Originally Posted by Rusty
Quite an accent, I might add. 'Is' is never pronounced with an 's' sound and we never pronounce 'what' like 'watt'.
Here is how it's said in many places in America: /wət ɪz/
Originally Posted by pjt33
They're homophones in my dialect. But I can't think of any dialect which replaces the stop in what with a flap (which I assume whar is supposed to indicate). Some might elide it completely and make what's and was homophones.
In many North American varieties it is common to pronounce intervocalic /t/
as a voiced flap, especially when the preceding vowel is
stressed and the following vowel is
unstressed. Common homonym pairs include "latter"/"ladder" and "waiter"/"wader".
The same thing may or may not occur across word boundaries. For example, when I speak more carefully I typically use a glottal stop before the initial vowel of a word: that's how I render the pronunciation that Rusty gives as /wət ɪz/
. However, when I speak more casually I may omit the glottal stop and render the /t/
as a voiced flap. Of course, I'm also just as likely to abbreviate "what is" to "what's" and say /wəts/