Tag Archives: American Broadcast English

Language Alert: dih’int, wuhd’int

That would be didn’t and wouldn’t. Where the contraction “n’t” traditionally silenced the sound of the vowel “o”, there is now a clearly audible “i” (or “e”).

And the ‘n’ is now much sharper and separate – try pronouncing the two versions yourself and pay attention to the lip formations that accompany the sounds. They’re quite different.

I started hearing this among high school girls Рnot boys, just girls (?) Рabout ten years ago. Then I began hearing it in young adults and now . . .

I have¬†not heard it from people who have a southern accent (any ideas why?); it seems to occur among speakers of what used to be called “American Broadcast English” and those with New York/New Jersey accents.