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I was listening to an audio file in the Internet and have noticed that eventhough the standard rule is that the article "the" is pronounced like "Di" and not "thu" of "thus" when it is in front of a vowel-sounding word, I am pretty sure that I heard the speaker of that file making the "Di" sound when the determiners are in front of vowel-sounding words. Why is that?

Help.

The sentences I heard the speaker making the "Di" sound.

The older will serve the younger.

... and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.
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It is not a rule, it is a matter of the physics of vocalization. Some speakers will display those characteristics and others will not.
Thank you, Mister M.

Is it right to say a properly (or well) learned person will display his or her knowledge of THAT matter of the physics of vocalization and use it at all times without exception, including those who are very, very proficient in the English language and native speakers?

If I am right, how come the speaker in that website who are obviously was chosen for his known proficiency in the English language did not follow the path that would exhibit finer nuance of his fluency?
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Well, the word "one" doesn't begin with a vowel sound, so "the" is pronounced with a schwa, rather than a hard "e" like the word "he."

Anonymous
Is it right to say a properly (or well) learned person will display his or her knowledge of THAT matter of the physics of vocalization and use it at all times without exception, including those who are very, very proficient in the English language and native speakers?


No. Like Mister Micawber said, the pronunciation in this particular case isn't a matter of rules, but is simply one of the physics of speech production. Basically, it's "easier" to pronounce "the" with the hard "e" rather than the schwa when it comes before a vowel sound, and as such, most people pronounce it this way; however, it's not necessarily true that everyone does this, and it is not wrong, nor even noticed by native speakers when pronounced this way.
It is correct to use Di before older, not before one. (one is pronounced as won, so it does not start with a vowel sound.)

CJ
Is it right to say a properly (or well) learned person will display his or her knowledge of THAT matter of the physics of vocalization and use it at all times without exception, including those who are very, very proficient in the English language and native speakers?
Just to pursue this a bit: it is not a premeditated, conscious decision on the part of an ENL, Believer-- the normal use of /thi:/ and /th*/ just 'comes out'. On occasion, if a native speaker notices that he has said 'the other day' as /th ^ th * r 'dei/-- (^ = inverted V; * = schwa)-- he may feel that he should improve his enunciation for the benefit of the listener(s), and repeat it as /thi: ^ th * r 'dei/.

I suspect, however, that proficient EFLs (who are trying to remember this 'rule' along with half a million other rules) will carefully select their /thi:/s and /th * /s.
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Thank you.

Let me ask you one direct question that could help to settle my confusion. This might be a "Yes or No" question but you are welcome to expand your explanation.

Does a native speaker have an option that can be exercised freely on the aspect of whether or not to display those chracteristics of the physics of vocalization as he/she seemed fit regardless which sound, a vowel or a consonant, the words he/she has produce initially?

In other words, eventhough it will be hard to swallow this, it really doesn't matter whether to pronounce with a hard "e" or a schewa when one is pronouncing the determiner "the" in front of the word with an initial vowel sound because it will be up to him at the moment of his speaking to decide when and how he will make the sound of the determiner "the."
Part of your confusion may have come from the odd realization of my phonetic marks in the previous post. I have fixed them so that they are now legible (I hope).

To answer your question (as best I can, as the sound production and the nervous system is really out of my range of expertise): the physics flows on; the native speaker of a language is not consciously monitoring production, but meaning. S/he can, however, be set aback by feedback-- either misproduction noted in passing (by a stumbling tongue or excessive salivation, perhaps) or listener reaction (e.g. confirmation requests).
The point that we've been trying to make is that the pronunciation by a native speaker in this case is not a conscious decision (or a decision at all). While it is acceptable (some might debate this) to pronounce it with a schwa, I think that for your purposes and all English learners, it's best to just pronounce "the" with the hard "e" sound when it comes before a word that begins with a vowel sound (be careful though, because not every word that begins with a vowel has an initial vowel sound, as in "one"), as most people pronounce it this way most of the time.
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