§ 120. The weak vowels are:
I. ï : lady, receive.
II. li : vah<e.
III. o : fellow, borough.
IV. 9 : father, dollar.
In § 122 we shall see what sounds become ï or u or o or 9. Here we may observe that of the four the most important is 3. All four weak vowels require little exertion on the speaker's part, but 9 less than any of the others, and for that reason most unstrest vowels show a tendency to pass into the p-sound1). What is more, uneducated, careless, lazy speakers very often allow even u and o to become 3, as when they pronounce
value = veel'ys.
window = win'd9.
This is a practise against which the student should
be on his guard.
A mistake often made by Dutch students is the 3 sound in such words as:
lady = lë'ds.
No Englishman ever pronounces this t as 3 !
§ 121. The fate of an unstrest vowel largely depends on two circumstances:
i) cf: swffice, confirmation, beggac, gentlemnn, gentlemen figure, sailor. all becoming 3.