Will you grab – we’you grab

I was watching a film with subtitles, and the phrase: “Will you grab her blanket?” sounded like “We’you graber blanket”. I’m Ok with “graber”, but can we drop “l”-sound in “will you”? Answer In a comment, John Lawler wrote: Will you is virtually always contracted to /’wiyu/. In fact, will by itself is almost always … Read more

“Extra W” sound in words

I’ve wonder that in some sentences, or words, even though phonetically you don’t have a ‘W’ sound, you can still hear some type of extra w’ sound. So for example. The phrase: “Do it”. /du ɪt/ will sound more like /du wɪt/ same with the verb= “doing” ˈduɪŋ becomes /ˈduwɪŋ/. Am I crazy? Hope you … Read more

Pronouncing the final “‑ing” inflection as [əŋ] instead of as [ɪŋ]

I’m asking about American English, but feel free to answer about other dialects. The ‑ing verbal inflection ending is, in the abstract, a phonemic /ɪŋ/. Those phonemes usually get realized phonetically as literally the sounds [ɪŋ] in General American, and this is the way it seems to be pronounced by most Americans. Even so, there … Read more

Is there any rule which dictates the ordering of non-proper, non-pronoun nouns in a list?

For example, Is “Design, Operation, and Management,” as equally good of a list as “Management, Operation, and Design?” My colleagues and I are having a tough time reasoning why one sounds better than the other, but we agree that there is a best-sounding list. Answer While there is no rule for ordering general lists, we … Read more

Is there a term for when the “d'” is dropped in a “not” contraction?

Actors Josh Radnor and Michael Weston pronounce shouldn’t like “shunt” or wouldn’t like “wunt”. Is there a proper linguistic term for this pattern of pronunciation? Answer Book-writing [bʊk̚ˈɻʷʌɪʔn̩] versus real speech What you’re seeing here is the simple reduction of weak syllables in casual connected English under fast speech rules, sometimes called allegro rules. It … Read more

Rules of metrics rhythm and rhyme in poetry, do they exist in English?

I know there are a lot of rules and guidelines in english, for writing a good essay (especially around S.A.T. season!) No such thing in spanish, though! However, for writing poems Spanish does have a lot of rules and strict guidelines for style and metrics, and like the S.A.T.s we all went trough writing a … Read more

Does a word that starts with a vowel letter start with a vowel sound?

I’m currently learning about consonant to vowel linking, and I’m wondering if it’s safe to assume that most words (if not all?) that start with a vowel letter (a, e, i, o, u) will also start with a vowel sound. Knowing this information will help me quickly identify whether a word starts with a vowel … Read more

Comma rules – found a lot of special rules, but not general ones

I have read a lot on proper punctuation: grammar.ccc.comnet.edu grammarbook.com And some more… Now I remember my English teacher warning me that in English, you should use a lot less commas then in Hungarian (my mother tongue). The English writers rarely use commas, but they use a lot shorter sentences too – she would say. … Read more