Unaccented Vowels.

The two chief unaccented vowels in English are and i, together with the rarer o. The former may be regarded as a shortened oe, as in "her," into which it always passes when emphasised or prolonged, but it is really nothing but a voice murmur without any definite configuration. The i is an intermediate vowel between i and e, and might as well be written e as i. It may be regarded either as a very open i or a very close e.

The following are examples of :-

temt (attempt), pouz (oppose), pon (upon), tdei (to-day).
souf (sofa), menshn (mention), peishns (patience), kært (carrot).
faadh (father), on (honour), mezh (measure).
faowd (forward), shepd (shepherd).
feivrit (favourite), mezhriq (measuring).

is often dropped before l, n and m; always when the is preceded by t or d and followed by l or n:-

metl (metal), gaadn (garden), gaadniq (gardening), mtn (mutton).
iivl (evil), loukl (local), simbl (cymbal, symbol).

When two or more unaccented s or is follow one another, one of them is often thrown out, as in -

hist()ri (history), feiv()rit (favourite), vedzh{/i}tbl (vegetable).

i is less common than . It is most usual as a weakening of front vowels, especially when i or y is written:-

piti (pity), mndi (Monday).
divaid (divide), ditekt (detect).
ræbit (rabbit), fishiz (fishes), biliti (ability).

It is the regular unaccented vowel before dzh, even when a is written:-

vilidzh (village), kæridzh (carriage), kolidzh (college).

In rapid speech i is apt to pass into , except when final.

Unaccented o in ordinary speech is simply rounded. When dwelt on it becomes ou. Examples are -

pteito (potato), folo (follow), felo (fellow).

In rapid speech this o passes into .

These vowels occur also in unaccented monosyllables. Compare "a man" ( mæn) with "against" (genst), "to go" (t gou) with "to-day" (t dei), "for all" (fr aol) with "forgive" (fgiv), "of course" (v kaos) with "offence" (fens).

the and to have two distinct unaccented forms. Before consonants they both have , while before vowels they assume the fuller forms dhi and tu:-

dh mæn (the man), dhi enmi (the enemy).
t gou (to go), tu ent (to enter). It was, I believe, first noticed by Mr. Ellis that "that" as a demonstrative is always full dhæt, while as a conjunction and relative pronoun it becomes dht:- ai nou dht dhæt dht dhæt mæn sez iz truu (I know that that that that man says is true).

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James Chandler 1998.