cannot: OED pronunciation
Dalecoye at AOL.COM
Mon Jan 17 14:33:52 UTC 2005
Quite a discussion arose on the History of Eng. Lang. list over the
pronunciation of cannot. A non-native speaker, a teacher, had been teaching the
pronunciation of the second syllable as schwa--because that's what the OED has. UK
and US speakers responding agreed that that is incorrect--it's the same vowel
as "not." That seems right to me. So where did the OED get schwa?
On a related note, I'm wondering if the spelling "cannot" may be
fighting a losing battle against "can not" in the youngest generation, based on the
number of my students who seem never to have absorbed the single-word
convention in high school--maybe because their teachers didn't teach it. I don't
know if "can not" has slipped past any editors yet, or made its way into
dictionaries, but maybe it won't be long.
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