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Thread: Is there any "play of words"?

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    Is there any "play of words"?

    Today I met this article in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...n-indian-woman
    Let's listen the video at 0:20. It seems to me what woman have said "mr. sucker..." but immidiately have made correction to "mr. secretary". Am I right or do I lack listen skills?

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    It looks like you're right.
    I do not claim that my opinion is absolutely true.
    If you've spotted any mistake in my English, please, correct it. I want to be aware of any mistakes to efficiently eliminate them before they become a habit.

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    Почтенный гражданин xXHoax's Avatar
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    Sure. It's not impossible.

    скорее всего she was just saying the "secr-" out of secretary, and for some reason she felt the need to restart the phrase.

    It definitely sounded like "Sucker" because this woman's accent (at least at the time she said all this) pronounces the "u" in sucker similarly to the "e" in secretary. These kinds of really minute differences in vowels are common between English accents. The Eastern U.S. has a lot of them (state to state), and Great Britain has a massive amount (city by city). I'd call it something like a "micro accent" because honestly not many people would be able to notice any specific difference in her speech from other speakers. For instance, she's also pronouncing her 's' more... Sharply... Than normal. It's a more "feminine" way of speaking. Again, it's not a common, or outrightly obvious thing. Plus it could just be her mood... She is, you know... Yelling at a dude.

    Native speakers wouldn't really notice that she said it that way, because one's understanding of each individual vowel (unknowingly) gets put into the context of how the speaker pronounces altogether. That is to say, if you took her pronunciation of "secretary" and had me say just that word exactly how she said it, it would seem a bit more out of place in the sentence as a whole.

    That's why English speakers notice (and don't like it) when a person pronounces only one word differently (pillow, pen, both) than themselves, but when the person speaks an *obviously* different accent (Scottish, Southern U.S.), then they recognize the whole situation.
    Alex80 likes this.
    "В тёмные времена хорошо видно светлых людей."
    - A quote, that only exists in Russian. Erich Maria Remarque

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    Quote Originally Posted by xXHoax View Post
    ...
    Thanks! Let me ask for one more detail: if this woman while talking with her accent have to say "sucker" - will it sound exactly like she had said in the video or will there be difference?

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    For the most part, similar, except the way she said it in the video doesn't give each syllable the same lengths that the word sucker would have.

    Usually the accents have a subtle cascade effect. For example, her e in secretary might sound a bit more like a "standard accent" u in sucker, whilst the u in sucker, for her, would move as well, getting dropped lower or maybe given more emphasis. All depends.
    Alex80 likes this.
    "В тёмные времена хорошо видно светлых людей."
    - A quote, that only exists in Russian. Erich Maria Remarque

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