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ate

Postby kibo » 2005-08-26, 8:34

How do you pronounce "ate"? (the past tense of "eat"). For me it always rhymed with "eight", but when I was 9 or 10, I had a teacher who prefered us to pronounce it withought the [ɪ]. I always refused to do that since I never heard it on TV. :P I'm wondering if this actually exists (well, I'm sure it does), and where exactly. Is it standard British pronunciation? I could swear I heard many Brits saying [eɪt] too. :?
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Re: ate

Postby Kirk » 2005-08-26, 8:40

Bugi wrote:How do you pronounce "ate"? (the past tense of "eat"). For me it always rhymed with "eight", but when I was 9 or 10, I had a teacher who prefered us to pronounce it withought the [ɪ]. I always refused to do that since I never heard it on TV. :P I'm wondering if this actually exists (well, I'm sure it does), and where exactly. Is it standard British pronunciation? I could swear I heard many Brits saying [eɪt] too. :?


I always rhyme "eight" and "ate," which I both pronounce [et]. I'm under the impression that British speakers use either [eɪt] (to rhyme with "eight") or [ɛt] (to rhyme with "bet"), but I had never heard of [ɪt] for "ate." But of course, I'm not British, so I'm just basing it off of what I've read.
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Re: ate

Postby kibo » 2005-08-26, 8:49

svenska84 wrote:I always rhyme "eight" and "ate," which I both pronounce [et].


Oh, really? That's interesting. :)

svenska84 wrote:but I had never heard of [ɪt] for "ate."


Ah, but I didn't think of [ɪt]. I was taught to pronounce "ate" as [et], the way how you pronounce it. (Or maybe it was [ɛt], we didn't use IPA, so I really don't remember, but my point was that the [ɪ] was lacking) and "eight" as [eɪt].
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Postby Geist » 2005-08-26, 13:11

I pronounce "eight" and "ate" identically, as does everyone I know.
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Postby JackFrost » 2005-08-27, 4:39

No worries Bugi, if you rhyme "eat" with "eight", you'll be understood anywhere, even in England. ;)

Oh, I rhyme it with "eight" as well.
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Re: ate

Postby Kirk » 2005-08-27, 4:46

Bugi wrote:
svenska84 wrote:I always rhyme "eight" and "ate," which I both pronounce [et].


Oh, really? That's interesting. :)

svenska84 wrote:but I had never heard of [ɪt] for "ate."


Ah, but I didn't think of [ɪt]. I was taught to pronounce "ate" as [et], the way how you pronounce it. (Or maybe it was [ɛt], we didn't use IPA, so I really don't remember, but my point was that the [ɪ] was lacking) and "eight" as [eɪt].


Ohh, ok. Well I'm afraid I may have been a little unclear. This also has to do with differences between (at least RP) and General American vowels. For instance, let's start with an unvarying word--"bet" is [bɛt] in US English and [bet] in RP. Thus, RP [e] matches up with US [ɛ]. "bait" is [beɪt] in GenAm and either [beɪt] or [bɛɪt] (I'll use the former to be less confusing) in RP.

Thus, RP "eight" is [eɪt], which may or may not sound the same as RP "ate," which depending on speaker is [eɪt] or [et]. The GenAm equivalents would be [eɪt] and [ɛt], respectively. However, GenAm has [eɪt] for both "eight" and "ate," never [ɛt] (the RP equivalent of [et] if you'll remember).

Now, to make things more confusing, since GenAm is a hazy concept to begin with (and no American speaks 100% GenAm) here's where my dialectal variation comes in. I don't have GenAm [eɪ] followed by a consonant in my dialect--instead I have a monophthong there--[e]--when in closed position (followed by a consonant). Thus, GenAm "eight/ate" [eɪt] is [et] for me (a simple monophthongization), while GenAm and I both have [ɛ] in words like "bet" (except my [ɛ] is lower but that's another story!).

So, now that you're all confused (hopefully I wasn't too confusing in how I wrote that) I think we can see we're dealing with different assumptions here as to what exactly [e] and [ɛ] are. To put it simply--I always rhyme "eight" and "ate," while "bet" has a different vowel. This is in contrast to some British speakers who rhyme "ate" ('ett') and "bet" while they have a different vowel for "eight." Then some other British speakers also rhyme "eight/ate" and have a different vowel in "bet."

