Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Pronounce Can vs. Can't -- American English Accent

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Today I'm going to talk about the difference between can and can't. How to hear it, how

to say it. You've probably noticed that you cannot rely on hearing -- tt -- a good T sound

because most Americans when they're speaking everyday speech --tt -- don't release final

T's. First of all, if you haven't seen the video N'T contractions, watch that first.

In that video, you learned that the N'T is pronounced nt. A nasal N sound here in the

nose cut very short byt a stop T. So let's compare the two words. Can. Can't. Can, can't.

What do you hear being different? Let's not even limit ourselves to just the sounds, but

anything. Can, can't. Can you tell that the first word is longer? The stop T of can't

chops it, makes it a little more abrupt. Can, can't. This may be something that is difficult

for you to distinguish right now. But if you know to listen for can: a little bit longer,

a little smoother, versus can't, can't: a little shorter, a little bit more abrupt,

it may help you develop an ear for this. A note on the pronunciation of the word can.

You've probably noticed that this word often reduces. The 'aa' as in 'bat' vowel is changed

to the schwa. Kn, kn, kn, I can do it, kn. The word can't does not reduce. That vowel

sound never changes into the schwa sound. So that's another way to help you distinguish

between these two words. Let's look at some sentences. I can understand. I can't understand.

Could you hear the difference? I can understand. I can't understand. Can, can't, can, can't.

The vowel sound is different because in the first sentence it's being reduced to the schwa.

And here. Can you help later? I can't. I can. I can't. I can. Do you sense that the first

response is a little bit more abrupt? I can't, I can't. And the second one a little bit more

relaxed. Can, can, can, a little smoother. That one might have been a little harder because

the vowel didn't change. I told her I can't. I told her I can. Again, the vowel is the

same in both of them. I told her I can't. I told her I can. But do you notice that the

last can, can: a little smoother and a little bit longer. I told her I can't.

More abrupt in that first sentence. You can come. You can't come. You can come. You can't

come. In the first sentence the word can is reduced so much -- kn, kn, kn, kn -- You can

come. It's almost not even there. You can come. You can't come. So the two tricks here

are: 1) If the sound is abrupt and chopped, can't, can't, then it's the word can't. And

2) if the vowel sound changes to the schwa, then it's the word can. Kn, kn, I can do it.

That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.

The Description of How to Pronounce Can vs. Can't -- American English Accent