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Tina: I had a strange dream last night.
Jack: Well, dreams are always strange. I've never had an absolutely "normal" dream. So what did you dream about?
Tina: I dreamed about a skyscraper devouring a small "Starbucks".

How would you pronounce "So what did you dream about?" here? I am especially interested about the did you part. Is it like di you or d'you or what?

(In case my example is poor, please think of any question then that would start with "So what did you…"—the most important thing for me is that this question must not be simply one separate question, but should rather be a part of someone's dialogue line—it should therefore be pronounced quicker than if it were just a question on its own.)

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7 Answers 7

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A native American speaker, slurring words, would have several pronunciations:

So, whatcha dream about? [wutcha]

So, what'dya dream about? [wuttedya or wuddedya]

So, whadja dream about? [wudja]

So whadjoo dream about? [wudjoo]

There are other minor variations, but these are the main ones you'd hear. Other dialectical variations would include replacing "you" with "y'all" [chiefly Southern] or "youse" or "yas" or "yins" [various] for second person plural.

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A native of where? Not England, I'd guess ;) –  chimp Mar 19 '11 at 12:41
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@chimp: No, forgive my presumption, but I'm speakin' American here. Edited to specify that. Thanks. –  Robusto Mar 19 '11 at 12:42
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Y'all would be a rare variation here as it is almost always used plurally and the OP's question would almost always be directed to one person. –  Callithumpian Mar 19 '11 at 14:06
    
I'm a "wut-didja". –  David Schwartz Dec 14 '11 at 6:30
    
In the conversational context of the OP, the last item is the most likely (AmE) pronunciation with stress on the 'oo'. Similarly, [wu 'dyoo]. –  Mitch Nov 2 '12 at 13:16
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I'm totally late on this one, but whatever. When spoken (in Los Angeles, CA, at least) and slurred together, it comes out WHUH dih joo. Hope this helps :)

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Thanks, Bailey. –  brilliant Nov 2 '12 at 11:05
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I do pronounce every syllable of it, so you would really hear “did you”. I tried to look up video examples, and could find one of Sarah Palin, who I believe as a public speaker tends to eat half of her words. See 11:12 here and you'll see you can hear all syllables.

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Thanks for your answer. A special thank you for the example. –  brilliant Mar 19 '11 at 12:06
    
I am not sure Sara Paulin is eating half of her words; it could be she is simply pronouncing words as they do where she lives. For example, "What's your name?" in American is pronounced like "wəcher name". (My book about standard American pronunciation doesn't use IPA codes.) –  kiamlaluno Mar 19 '11 at 13:48
    
+1 for a nice way to illustrate the point. –  Kris Nov 2 '12 at 5:16
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Some people, who don't slur their words but contract them, might say

What'd you dream about?

If you say it quickly and slur it a bit, the d and the y merge a bit into a j sound:

What'djoo dream about?

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I'm from S.E. England. With me, the t becomes a glottal stop and the second d gets pushed back to the third syllable, equal stress on all syllables: "wha' di dyou"

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Also S.E. UK, so I'd often use a gottal stop too. In many contexts I'd even drop "did" completely, and just say "Wha' ya". –  FumbleFingers Dec 14 '11 at 13:54
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This is actually a question about register. In my idiolect, "what did you" is standard in formal contexts. "Whuh-ju" is familiar.

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When spoken the t in what and the d in did can sound merged, so that it sounds more like wha tid you, but other than that the words are pronounced completely.

If you want to make a contraction out of it, it would be wha'd'ya dream about. As this contraction could be either what did you or what do you, the rest of the sentence (or the situation where it's used) would have to provide enough context to determine what it means.

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