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.

SF WF Example
me miː mi Tell me
you juː ju

also: jə

You ate it?

You want to come?

he hiː (h)i What he says is true
him hɪm (h)ɪm You don’t know him
his hɪz (h)ɪz Is that his address?
she ʃiː ʃi She reads a lot
her hɜr (h)ər That’s her husband
we wiː wi We know
us ʌs əs

(let us: /lɛts/

It shouldn’t worry us
them ðɛm (ð)əm Tell them
their ðɛr (ð)ər

(before V only)

Their own fault

The SFs of these pronouns are used when they are accented. In unaccented positions it is normal to find WFs. Some speakers avoid the form /əm/ or /ðəm / for them, and use the SF. Note:

  1. /h/ is usually pronounced when a pause precedes, while in other positions it is usually left out: He likes her /hi ˈlaɪks ər/;
  2. some, that and who are gradation words in certain functions only:
    • some when it is equivalent to Dutch ‘wat‘. Some /səm/ cheese, some /səm/ chairs. The SF /səm/ is used when some is accented, but also when it occurs finally, as in I’d like some /aɪd ˈlaɪk sʌm/. When some is equivalent to Dutch een of andere, enige, sommige it is always /sʌm/: some /sʌm/ woman or other, with some /sʌm/ difficulty, some /sʌm/ chairs are a bit wobbly. Also the adverb is always /sʌm/: some /sʌm/ ten years ago.
    • that when it is a relative (betrekkelijk) pronoun or when it is a conjunction: I remember the horse that /ðət/ finished second, I remember that /ðət/ he had a limp. Also as in His excuse, that he’d missed the train, was not accepted. When it is a demonstrative (aanwijzend) pronoun, as in I like that blue one or an adverb, as in It isn’t all that difficult, it is always /ðæt/.
    • who is a gradation word when it is a relative pronoun. I know the man who /(h)u/ said this. When it is an interrogative (vragend) pronoun, it is always /huː/: Who /huː/ said this?