Community Web Version Now Available
TYEU
How do you distinguish the words " can " and " can't " in American accent? They are quite similar. I know they have a slight difference in intonation but sometimes when people with American accent say that QUICKLY in a long sentence, I might got confused with that.
Jan 19, 2016 6:17 AM
5
2
Answers · 5
Stressed "can" (not normally used in a sentence): /kæn/ Unstressed "can" (normal): /kən/ Stressed "can't": /kæn(t)/ This is why listening for stress is so important in English :)
January 19, 2016
Makes it even harder that the /t/ in "can't" is often removed in natural speech! (all accents of English do this quite regularly) The most reliable way to distinguish "can" and "can't" is stress. Negative auxiliaries are always stressed, positive ones normally aren't. I can underSTAND you I CAN'T underSTAND you
January 19, 2016
listen to both words 100,000 times and you will be able to tell.the difference :) no, but seriously, 500 times may be enough.
January 19, 2016
I think you'd probably have a problem with me, as I speak really really fast and I have a very high pitched voice and a Brooklyn accent ! Poor you. It is only really very distinguishable if the person is a more deliberate speaker, then you should really hear that ' t ' at the end.
January 19, 2016
TYEU
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Italian, Japanese
Learning Language
English, Italian, Japanese