The difference isn't huge and doesn't seem to have been a factor anyway. The sentence replacement is most revealing.Moonbear said:I don't see the distinction you're making here. I don't know of any additional meaning to the second list other than "not (blank)."
For example: The police force was mobilized. The police force was not mobilized. The police force was immobilized.
I at least notice three options - set into motion (moved), not set into motion (didn't move), impeded from motion (couldn't move).
Yes, interesting, I can see elision working for words beginning with r, m, and l, because the ir-, im-, and il- still sound like they're there. But for p, it would just be ip, as in tip - unless it wasn't a total elision. Not that I'm challenging what you said - just speculating, because there's actually some cool things going on in this case. Three main factors in producing sounds are position, air flow, and voice. Position: m and p are both bilabials - your lips are closed and your tongue rests flat. n is an alveolar - your tongue touches the ridge behind your upper teeth.There are cases where pronunciation of an "n" in front of the following consonant is troublesome, and then I'd choose a different prefix, but when presented with the choices of only "un-" or "in-", neither resolves that problem of pronunciation, so in part A, I wound up choosing "in-" in a few cases because at least the vowel sound "i" was more similar to the actual word familiar to me, I think because the "i" as the starting sound allows me to more easily use ellision to soften the "n" sound and skip straight to the consonant starting the root word. When I pronounce "un-", the sound of the "n" is very defined, and when I pronounce "in-", I don't enunciate the "n" much at all (so "imprecise" and "inprecise" both sound nearly the same in my pronunciation...someone who is a non-native speaker would have trouble understanding what word I just said, but saying "unprecise" would require a distinct pause between "un-" and "precise" for me to fully enunciate the "n" and switch to the "p").
Air Flow: m and n are both nasals - air flows through your nasal cavity. p is a plosive - air builds behind your lips and is released.
Voice: m, n, and i (as in tin) are all voiced - your vocal chords vibrate. p is voiceless - vocal chords don't vibrate.
Now, a person could try to intentionally drop the n by not positioning their mouth/tongue correctly but still unintentionally use the correct air flow (presumably, from habit). Since m is the combination of n's air flow, p's position, and i's voice, you end up saying m (even if you don't voice n)! Am I the only one who thinks that's cool?
Anywho, did you prefer dropping the n always, or just when dropping the n formed a familiar word?
Thanks, I'll try that.I think you should try breaking down the responses between the two (and other English dialects...Australian, other country); I don't know if they will turn out different, but it's possible since I notice at least some British dialects very distinctly enunciate every single consonant in a word, whereas American dialects tend to be more sloppy about consonants and vary more in the pronunciation of vowels.