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Form-words used in their strong forms


Lecture 13. Strong and weak forms of words

Strong and weak forms

q In English there are certain words which have two forms of pronunciation:

(1) strong, or full, form, and

(2) weak, or reduced, form.

  • These words include form-words and the following pronouns:
  1. personal
  2. possessive
  3. reflexive
  4. relative, and
  5. the indefinite pronoun some, denoting indefinite quantity.
  • These words have strong, or full, forms when they are stressed, e.g.

He will do it. [↘hi: wil du: it] (and nobody else)

Notional parts of speech

q The notional parts of speech are usually not reduced in unstressed positions, although there are some compound words in which their second element has been reduced, e.g. sixpence [‘sikspәns], gooseberry [‘guzbәri].

q There are three degrees of reduction of strong forms:

1) The first degree consists in reducing the length of a vowel without changing its quality (quantitative reduction). Cf. (p. 186)

strong forms weak forms

for [fͻ:] [fͻ]

you [ju:] [ju]

he [hi:] [hi]

Continuation – 1

2. The second degree of reduction consists in changing the quality of a vowel (qualitative reduction). Cf.

Strong forms Weak forms

for [fͻ:] [fә]

at [æt] [әt]

can [kæn] [kәn]

Cf. I’ll do it for him. [ail ↘du: it fͻ: him]

I’ll do it for Ann. [ail ‘du: it fәr ↘æn]

  • Most vowels in weak forms are reduced to the neutral vowel [ә], although the long vowels [i:] and [u:] are usually reduced to [i] and [u] respectively. Cf. (p.187)

He will go there. [↘hi: wil gou ðεә]

He will go to the cinema. [hi wil ‘gou tә ðә ↘sinimә]



(5) continuation -2 (p. 187)

3. The third degree of reduction consists in the omission of a vowel or consonant sound (zero reduction). Cf.

Strong forms Weak forms (zero reduction)

am [æm] [m]

from [frͻm] [frm]

of [ͻv] [v] (vowels are

can [kæn] [kn], [kŋ] omitted)

is [iz] [s], [z]

shall [∫æl] [∫l]

must [mʌst] [mst]

he [hi:] [i], [ɪ]

him [him] [im]

his [hiz] [iz] (consonants

must [mʌst] [mәs] are omitted)

had [hæd] [әd]

have [hæv] [әv]

has [hæz] [әz]

and [ænd] [n]

has [hæz] [z], [s]

have [hæv] [v] (both vowels and

had [hæd] [d] consonants are

will [wil] [l] omitted)

would [wud] [d]

Form-words used in their strong forms

The following form-words in certain positions are used in their strong forms, even when they are unstressed.

1) Prepositions have their strong forms:

(a) when they are final, e.g.

Do you know where I come from?

[‘du: ju ‘nou wεәr ↗ai kʌm frͻm] (p. 191)

(b) when they are followed by an unstressed personal pronoun at the end of a sense-group or a sentence, e.g.

She was not listening to him. [∫i wәz ‘nͻt ↘lisniŋ tu: him]

2) Auxiliary and modal verbs, as well as the link-verb to be, have their strong forms at the end of a sense-group or a sentence, e.g. (p. 192)

Who is absent to-day? Ann is. [‘hu: iz ↘æbsәnt tәdei |↘æn iz]

3) The indefinite pronounsome in the meaning of “certain” has always strong form, even when it is unstressed, e.g.

For some reason they call it the Circle. [fә sʌm ‘ri:zn ðei ‘kͻ:l it ðә ↘sә:kl]

q There are some form-words which are never reduced. They are:

which, what, where, on, in, with, then, when, how.

Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1546

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