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Confused, perplexed, irritated? -ed ain't so EZ

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statement of problem: teaching the old /t,d,id/ pronunciation is fine as far as it goes, but it consistently only occurs in one phonetic environment, namely utterance- or sentence-final position, i.e. when we stop speaking. In other phonetic environments the /t/ may be pronounced /d/ before a vowel (especially in North American and Irish English), the -ed may be totally elided (disappeared)if it occurs before another stop consonant, especially /p,b,m,t,d,k,g/ or any other consonant, and -ed before /y/ often changes to /tsh/ or /dzh/ (sorry, I don't have phonetic alphabet). What to do: essentiallly, you have to teach four rules: 1) the traditional one, with sentence-final examples, e.g. the answer to "What did he do?" - He walked, hopped, dreamed, called, waited, etc. - one added ingredient with the voiced /d/ ending is that vowel-lengthening also occurs sentence-finally; 2) -ed followed by vowel, where the /t/ is often pronounced /d/, e.g. He walked in, called out, started up, etc.; 3) -ed followed by stop consonants where elision occurs, e.g. He walked down there, called to me, waited through the meeting,etc.; and 4) /t,d/ plus /y/, e.g. He caught you, called you (as you can see from "caught you", it's ANY form ending in /t,d/ that these usually rules apply to). Although all this might seem a bit long-winded and potentially confusing for the student, I would claim that, even if the student can't do it too well, at least s/he has been sensitized to what native speakers actually do in real life. Surely that's what we ahve to aim students towards. Hope you like the recipe, John Adams, ITESM, Queretaro City, Mexico.

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