Whew. That's enough.
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Re: ate

Postby kibo » 2005-08-27, 8:44

svenska84 wrote:Ohh, ok. Well I'm afraid I may have been a little unclear. This also has to do with differences between (at least RP) and General American vowels. For instance, let's start with an unvarying word--"bet" is [bɛt] in US English and [bet] in RP. Thus, RP [e] matches up with US [ɛ]. "bait" is [beɪt] in GenAm and either [beɪt] or [bɛɪt] (I'll use the former to be less confusing) in RP.

Thus, RP "eight" is [eɪt], which may or may not sound the same as RP "ate," which depending on speaker is [eɪt] or [et]. The GenAm equivalents would be [eɪt] and [ɛt], respectively. However, GenAm has [eɪt] for both "eight" and "ate," never [ɛt] (the RP equivalent of [et] if you'll remember).

Now, to make things more confusing, since GenAm is a hazy concept to begin with (and no American speaks 100% GenAm) here's where my dialectal variation comes in. I don't have GenAm [eɪ] followed by a consonant in my dialect--instead I have a monophthong there--[e]--when in closed position (followed by a consonant). Thus, GenAm "eight/ate" [eɪt] is [et] for me (a simple monophthongization), while GenAm and I both have [ɛ] in words like "bet" (except my [ɛ] is lower but that's another story!).

So, now that you're all confused (hopefully I wasn't too confusing in how I wrote that) I think we can see we're dealing with different assumptions here as to what exactly [e] and [ɛ] are. To put it simply--I always rhyme "eight" and "ate," while "bet" has a different vowel. This is in contrast to some British speakers who rhyme "ate" ('ett') and "bet" while they have a different vowel for "eight." Then some other British speakers also rhyme "eight/ate" and have a different vowel in "bet."

Whew. That's enough.


I understood it actually. ;) I don't know much about the Englisg phonetics (at least not enough to have such discussions ;)), but it's clear to me now. :)

Thanks.

JackFrost wrote:No worries Bugi, if you rhyme "eat" with "eight", you'll be understood anywhere, even in England. ;)


Yeah, though I wasn't worried that I wasn't going to be understood, not after I'd heard so many native speakers rhyming it with "eight". :) For me it would be very strange not to do that.
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Re: ate

Postby ZombiekE » 2005-08-27, 11:23

Bugi wrote:Yeah, though I wasn't worried that I wasn't going to be understood, not after I'd heard so many native speakers rhyming it with "eight". :) For me it would be very strange not to do that.


Same here, ate rhymes with eight. Cambridge Dictionary says both /et/ or /eit/ are valid :)
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Postby MikeL » 2005-08-28, 20:54

The pronunciation of "ate" to rhyme with "bet" is hardly ever heard even in England nowadays. I'm pretty sure that in the UK it was/is confined to upper class dialect. Ironically, in Australia and NZ it has always been a minority pronunciation, but for a different reason: it was/is stigmatised as uneducated...

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Postby Psi-Lord » 2005-08-28, 22:14

Just me quoting the CEPD, as usual:

BrE: /et/, /eɪt/
AmE: /eɪt/

I myself always use /eɪt/.
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Postby Travis B. » 2005-08-29, 1:29

Psi-Lord wrote:Just me quoting the CEPD, as usual:

BrE: /et/, /eɪt/
AmE: /eɪt/

I myself always use /eɪt/.


It's interesting that the CEPD says such, as at least here, the pronunciation of both "ate" and "eight" is normally /et/ -> [eʔ], and the dialect here is an North American English dialect, not an English English dialect. The main thing here though is that it also is a dialect that favors realizing tense vowels, except before other vowels, and in formal speech word-finally, as monophthongs rather than as diphthongs. Of course, I bet that the writers of the CEPD did not take NAE dialects which favor monophthongal tense vowels into account here.
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Postby Kirk » 2005-08-29, 1:40

Travis B. wrote:
Psi-Lord wrote:Just me quoting the CEPD, as usual:

BrE: /et/, /eɪt/
AmE: /eɪt/

I myself always use /eɪt/.


