Practice English Speaking&Listening with: English Pronunciation: Vowel Length Affected by Ending Consonant: American Accent

Difficulty: 0

This video is a spin off of the Can Vs. Can't video. We're going to take one of the concepts

from that video and broaden it into a general rule. One of the ways you can tell the difference

between can and can't is the length of the word. Can will be a little longer and a little

smoother than can't, which will be a little bit more abrupt. Can't, can't. That's because

of the stop T, which makes that abrupt ending. The T in an unvoiced consonant. And as a general

rule, a one syllable word that ends in an unvoiced consonant will be shorter than the

same word if it was to end in a voiced consonant. So here the final consonant is actually affecting

vowel length. Let's look at some examples. Rack, rag. Rack, rag. Do you hear that the

second word is just a little bit longer? That's because of the voiced consonant at the end.

Here you see the word rack on the left compared with rag on the right. You can see that the

length of rack is shorter. Hid, hit. Hid, hit. I hope you can see that that second word,

hit, is very abrupt. Need, neat. Need, neat. Safe, save. Safe, save. Second word: longer.

Ride, write. Ride, write. This actually answers a question that someone sent me in an email

quite a while ago. How to tell the difference between fall and fault. The only difference

in IPA is the T, and as you know, final T's are often not released. Fall, fault. Can you

hear that the second one is shorter? Fault, fault. It's that stop T that's cutting off

the sound, that unvoiced consonant at the end that, even though it is not released,

does affect the vowel length. That's it and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.

The Description of English Pronunciation: Vowel Length Affected by Ending Consonant: American Accent