LifeDeath wrote:But I wondered, maybe there can be contexts where "to" is used (in AmE)? And if it is, it certainly adds to some connotation which is hard to pinpoint verbally, but otherwise, why would you use it if it didn't change anything?
Because natural variation is a thing?
Offhand, I can't think of any difference in connotation between, say, "He helped me fix it" and "He helped me to fix it". I'll have to give it more thought, go through some examples, maybe I'll find something.
linguoboy wrote:Okay, I'll give it a listen. I can tell you that one think I've noticed from a lot of nonnative speakers is the quality and duration of their vowels. The latter is particularly tricky, since it's not noted in the orthography or most phonetic transcriptions and rarely mentioned outside of specialist contexts, but it's really obvious when listening to someone.
Okay, I'm really interested to know your opinion.
One thing off the bat: the stressed vowel of innumerable
is /uː/, not /ʌ/. This is the case for all words with the learned root numer-
rather than the (partially) inherited form number
But speaking of /ʌ/, it's a dead giveaway. Just like most Germans, most Slavic speakers use a quality that is too low, either [ɐ] or [a]. We used to tease one of our German friends by saying "Facking shit!" It's really noticeable in how you say "honey" in the clip (so much so I didn't recognise the word at first). You need to aim for something just a bit closer to <ы> (though of course not quite that high). Interestingly, you're much better at getting it right before /r/.
Another very noticeable feature is how you pronounce /r/. It sounds fully retroflexed instead of just postalveolar, as it is in most varieties of English. There are native varieties of English with [ɻ], but these are chiefly found in Ireland. If you had other features of Irish English in your speech, it wouldn't stand out as much.
Some other striking pronunciations:
* In "pink", the vowel sounds too low, almost [æ].
* In "whose", it's too fronted. There is widespread fronting of /uː/ in US English, but the pronunciation here sounds almost Swedish.
* In "organ", the second syllable is unstressed and reduced; you gave the full /æ/ of organic
* "Dorian" has a long /oː/ as in door
; the way you pronounce it, is sounds like "Darien".
* "Unmown" was unparsable at first. The prefix un-
takes secondary stress; the primary stress remains on the root word. Putting primary stress on un-
ends up making the /oː/ of mown
much too short.
Actually, shortened vowels are a problem throughout. Rhotic varieties of English have at least five different degrees of phonemic vowel length. From longest to shortest:
* stressed diphthongs/"long" vowels: he
* unstressed diphthongs: studio
* stressed open vowels before voiced segments: diva
* stressed open vowels before unvoiced segments: ca
* reduced vowels: tremulou
There's overlap here--some stressed "short" vowels are probably as long as some unstressed "long" vowels--but the distinctions are quite noticeable to native speakers even if they don't know what they're noticing. For Scottish English
, the vowel length rules are markedly different than for other varieties and this--as much as the different vowel qualities--make it one of the most difficult accents for speakers of other English to understand.
One word in the passage where I really noticed this was monotonous
. Every vowel sounded the same length to me. But they aren't; the stressed /ɔ/ should sound noticeably longer than all the unstressed /ə/'s. Indeed, it's one of the ways we can tell where the primary stress is. By contrast, the vowel after it is so much shorter, it sometimes drops out completely, i.e. monot'nous
. Another one was odour
; the /oː/ is much too short. It should last for twice as long as the unstress /ɚ/ in the second syllable.
I hope this isn't too much to absorb! Overall I think you did a very respectable job. There are some words in that passage even I had to look up!
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons