Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 08:03:03 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: can/can't

Huh Don? You must mean in foreigner talk, like [khae~n]. My ordinary (and

not even my most allegro form) of 'can' ain't got no vowel atall [khn.].

(With the period after [n] I am trying to show that the [n] is a 'syllabic'


My 'can't' at the same stylistic level is rather more stressed, and, as a

result, its nucleus is a tad longer.

('Tad' is not a technical phonetic term.)

No wonder them international students that come up here from your place do

everthing bass-ackwards. I thought it was some 'show-me' shit.


When international students have asked about American pronunciations of

'can' and 'can't' -- complaining that they don't hear a -t -- I point out

that the vowel in 'can' lasts a little longer than the one in 'can't'.

They find that explanation useful. DMLance