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Can and can't Options
Barely literate
Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014 6:00:14 AM

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I wonder how you distinguish between 'can' and 'can't' if anyone(especially when the native speakers) uses them. I find it very difficult.

thar
Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014 6:12:28 AM

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Answer not to be taken too seriously Whistle

1 Listen to BE southern speakers - the difference is can vs carnt

2 Listen to Scottish speakers, the difference is can vs cannae.

3 Grow up in America. Seriously, in some American accents I cannot tell the difference. The 't' is so soft it disappears and the 'a' is the same sound. It can get a bit confusing during a dramatic scene in a TV show when you have no idea whether the character has said they 'keyan' [can] something or 'keyan' [can't] something. It normally becomes clear very quickly in context.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014 7:44:38 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Northern English is the same as thar says for southern.

'can' is /kæn/ as in 'cat' /kæn/

'can't' is /kɑ:nt/ as in 'father' /fɑ:ðɜ:ʳ/

I think you will find it is the American pronuncuation /kænt/ which is indistinguishable.
Alice M Toaster
Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014 8:04:02 AM

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It's a subtle difference, and it never occurred to me how indistinguishable the two words are. As I sit here saying them aloud to myself, I can see how they sound the same.
The only physical difference that I can tell is that the tongue hits the top of the mouth just behind the teeth a bit harder for "can't" than for "can."
Writer Forum
Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014 8:09:17 AM

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I almost every time ask them, "Did you say 'Can not' or 'Can'". They never disappoint me, and I enjoy the conversation.
Barely literate
Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014 10:01:05 AM

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Writer Forum wrote:
I almost every time ask them, "Did you say 'Can not' or 'Can'". They never disappoint me, and I enjoy the conversation.


lucky man with very good Samaritans
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