I was studying connected speech and I read when we say for example

I've finished my homework

we pronounce the 've and f in finished as only one sound.

Is it only in this case or whenever I use this contraction?

  • 3
    Yeah, they run together. The general rule is that a cluster of consonants can be either all voiced or all voiceless, but switching voicing on or off during a cluster pronunciation requires an independent neural signal to the larynx, timed with millisecond precision. It's not impossible, but it's a lot of trouble when it isn't necessary, and it's slower. Most importantly, precise articulation calls attention to itself when it isn't obviously required by the context, and that's the last thing one normally wants when talking. Sep 27 '14 at 15:56
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    I'm not sure mine do. The ve is voiced and the f is not. I would suggest that's true of most BrE speakers.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 27 '14 at 16:00
  • 1
    Thinking about how I pronounce the two phrases I finished and I've finished, my impression is that the /f/ is longer in the second than the first. Rather like the /s/ at the end of "5/6" five sixths is long: /fayv'sɪkss/, because of the deleted /θ/. This is known as "compensatory lengthening", which is also invoked to account for French accent marks in an ancient case of lengthening. Sep 27 '14 at 16:00
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    @Sammaye So everyone you know pronounces I’ve and IV (as in ‘intravenous’) the same? A prolonged /e/ is [i:], as in ‘see’, and I have never, ever in my entire life heard a single native English speaker pronounce that sound in I’ve. Sep 29 '14 at 9:03
  • 1
    @Sammaye There are different degrees of vowel length and prolonging. They all require that the vowel be present, though. I’ve is pronounced [aiv] and doesn't have an /e/ to prolong at all. If any vowel is lengthened, it is the /i/ (that is, the [ai]). This is in fact the case and perfectly regular, since vowels are longer before voiced consonants than before voiceless ones in English. Sep 29 '14 at 11:11

As an American English speaker, I would say the words run together of course, but there is still a "v" (lips vibrating) sound followed by a propulsion of air "F". I don't completely eliminate the v sound and say "I finished." It would be a subtle difference, but I would pronounce "I finished" and "I've finished" just slightly differently.

  • /v/ and /f/ are the same sound, differing only in whether the vocal cords are moving (voicing). Both are labiodental fricatives (lower lip pressed lightly against edge of upper incisors, with light air pressure escaping. What happens in American English I've finished is that the vocal cords are turned off somewhere after the initial /ay/, which may or may not include a portion of the labiodental fricative that follows, which may or may not be audible as a separate /v/ preceding the /f/. The faster the speech, the less likely it is. Feb 26 '15 at 18:42

No, I've never sounds like If, not even in this contraction.

However, the contraction does make the v sound disappear or melt together with the following f, just like a d does when followed by a t:

I'd take it.

and more generally, when a "soft" consonant is followed by its "hard" counterpart:

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