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Is there always a difference between the following two sounds:

  • /ɪz/ as in the end of 'hedges'
  • /ə(ɹ)z/ as in the end of 'ledgers'

They seem super close. Is there any accent in which they sound the same, perhaps because of vowel reduction?

  • If there is such an accent, speakers would need to handle pairs like ledges/ledgers – Chris H Sep 27 '16 at 9:44
  • Is that unheard of? Seems to me that lazily saying the former ends up as the latter – guest Sep 27 '16 at 9:58
  • (perhaps you've already thought this far ahead, but:) In a non rhotic accent you'd lose the "r". In RP British English they are pretty close, but definitely differentiated. My first guess would be probably most scouse dialects would have ledges and ledgers as homophones? But it might just be that they're closer rather than merged – Some_Guy Sep 27 '16 at 12:06
  • I would guess that even in non-rhotic accents the person steeped in the accent would be able to hear a slight difference, though folks more attuned to rhotic accents might be confused. – Hot Licks Sep 27 '16 at 12:55

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