20

I've wonder that in some sentences, or words, even though phonetically you don't have a 'W' sound, you can still hear some type of extra w' sound. So for example.

The phrase: "Do it". /du ɪt/ will sound more like /du wɪt/

same with the verb= "doing" ˈduɪŋ becomes /ˈduwɪŋ/. Am I crazy?

Hope you can help me!

  • 4
    When I was coaching accent we called it liaison. – Cascabel Jan 26 at 18:54
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    It's known as an Elmer Fudd accent. (That's a joke, son. A joke!) – Hot Licks Jan 27 at 22:16
29

This is a so-called “linking semivowel”. It’s typically not perceived as being as strong a sound as “original” syllable-initial /w/, so some linguists don’t like to transcribe it (see this blog post by the phonetician John Wells).

The difference could be compared to the more drastic difference between the pronunciation of /p/ in “keep it” vs. “key pit”; the general principle is that consonants that come at the start of a word, or at the start of a stressed syllable at the word level, are “stronger” than other consonants.

“Linking semivowels” occur after “tense” high vowels or diphthongs ending in a high element; linking “w” occurs after vowels/diphthongs ending in a high back component and linking “j” occurs after vowels/diphthongs ending in a high front component.

Sometimes “linking semivowels” are written with superscript letters, although this is not consistent with the official IPA usage of superscript letters.

  • You truly are an expert in linguistics, aren't you? Thanks for the reply! :). You're always there to help! – Carlos Fernandez Jan 26 at 19:21
  • I think a contributing factor may be that many dialects pronounce the GOOSE vowel as a falling diphthong such as [ʉu̯] to begin with. – Mark Beadles Jan 26 at 19:29
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    @MarkBeadles The same thing happens, mutatis mutandis, with say it [ˈsejɪt] and higher [ˈhajəɹ] and co-wed [ˈkʰowɛd], but whether those respectively differ from sate, hire, coed will depend in each case on the speaker and utterance. The pivotal ambisyllabic glide simultaneously acts both as a semi-vowel to create a falling diphthong on the first syllable and also as a semi-consonant to create a rising diphthong on the second syllable. It’s not really possible to say that the glide belongs to either syllable to the exclusion of the other; it does double duty here. – tchrist Jan 26 at 19:47
  • I've heard it'll also depend on how fast they're speaking. If they're speaking really fast, it's possible they'll add that extra "w" sound, or that extra "y" sound. So, yea, I do have heard some speakers saying "I'll do anything" with a W, sometimes not, guess you're right about the speaker. Though, phrases like "DO IT" have it all the time, it's weird. – Carlos Fernandez Jan 26 at 19:57
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    @CarlosFernandez That’s because the only way to say do it without a glide between the two is to introduce a glottal stop between the two words so that the glottis isn’t making any sound connecting the two and you can move to the second without letting the rounding leak through. This is quite unnatural in ordinary speech, coming off like two different sentences with a full stop between them: “Do. It.” That’s because /u/ is always a rounded sound in English. But compare English No ace with Spanish No es; only the English one has all that much of an extra /w/ sound; Spanish doesn’t. – tchrist Jan 26 at 19:59
0

I'm not quite able to notice the sounds you mention as a 'w', except, at some level, all a 'w' is is a fast transition to or from an /u/ vowel. If you say the word "wow" very slowly and drawn out, you'll see it starts with a vowel sound, and it's the transitions between the vowels that form the 'w's.

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