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Please elaborate, when we say "who is", why does it sound "whiz"?

Also one more example I would like to include: why "visit us" sounds "visi-tas"?

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I like the general question, but your first example seems very strange to me! I’m curious where you heard it — what community of English speakers would pronounce it that way? For most UK and American English speakers, to my ear, ‘who is’ usually reduces to something like ‘hooz’ (IPA: /huːz/, /hʊz/), whereas whiz (/(h)wɪz/) has both a different first consonant (‘w’ not ‘h’), and vowel (‘i’ not ‘oo’). –  PLL Dec 24 '10 at 22:49
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@PLL: Consider [huː ɪz] → [huwɪz] → [hwɪz] or possibly [ʍɪz] if you're into that. It's a fairly predictable set of sound changes, if an uncommon one in actual usage, since there is already "who's" which serves in most positions. How about "I don't know who is", a response to, say, "Do you know who's coming?" –  Jon Purdy Dec 26 '10 at 9:45
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I can't think of any case where your examples sound as you have described. I have heard them shortened (through laziness) to "hooz" and "visi'us" –  Rory Alsop Apr 1 '12 at 21:39
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3 Answers 3

There is enough phonemic variation among speakers of English to make many vowels sound to some listeners like something else entirely. Usually fast speech and lazy enunciation are the culprits, but that is how people usually speak in normal, casual conversion, myself included. This can make it hard for non-native speakers to understand all the words. And this is true of any language. Native listeners don't listen to each phoneme one by one; instead they post-process entire phrases, and because they can do this very rapidly they have no trouble parsing the meaning.

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I think that people who enunciate every phoneme are actually robot spies sent from Skynet. –  Chris Dwyer Dec 24 '10 at 19:15
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First of all, I've never heard such an assimilation in England or the parts of America I visit. Where are you hearing "Whiz"?

The more usual contraction is who is -> who's, which sounds like "hooz".

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There is a concept in phonetics known as elision, whereby a sound or group of sounds is omitted to ease pronunciation. For example: ice tea, which should be iced tea. As a further example, where I am from, it is not uncommon to hear "m'ungry" instead of "I'm hungry." Because we eliminate unstressed sounds, I'd wager to say that that would be why "who is" comes out more like "whiz."

Edit: To further answer your second example, that is known as linking, another example of connected speech.

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