cannot: OED pronunciation

Ed Keer edkeer at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 21 13:52:01 UTC 2005

--- David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET> wrote:

> FWIW, just to add more fuel, in my pronunciation
> (where @ is short-a):
> can (n., container; v., to put in a container):
> [k at n]
> can (v., showing possibility or permission): [kEn]
> cannot/can not (negative of v., possibility):
> [kEnat] (w/ second
>    syllable stress)
> can't: [k at nt]
> I was in a graduate seminar once where the professor
> said that only speakers
> of NYC English phonetically distinguish the two
> verbs 'can' and 'can'. I
> said i (from Maryland, south of DC) make such a
> distinction, and said
> professor responded that i didn't (by definition, i
> suppose), and that i was
> merely forcing the distinction i'd just
> demonstrated.

I (SE PA) also make a distinction between the two
verbs but it's different from yours:

can (v. to put in a container) [kaen]
can (v. to show possibility or permission) [kEn]

But oddly, can't [kaent]


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