I'm hearing it in songs sometimes, but I can't remember such pronunciation on English class. Is it some kind of american english or more local dialect?
First 'lyrics can't you see' result from youtube: youtu.be/ikOqJ8qYoMw?t=1m22s It's some of country/blues/rock, I know, but I hear it in common pop music.

The only refer in google about 'can't [kæntʃ]' is 'A Dictionary of Phonetics and Phonology' By R.L. Trask with the article external sandhi (goo.gl/CP1bw5) as a phenomenon, but it says nothing about stylistic acceptability.

  • Can you give a link to a recording? Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 10:12
  • AFAIK this is commonly referred to as a (word) slur: --ref. link--
    – blgt
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 10:15
  • 1
    I think the "long U" is more likely to be pronounced as schwa. It supposedly reflects spoken English, in the same way as "d'ya wanna" (Do you want to).
    – Martin
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 10:29
  • @Martin Is subject pronunciation informal as 'donno'?
    – TotalAMD
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 10:39

1 Answer 1


In music or even in speech, 't' isn't normally articulated distinctly, in large part, because it is difficult to enunciate. It is often considered somewhat formal to apply a strong 't' sound to the word [can't] because it slows down normal speech. This is awkward in music that must adhere to a rhythm. Substituting an aspirated sound for 't' serves two purposes. First in is easier to make a transition to the next sound, and second, it is necessary to have something between 'can' and the next word or the meaning would change. I am not aware of any rule for when to do this.

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