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the question: Can I use your bathroom? phonetically looks like: [kə_naɪ ˈyuz yər ˈbæθˌrum]

  1. I think the stress should be on the verb USE and the noun BATHROOM. Am I right?

  2. Some dictionaries show the reduced form of "your" as /yər/ and some show it as /jər/. As far as I know /y/ can be both consonant and a vowel. If I decide to use /y/ in "your" as a vowel I can link the two words "USE + YOUR" together [ˈyu_zyər] because "z" is a consonant, but If I decide to use /jər/ with /j/, [ˈyuz jər] can't be linked together because there are two consonants.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

  • 2
    You could stress any word in that sentence and arrive at a different implied meaning. – Robusto Feb 23 '15 at 17:43
  • But according to phonetic rules content words (nouns, verbs, adverbs) are more important than function words (preposition, pronouns, etc...) and the auxiliary verb (can) is not the main verb. It's just a helping verb. – Zoltan King Feb 23 '15 at 18:05
  • Compare "Can I use your bathroom?" with "Can I use your bathroom?" Do you not see a difference in implication there? – Robusto Feb 23 '15 at 18:07
  • Although it's always true that any word can be stressed to give it emphasis, there is a default unemphatic accent. – Zoltan King Feb 23 '15 at 18:13
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    /j/is just a different symbol for /y/; /zyər/ and /zjər/ are identical, and both will palatalize to /ʒər/. You're right about the basic stress positions. – John Lawler Feb 23 '15 at 18:15

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