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I just realized whenever I pronounce the word "might" in the middle of a sentence in fast speech it sounds like "my" (e.g., I my do it), whereas I only really pronounce it as "mite" when it is at the end of a sentence or if I am being overly conscious about my pronunciation.

Does this happen to native speakers? Is it something that would be too obvious and grab your attention when hearing it? Does it make me sound like an idiot or something?

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  • When does it come at the end? And when does it come in the middle? You might consider giving us some examples.
    – Lambie
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:10
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    @Lambie At the end of a sentence is bc I commonly omit the verb when answering a question, so for instance "will you do it?", to which I answer "I might", or when it is not really at the end but I make a pause before continuing. In the middle of the phrase I reckon after reading the comments on Void's answer that I do pronounce mighta for "might have", in other cases idk, I feel like I may or may not pronounce it with the "glottal stop" the thing is the difference is too subtle for me to tell, but yeah, things like "I might be able" etc I believe sound like "I my be able" when I pronounce it.
    – Delta
    Apr 24, 2021 at 18:06
  • "I might" usually has an hearable t. And I was the one who suggested mighta for might have gone, seen, done etc.
    – Lambie
    Apr 24, 2021 at 18:13
  • @Lambie, yeah, at the end of sentences is when I pronounce it as "mite".
    – Delta
    Apr 24, 2021 at 18:14
  • For your information, all this comes under the heading of Connected Speech.
    – Lambie
    Apr 24, 2021 at 18:39

1 Answer 1

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Auxiliary verbs and modal auxiliaries are highly prone to elision/deletion and simplification. For example, very few people would pronounce the auxiliary have as [hæv] in colloquial speech; it's almost always pronounced [əv] (‘of’) that's why most people write ‘would have’ as ‘would of’ (i.e. they sound identical).

A considerable number of native speakers usually pronounce ‘might’ with a glottal stop instead of a true ‘t’ at the end: [maɪʔ]. However, when it precedes a word starting with a ‘t’ or a ‘d’ then most native speakers merge the terminal consonant (glottal stop or /t/) with the following ‘t/d’ and prolong ‘t’. That's long ‘t’ is what's called a geminate ‘T’.

The t/d sounds are made by blocking the air completely at the ridge just above the top teeth and then releasing it. When you say ‘time’ you'll see that while articulating the ‘t’, the air is blocked at first and then released. In phrases like ‘I might do/take...’, we have two adjacent T's and two releases are expected, but in colloquial speech, most speakers only have one release i.e. the first ‘t’ is unreleased and the second is fully released: might[t̚tʰ]ake1 ('might take'). (Gemination of plosives/stops has been explained at Newcastle's University's website). In other words, the t is held a bit longer. Most people just put a glottal stop there, so I might do it might be pronounced I migh[ʔ d]o it ([ʔ] is a glottal stop).

TL;DR I might do it and I my do it are pronounced considerably differently in colloquial speech.


1. [t̚] is an unreleased ‘t’, meaning the blocked air is held and not released. [tʰ] on the other hand is released (and aspirated: the superscript h represents aspiration)

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  • Often, might is migtha. I mighta done it.
    – Lambie
    Apr 24, 2021 at 15:32
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    @Lambie: What's the point that you're trying to make? Your comment makes no sense to me. 'Might' is never mighta, it's ‘might have' that's sometimes pronounced mighta.
    – Void
    Apr 24, 2021 at 15:33
  • You can write it phonetically. The word might is often pronounced might+ ah. In fast speech, might have becomes mighta and if that makes no sense, how can you possibly answer this question?? Surely, you know this, don't you?
    – Lambie
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:02
  • I did not downvote your answer. There is no downvote on your answer, as of this comment. Of course, "might have" as in "might have done it" is spoken fast as: I mightah done it. I mightah gone. I mightah seen ya. Etc. etc. phonetic transcription: maɪta.
    – Lambie
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:25
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    @Lambie Clearly some people (perhaps the vast majority of speakers in North America) pronounce "might have" as "mighta", but I struggle to see the relevance of that to the OP's question, which is about whether people pronounce the /t/ - and the "t" is clearly present in "mighta", although it may well be voiced or flapped as "t"s often are in most American accents. The OP's question isn't about how "might have" is pronounced - it's rather about whether the "t" goes missing in phrases like "I might do it".
    – rjpond
    Apr 24, 2021 at 17:00

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