It's interesting that the CEPD says such, as at least here, the pronunciation of both "ate" and "eight" is normally /et/ -> [eʔ], and the dialect here is an North American English dialect, not an English English dialect. The main thing here though is that it also is a dialect that favors realizing tense vowels, except before other vowels, and in formal speech word-finally, as monophthongs rather than as diphthongs. Of course, I bet that the writers of the CEPD did not take NAE dialects which favor monophthongal tense vowels into account here.


Yes, they were not taking into account /e/ and /o/ monophthongizers like you and me (and, actually, I think many North American speakers of a relatively young age). It may pass into what's considered "General American" someday, who knows?
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Postby Travis B. » 2005-08-29, 2:08

svenska84 wrote:Yes, they were not taking into account /e/ and /o/ monophthongizers like you and me (and, actually, I think many North American speakers of a relatively young age). It may pass into what's considered "General American" someday, who knows?


I don't really myself hear any noticable diphthonginess in /e/ and /o/ in English amongst younger individuals overall, besides before other vowels and word-finally, but then most of native English-speakers who are about my age who I run into are probably from somewhere around the Upper Midwest, so hence I can't really speak about NAE as a whole myself. But even still, it seems to not be something that is particularly local in nature as a whole, at least from my point of view.
secretGeek on CodingHorror wrote:Type inference is not a gateway drug to more dynamically typed languages.

Rather "var" is a gateway drug toward "real" type inferencing, of which var is but a tiny cigarette to the greater crack mountain!

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Postby Kirk » 2005-08-29, 2:23

Travis B. wrote:
svenska84 wrote:Yes, they were not taking into account /e/ and /o/ monophthongizers like you and me (and, actually, I think many North American speakers of a relatively young age). It may pass into what's considered "General American" someday, who knows?


I don't really myself hear any noticable diphthonginess in /e/ and /o/ in English amongst younger individuals overall, besides before other vowels and word-finally, but then most of native English-speakers who are about my age who I run into are probably from somewhere around the Upper Midwest, so hence I can't really speak about NAE as a whole myself. But even still, it seems to not be something that is particularly local in nature as a whole, at least from my point of view.


I agree. I mean here I mostly only come into contact with other Californians but people I've met from other areas in North America also seem to have monophthongs or near-monophthongs for /o/ and /e/. My introductory phonetics book noted that it was common to monophthongize those in California, but the author (Peter Ladefoged) researches at UCLA so of course that's what he comes into contact with. His vowel plot of Midwestern "General American" showed diphthongs for /e/ and /o/ but he noted that it was a conservative form of GenAm from recordings done over 50 years ago and we certainly know how things can change in that amount of time. My parents are both California natives and also have monophthongs in such positions (and they were born in the late 50s) so it's clearly been around since at least then for some people.
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Postby Car » 2005-08-29, 8:14

I didn't even know /et/ existed... It's /eɪt/ for me.
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Postby Saaropean » 2005-08-29, 8:59

What I learned at high school is [ɛtʰ], but I heard North Americans pronounce it [ɛɪ̯tʰ].

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Postby Travis B. » 2005-08-29, 19:23

Car wrote:I didn't even know /et/ existed... It's /eɪt/ for me.


In practice, one could consider [eɪ] to be simply one of many realizations of /e/, based on the overall environment and position of such. I don't like to ever consider [eɪ] to be a distinct phoneme in English, unlike how /ɛɪ/ is phonemic in Dutch (especially with how such contrasts with /eː/ in Dutch), but rather prefer to consider it simply an allophone of /e/.

That said, of course what I and Kirk had meant earlier is that our dialects tend to prefer monophthongal rather than diphthongal realizations of /e/ in most positions, hence realizing such as [e] or [eː], depending on environment, in most cases rather than as [eɪ] or [eːɪ] in most cases, which is what you apparently favor.
secretGeek on CodingHorror wrote:Type inference is not a gateway drug to more dynamically typed languages.

Rather "var" is a gateway drug toward "real" type inferencing, of which var is but a tiny cigarette to the greater crack mountain!

