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what department DO you in ?

Q :Great. SO What department DO you in ? 

A: housekeeping.


Q :Great. SO What department ARE you in ? 

A: housekeeping.

I'm confused about DO or ARE . Because I heard:  " What department DO you in ? " 


You can check audio here :

Jul 28, 2016 3:44 PM
Comments · 7

I think Suki put it perfectly. Note that I have seen comments on italki where well-meaning Australians (and others) claim they never reduce the /ɑː/ in "are" to a schwa (/ǝ/). I don’t know much specifically about Australian accents, nevertheless, the reality is that all native English speakers reduce the vowel in “are” to a schwa when unstressed. It is natural that they will deny this fact, since the true phonological rules are followed unconsciously by native speakers. That is what makes the rules so powerful. You’ll also notice that the T loses its aspiration (making it sound similar to a D) when not at the beginning of an accented syllable — again, native speakers are usually oblivious to how they are actually pronouncing the sounds.

July 28, 2016

That's a very good point, Phil. The majority of native speakers really are unaware of the sounds they are making in everyday speech. For example, most native English speakers will swear to you that they pronounce the 's' at the end of taps and tabs in exactly the same way, just as they'll insist that they say word have or the with the full vowel sounds every time they utter these words.


To help Huy and Philip Rey, and anyone else who thought they were hearing .. department do you when the speaker said ..department are you, I thought it might be useful to gather some sample recordings. This will show people what actually happens when the words in written in the grammar books become part of real-life, native-speaker connected speech.


Here's my sample:


My accent is a British (southern English), relaxed RP.


Would any other native speakers like to record the question 'What department are you in?', at natural speed? It would be interesting to hear as many different accents as possible.

July 29, 2016

Yes, he definitely says 'are', not 'do'.


It's normal in connected speech for the consonant at the end of one word to blend into the vowel at the beginning of the next one. The 't' at the end of 'department' slides into the 'uh' of the word 'are' to make a 'tuh' sound.

Australian English, like the English spoken in England, is non-rhotic, which means that the 'r' in words like 'are' is not pronounced. When 'are' is stressed, it's a long 'ah' sound, /ɑː/ in phonemic script. When it's not stressed, it's a weak schwa sound, like the 'uh' at the beginning of 'ago' - /ǝ/ in phonemic script. Blended with the 't' from the end of 'department', the sound we hear in the recording is /tǝ/. That's what you mistook for 'do'.


Listen again to the whole question, and you'll hear that he says 'What department are you in?'.


July 28, 2016
Having listened to the audio, he's also saying "What department are you in", but his Australian accent means that the 'department', 'are' and 'you' sounds slide into each other so that's why you're hearing it as "to". Listen a few more times, there's definitely an "are" in there! That audio's good accent training!
July 28, 2016
Yeah, I think he really said "do you in". Not sure if it was because of his accent that we misheard, or maybe it is some acceptable grammar for them. I watched quite a few English and Australian films, and surprisingly they have some incorrect sentences.
July 28, 2016
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