, e.g. The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 12


(i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

24

Rose is right and George is wrong /«r\¨z îz raît Æ \n «Êø…Ê îz `rÅN/ ' Tell me: is he married? / `tel mi Æ îz i 'mærid/ That’s what it is / `∂æts wÅt ît îz/ That’s what it is /«∂æts wÅt ît `îz/

are /\/

What are you up to? /«wÅt \ ju `√p tu/ They’re (are) arriving soon /∂e\r \«raîvîN `su…n/ • The strong form /å…/ is used in exposed position and when accented, e.g. (i) I’m sure they are /aîm `ßø… ∂eî å…/ (ii) We aren’t ready yet, are we? /wi «å…nt `redi jet Æ `å… wi/

25

was /w\z/ She was brilliant /ßi w\z `brîlj\nt/ • The strong form /wÅz/ is used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) I wonder what it was /aî `w√nd\ wÅt ît wÅz/ (ii) I wonder what it was /aî «w√nd\ wÅt ît `wÅz/

26

were /w\/ We were pleased with it /wi w\ `pli…zd wî∂ ît/ • The strong form /wé…/ is used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) Nervous? I suppose we were / 'né…v\s Æ aî s\ `p\¨z wi wé…/ (ii) Nervous? I suppose we were / 'né…v\s Æ aî s\«p\¨z wi `wé…/

27

have /h\v/ (in initial position or after a pause) /\v/ (not in initial position and not after V) /v/ (after V) Have you decided? /h\v ju dî 'saîdîd/ I could have sent you an e-mail /aî k¨d \v «sentßu \n `i…meîl/ They’ve been cheated /∂eîv bi…n `êi…tîd/ The weak forms described are used when have is used as an auxiliary verb (i.e. Sp. haber), and sometimes with the meaning of have got (i.e. Sp. tener ) with an object which is not a pronoun. • The strong form /hæv/ is used in exposed position and when accented, as in (i). The strong form is preferred when have means tener, as in (ii), and is the only The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 13


possibility when it means comer, etc., as in (iii), e.g. (i) You haven’t been there, but I have / ‡ ju hævnt bi…n ∂e\ Æ b\t `aî hæv/ (ii) Have a good time /«hæv \ g¨d `taîm/ (iii) Have you had tea? /«hæv ju hæd ti…/ ' 28

has /h\z/ (in initial position or after a pause) /\z/ (not in initial position or after V; usually after /s, z, ß, Z, ê, Ê/) /z/ (after V) /s/ (after /p, t, k, f, †/) Has anyone complained? /h\z «eniw√n k\m `pleînd/ Your coach has arrived /jø… `k\¨ê \z \raîvd/ Who has (’s) finished? /«hu…z `fînîßt/ What has (’s) happened? /«wÅts `hæp\nd/ • The strong form /hæz/ is used when has means tiene (que) or come, etc., and also when it is stranded and/or accented, e.g. (i) She always has coffee /ßi «ø…lweîz hæz `kÅfi/ (ii) They haven’t, but he has / ‡∂eî hævnt Æ b\t `hi… hæz/ (iii) He hasn’t paid yet, has he? /hi «hæznt `peîd jet, ì 'hæz i/

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had /h\d/ (in initial position or after a pause) /\d/ (not in initial position and not after V) /d/ (after V) Had he left by then? /h\d i 'left baî ∂en/ The clock had stopped /∂\ `klÅk \d stÅpt/ We had (’d) better hurry /wid «bet\ `h√ri/ • The strong form /hæd/is used when had means tuvo or comió, etc., and also when it is stranded and/or accented, e.g. (i) She’s just had something to eat /ßiz «Ê√st hæd «s√m†îN tu `i…t/ (ii) They hadn’t, but he had / ‡∂eî hædnt Æ b\t `hi… hæd/ (iii) He hadn’t noticed, had he? /hi «hædnt `n\¨tîst, Æ `hæd i/

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do /d\/+ C How do you know /«ha¨ d\ `ju… n\¨/ /du/+ V How do I know /«ha¨ du `aî n\¨/ • The strong form /du…/ is used in exposed position and also when accented, e.g. The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 14


(i) (ii)

He lives further away than I do /«hi… lîvz «fé…∂\r \weî ∂\n `aî du…/ I don’t mind if I do /aî d\¨nt «maînd îf aî `du…/

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does /d\z/ Where does he live? /«we\ d\z i `lîv/ • The strong form /d√z/ is used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) I think everybody does /aî †îNk `evribÅdi d√z/ (ii) He doesn’t really mean it, does he? /hi «d√znt rî\li `mi…n ît, Æ `d√z i/

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shall /ß(\)l/ What shall I do? /«wÅt ßl aî `du…/ The strong form /ßæl/ is used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) I don’t think we shall /aî « d\¨nt `†îNk wi ßæl/ (ii) I sincerely hope we shall /aî sîn«sî\li «h\¨p wi `ßæl/

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will /l/+ personal pronoun I will (’ll) help you /aîl `help ju/ /wl/ John will (’ll) ask, and Bill will (’ll) answer /«ÊÅn wl å…sk Æ \n «bîl wl `å…ns\/ ' • The strong form /wîl/ is used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) It’s obvious that they will /îts `Åbvi\s ∂\t ∂eî wîl/ (ii) You won’t tell him, will you? /ju «w\¨nt `tel îm, Æ `wîl ju/

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can /k\n/ It can happen again /ît k\n «hæp\n \ g ` en/ • The strong form /kæn/ is used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) Let’s see if the others can /lets «si… îf ∂i `√∂\z kæn/ (ii) You can never tell, can you? /ju k\n «nev\ `tel, Æ `kæn ju/

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must /m\st/+ V, /j/ Must I sign this? /m\st aî `saîn ∂îs/ /m\s/+ C You must be joking! /ju m\s bi `Ê\¨kîN/ • The strong form /m√st/ is preferred before the weak form of have /\v/, as in (i); The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 15


it is also used when stranded and when accented, e.g. (i) I must have fallen asleep /aî «m√st \v «fø…l\n \ s` li…p/ (ii) Indeed, you must /în `di…d ju m√st/ (iii) We mustn’t allow that, must we? /wi «m√snt \ `la¨ ∂æt, Æ `m√st wi/ 36

would /d/ (after V) We would (’d) love to go /wid `l√v t\ g\¨/ • The strong form /w¨d/ is used after C, and also when stranded and when accented: (i) That would be nice / `∂æt w¨d bi naîs/ (ii) Who do you think would? / `hu… d\ ju †îNk w¨d/ (iii) I would if I could /aî «w¨d îf aî `k¨d/

REFERENCES

García Lecumberri, M. L. & J. Maidment (2000). English transcription course. London: Arnold. Gimson, A. C. & Cruttenden, A. (20016). Gimson’s pronunciation of English. London: Edward Arnold. Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English pronunciation. Harlow: Longman Group UK Limited. Knowles, G. (1987). Patterns of spoken English. Harlow: Longman Group UK Limited. Roach, P. (20003). English phonetics and phonology: a practical course. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Roach, P., J. Hartman & J. Setter (200617) English pronouncing dictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wells, J. C. (20083). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow: Longman Group UK Limited.

The 37 essential weak-form words. H. Ortiz Lira. UMCE, USACH. 2008. Page 16


The 37 Essential Weak Form Words