American English Phonetics

Another American English Faculty Project

The second column gives the SF, the third the WF, and the fourth column gives an illustration of the use of the WF.

The WFs of the auxiliaries have, will, and be (present tense, both as an auxiliary and as a copula (koppelwerkwoord)) are usually contracted with the pronominal form of the subject when this precedes. The word there, equivalent to Dutch er, also commonly contracts with these verbs, and has therefore been included in the table. Note that weak /i/ in these forms could also be transcribed /ɪ/, there being no opposition here.

be have hard or would will
I aɪm aɪv aɪd aɪl
you jər juv jud jəl
he hiz hiz hid hil
she ʃiz ʃiz ʃid ʃil
it ɪts ɪts ɪt̬əd ɪt̬l
there (sg) ðərz ðərz ðərd ðərl
there (pl) ðərər ðərv ðərd ðərl
we wɪr wiv wid wil
they ðɛr ðeɪv ðeɪd ðɛl

In informal writing the following spellings occur for these contracted auxiliaries: (I)’m, (you)’re, (he)’s, (I)’ve, (I)’d and (I)’ll. These auxiliary WFs, which consist of a single consonant, typically only occur after a pronominal subject, as in the table above. In other situations, the longer WFs of these auxiliaries are more usual. However, it should be noted that:

  • /s,z/ for has, too, may occur after other words (The form /s/ occurs after /p,t,k,f,θ/, /ɪz/ after /s,z,ʃ,ʒ/, and /z/ elsewhere):

The book has /bʊks/ or /ˈbʊkəz/ been reprinted

Mary has /ˈmɛri(ə)z/ done it

Madge has /ˈmæd͡ʒəz/ given it up

  • /l/ for will is also used more freely, especially when it is syllabic The others will /ˈʌðərzl/ finish it.

In the table below the longer WFs of these auxiliaries are given.

  SF longer WF Example
am æm əm So am I
has hæz (h)əz Neither has /niːðərəz/ Eric
have hæv (h)əv Tom and Mary have moved
had hæd (h)əd Where had they put it?
would wʊd (w)əd Matthew would do it
will wɪl (w)əl Peter will tell you