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I have this sentence

I have come here to chew ... etc

I know that the to in that sentence is pronounced as da in American accent.

my question is, is the to is also pronounce as da in this sentence

I have come here to study ... etc

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    It is not pronounced as "da" in most American accents. The syllable would be spoken close to "ti" and the phrase t' study in my section of the country, the northeast. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 18 '15 at 14:10
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    @TRomano what is that website you gave me please? it sounds interesting, but i couldn't know how to work with it – Marco Dinatsoli Mar 18 '15 at 14:25
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    Listen to him when he's speaking normally, not when he's exaggerating for your supposed benefit. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 18 '15 at 14:37
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    I'll go out on a limb and say that eliding the 'to' with the previous word (hereduh chew) is typical of a kind of rough street talk (I'm hereduh kick your ass, muthafucka) whereas connecting 'to' to the bare infinitive is typical of a more normal register (I'm here t'see Mr Jones about a summer internship). I think the ESL teacher is getting into playing the role of the person in the movie. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 18 '15 at 14:43
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    @Marco - I'd suggest you find some old episodes of Frasier & spot the difference in how the main characters speak compared to this example. They use a 'highly-educated' form of American {I don't know the equivalent US term for Received Pronunciation]. Frasier is a US TV comedy show [very funny actually] - it ran for years & there's a lot of it on YouTube. The rest of my sentence was 'spot the difference' between the accents – gone fishin' again. Mar 18 '15 at 14:47
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As a native American Speaker, hopefully I can clarify a little bit. The first thing you need to understand is American Accents vary a lot, with the biggest factors being location, class and to a lesser extent race.

With location, I'd say their are 3-4 different accents, and the a couple of city-specific accents. There is a southern accent (has a distinctive drawl, more likely to say words like "ya'll" [you-all]), mid-west (which I don't think I could explain, as this is my accent), east-coast (sounds a little bit more formal to my ear) and big city (sounds very rushed and hurried). Some city specific accents are "The Brooklyn Accent" (The main character or this TV show has a great example of the stereotypical Brooklyn accent, which has a strong connotation with The Mafia) and "The Boston Accent" (There is a joke that if you say "I lost my khakis" it means you are lost your pants, but if you say it in Boston, it means you lost your "Car keys").

The other big distinction in American Accent is formality and class. An upper-class American is more likely to speak formally all the time, a middle-class American will occasionally speak formally, and occasionally informally, and a lower-class American will speak informally most if not all of the time. When speaking informally, "to" often becomes fused with the previous word.

Do you want to build a snowman?

becomes

Do you wanna build a snowman?


Are you going to get me my money?

becomes

Are you gonna get me my money?

Although keep in mind, you would never ever hear someone say

I'm gonna the store.

even in very informal speech, although you could hear

I'm gonna go to the store.

This "To" contraction only works with certain words, like going and want. I can't think of any other words this works with right now.

To will frequently be pronounced "duh" when the speaker is "Thuggish", lower-class, or from the south. (That last sentence sounds like I'm poking fun at people from the south, that was not my point. I have no animosity towards those from the south.)

I'll go out on a limb and say that eliding the 'to' with the previous word (hereduh chew) is typical of a kind of rough street talk (I'm hereduh kick your ass, muthafucka) whereas connecting 'to' to the bare infinitive is typical of a more normal register (I'm here t'see Mr Jones about a summer internship). I think the ESL teacher is getting into playing the role of the person in the movie. - TRomano

In American films and TV, a stereotypical way to indicate that the speaker is somewhere on the oafish continuum is to de-dentalize: t becomes d; d becomes a very muddy d with far too much tongue pressed up against the roof of the mouth, and even that muddy d can be further de-dentalized with a slack jaw. – TRomano

I agree with @TRomano here, but I have two little thoughts. First, I think that with a rough street talk, the "th" in "muthaf*cka" would be a 'd' sound, so "I'm hereda kick your ass muddaf*cka!" is a more likely pronunciation.

Second, I disagree with what he said about how to pronounce "I'm here t'see Mr Jones about a summer internship". This is likely a difference in location (TRomano said he is from the northeast, whereas I am from the midwest) and formality. I have noticed that east-coast tends to sound more educated and formal. If I were to say this sentence in real life, I would say "I'm here to (too) see Mr Jones about a summer internship."

| improve this answer | |
  • Midwestern is somewhat nasal, and tends to emphasize certain vowels. – GalacticCowboy Apr 17 '15 at 19:30
  • Also, the Boston accent joke I've heard was the woman who kept asking if her companion had "PSDS". It took some time for the companion to realize she was asking if she had pierced ears. – GalacticCowboy Apr 17 '15 at 19:32

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