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Pronouncing "high school"
I pronounce the "high" of "high school" as distinct from the word "high" in isolation. Do you?
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I confess that when I say the phrase high school, I pronounce the word high with a reduced vowel /hʌɪ/ instead of /hɑɪ/. It feels wrong to me to pronounce the phrase with high articulated as /hɑɪ/. In isolation, high /hɑɪ/ might rhyme with why /wɑɪ/. In high school /hʌɪskuːl/, the vowels I make sound like ice cool /ʌɪskuːl/.

I hear lots of people say high school with a fully articulated high /hɑɪskuːl/, and it generally sounds fine to me. But I don’t do that. I really can’t bring myself to do it.

Anyone else?

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I vaguely feel like ‘high school’ sounds ‘reduced’ like you indicated, and can’t be sure how often or even how distinct, and even so from the same person.
What about ‘Jesse is high’ as in Breaking Bad? I guess it is also ‘reduced,’ not same as in ‘sky high’ ?
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Of course, when I say it now I’m self-conscious, and it’s a bit hard to know what’s “normal,” but as it happens, I’ve noticed this in myself before. I seem to say the phrase as a single word, with a heavily stressed, extremely short first syllable. Right with you, I think, Glenn.

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