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Is there any rule to know whether I should pronounce the "O" as an "a:" or reduce it to schwa? Like in Spot, contact and context the "o" is pronounced as a long "a." And in connection, contemporary and confuse the "O" is reduced to schwa. So, are there any rules for that, because god knows this is too hard to recognize on my own especially if I'm reading an article, a book or a textbook.

I usually check my dictionary and I definitely listen to how Americans pronounce words, so I can automatically pronounce these words correctly by myself without the need for checking my dictionary.

Thanks.
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Syllabification and phonotactics play a major role in coming up with good heuristics. Stress attracts coda and onset consonants, as long as they dont violate phonotatics.

o in closed syllables = POT vowel

pos-'ter-i-ty (aspirated t) > po-ster-i-ty (unaspirated t)

,con-ti-'nu-i-ty stressed
ab-'scond stressed
'trop-ic (stress attracts p)
a-,ccom-a-'date stressed o
'comm-on first stressed o, next unstressed o

o in open syllables, either UH or OH. Both sounds are possible when unstressed. OH is possible when stressed

,men-do-'ci-no both unstressed UH, unstressed OH

a-'mmo-ni-a > a-'mmo-nia (smoothing) stressed OH

'no-tion stressed OH

no-'vem-ber unstressed OH
'no-va stressed OH

2 syllable words starting with con/com: here, you hear schwa

comfort, compile, combust, combine, compare, complain, complete, compell, compute, compress,
confuse, continue, concede, concoct

Concord, CA: here, it is CON-curd.
The letter "o" in English tradspel (traditional spelling) is completely mixed up. For instance the words - on,off,of,to,go,word,for - all have different sounds for the letter "o". In truespel phonetics Emotion: movie they would be ~aan,~auf,~uv,~tue,~goe,~werd,~for. To see US English pronuciation use the converter in truespel.com. Truespel is the only English based phonetic notation suitable as a pronunciaton guide. Another good thing the converter can show is ending "s" for plurals as ~s or ~z. Mostly it's ~z.

On pronouncing "o", I see from your examples that in stressed position it's the "ah" sound ~aa (as you say long a, but I would not call it that). In the unstressed position it's "uh" ~u, which is the most common sound expressed by a lone "o" as in "of" ~uv.

Tom Zurinskas, creator of truespel phonetics
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
raindoctorpos-'ter-i-ty (aspirated t)
Hmm. I've never heard this one. Interesting.
raindoctorphonotactics
When you get the time, maybe you could write a little more on this topic. I think our forum members would find it useful. And I'm curious as well.

CJ
CalifJim
raindoctorpos-'ter-i-ty (aspirated t)
Hmm. I've never heard this one. Interesting.
raindoctorphonotactics
When you get the time, maybe you could write a little more on this topic. I think our forum members would find it useful. And I'm curious as well.CJ
I will do it when I have time. The ideas are from Charles-James Bailey's theory of syllable. His "Gradience in English syallabization and a revised concept of syllabization", a 50 page manuscript published by Indian University Linguistic Club, contains the elaborate discussion on the evidence for his hypotheses (of course, he calls them principles; but they are not normative statements, rather like principles one hear in physics to explain phenomena).

There are dominant conceptualizations of syllable: (a) sonority hiearachy; (b) phonotactics. Sonority hierarchy is the key for maximum onset principle (or for the clustering of syllables in the onset of a syllable). Phonotactics, on the other hand, is a set of principles based on observing English words for the question: what consonants are permitted in the onset, what in the coda, of a syllable?

One can say that sonority hierarchy is a deeper explanation for phonotactics. But I don't wanna go that route, because that hierarchy doesn't do the all explonatory job required for phonotactics.

However, either (a) or (b) doesn't explain how to syllabify a word, and in various tempos (registers). The popular slogan goes like this: maximal onset (allow the maximally possible consonant cluster in the onset);minimal coda (allow the minimally possible consonant cluster in the coda). This slogan can explain phonologically monosyllable words.

How about polysyllabic words? How to split a consonant cluster between the coda and the onset of successive syllables? This is where Bailey's principles step in: stress and tempo. A word can have different syllabifications based on the tempo. Stress dictates how to split a consonant cluster between a stressed nucleus and an unstressed nucleus. Usually, the stressed nucleus (vowel) attracts consonants in both onset and coda positions; but this is a bland characterization. For more, when I have time, I will condense Bailey's evidence and his 3 principles of syllabization.
what is phonotactics?
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examples pls..
raindoctorThe ideas are from Charles-James Bailey's theory of syllable. ...
Thanks.

CJ
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