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|Subject:||Technical Term for a Change of Vowel Sound?|
|Question:||I'm having a hard time identifying the technical term for the change to the sounding of the ''e'' vowel in the English definite article ''the'' when the next word begins with a vowel. When the next word begins with a consonant, people in my area typically sound the definite article as ''thuh.'' When the next word begins with a vowel, they typically sound it as ''thee.'' Thuh book Thee essay Thuh camel Thee aardvark In linguistics, what is the technical term for that change? Thank you, Paul Schlicher Yardley, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Reply:||One could also say that for the case in which the definite article is followed by a word initial vowel, the allomorph has a tensed vowel. For the case in which it is followed by a word initial consonant, the allomorph is unstressed and has an unstressed vowel. Note, too, that the allomorphy is based not on spelling but on sound, e.g,. the (tensed) hour; the (unstressed) one.|
|Reply From:||Marilyn N Silva click here to access email|