I know that (AE)"can't" is pronounced /kaen?/ with a glottal stop. What about it appearing before the words starting with vowels, for example, "I can't afford that car." Is it "canafford" or "cantafford"?

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    The simple answer: yes, it’s ‘canafford’ or ‘cantafford’. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 2 at 9:43
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    There is no simple answer. If I do not articulate the "t", the vowel in "can" changes. It moves closer to "e" than "a". This varies from person to person. In extremes, it becomes "I cane affordit' (I can't afford it). Losing the "t" will almost always shift the vowel even if the speaker and listener are not conscious of it. English ain't simple. Speakers of American English often retain some older mechanisms of speech that aren't obvious. – J. Taylor Jan 2 at 11:08
  • @J.Taylor Does that also explain the origin of "ain't"? – Barmar Jan 2 at 17:40
  • @ Barmar I have no evidence trail to prove the origin of "ain't". One could guess, but I think I will not. One clue might be "you ane gotit?"(you have not got it?"). that is maybe not ("you ain't got it?"). I know those who would say "you ane gotit?" that would never say "ain't".. – J. Taylor Jan 2 at 19:47
  • A glottal stop to me is a Cockney/Mockney pronunciation of button or glitter, not just a garden variety stop like b,d,g,p,t,k, yet I see this glottal terminology all over the internet. I do the usual flapped t in can't afford it or in hurried speech drop it all together, as in the t in international. That elision does nothing to the vowel. – KarlG Jan 3 at 2:31

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