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Postby Travis B. » 2005-08-29, 19:49

Saaropean wrote:What I learned at high school is [ɛtʰ], but I heard North Americans pronounce it [ɛɪ̯tʰ].


That is interesting, as I have never heard [ɛɪtʰ] come out of the mouth of a North American ever. For that matter, the only times I've ever heard anything like the diphthong [ɛɪ] have been in some pronunciations of words like "any" and "many" locally, but these have actually been nasalized, as in:

"any" : /ˈɛni/ -> [ɛ̃ɪ̃]
"many" : /ˈmɛni/ -> [mɛ̃ɪ̃]

One note though: do not think that what I just said about "any" and "many" applies to much of NAE as a whole, as that is just an example I'm using from my own dialect, and even then, many from the area which I am from use more "standard" pronunciations of those two words.

I have never heard a native NAE-speaker realize /e/ as [ɛɪ] or [ɛːɪ] one way or another, period. [eɪ] or [eːɪ] for such are another matter, as they are not uncommon, especially in more formal speech, before other vowels, and in open syllables (particularly word-finally), but they seem to have been displaced in many cases by more monophthongal realizations of such as of late.

As for [tʰ], such seems to be not very common for the realization of word-final /t/ in NAE. When not followed by a vowel, word-final /t/ in NAE tends to be realized as [t̚]or [ʔ], depending on the dialect in question (mine favors [ʔ]), except when speaking quite formally or with strong emphasis. When followed by a vowel, word-final /t/ in NAE is practically invariably realized as [ɾ], except, again, when speaking very formally or emphatically. Only in markedly formal or forceful speech will word-final /t/ be realized as [tʰ] in most NAE dialects, and considering that the vast majority of spoken NAE is informal, then [tʰ] would probably be a small minority of actual realizations of /t/ in spoken NAE.
secretGeek on CodingHorror wrote:Type inference is not a gateway drug to more dynamically typed languages.

Rather "var" is a gateway drug toward "real" type inferencing, of which var is but a tiny cigarette to the greater crack mountain!

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Postby Kirk » 2005-08-29, 19:56

Travis B. wrote:
Saaropean wrote:What I learned at high school is [ɛtʰ], but I heard North Americans pronounce it [ɛɪ̯tʰ].


That is interesting, as I have never heard [ɛɪtʰ] come out of the mouth of a North American ever.


Yes, North American English does not typically have the diphthong [ɛɪ], instead having [eɪ] or monophthongized [e] as in Travis' and my speech.

Travis B. wrote:For that matter, the only times I've ever heard anything like the diphthong [ɛɪ] have been in some pronunciations of words like "any" and "many" locally, but these have actually been nasalized, as in:

"any" : /ˈɛni/ -> [ɛ̃ɪ̃]
"many" : /ˈmɛni/ -> [mɛ̃ɪ̃]

One note though: do not think that what I just said about "any" and "many" applies to much of NAE as a whole, as that is just an example I'm using from my own dialect, and even then, many from the area which I am from use more "standard" pronunciations of those two words.


Yeah that feature doesn't apply to my dialect, but I find it interesting. "any" and "many" are [ˈɪni] and [ˈmɪni] for me, respectively. In emphatic speech they are [ˈɛni] and [ˈmɛni].

Travis B. wrote:I have never heard a native NAE-speaker realize /e/ as [ɛɪ] or [ɛːɪ] one way or another, period. [eɪ] or [eːɪ] for such are another matter, as they are not uncommon, especially in more formal speech, before other vowels, and in open syllables (particularly word-finally), but they seem to have been displaced in many cases by more monophthongal realizations of such as of late.


Yup.

Travis B. wrote:As for [tʰ], such seems to be not very common for the realization of word-final /t/ in NAE. When not followed by a vowel, word-final /t/ in NAE tends to be realized as [t̚]or [ʔ], depending on the dialect in question (mine favors [ʔ])


I use either [t̚] or [ʔ] when not followed by a vowel--altho I believe [t̚] is somewhat more common for me. I hardly, if ever, have [tʰ] word-finally. That looks and sounds like German to me.
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I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

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