February 28, 2015

What you see is what you hear

Recently LL rss feed brought up a post on 'epenthesis' by Ben Smith, illustrating a number of issues on the phonotactic rules indicating permissible strings of phonemes in Irish dialects. 

I find this video, something made just for fun, is also  having a  few serious linguistic issues which are of  dialect specific phonotactic rules in which the epentheses work.    

What comes to think of in these also is the post brought by John Wells on 'ooh!' some months ago:
Students of phonetics in Britain have to learn to recognize the Cardinal Vowels established by Daniel Jones: at least the primaries (i e ɛ a ɑ ɔ o u) and four of the secondaries, namely y ø œ ɯ. Masters’ students have to learn not only to recognize them but to produce them, too. 

And i added this comment:
And English phonetics too happens to have the limited use or the large gap in its parallel orthography, like for expressing the variants of the ‘ooh’, for example. I found it difficult to transcribe the universal natural semantics of various expressions of ‘ooh’ as in (is that right?), (it’s hurt), (it’s a bad sensation), (it’s surprising), and so on.
But by the time L1 children are entering to formal schooling, their being happens to have already acquired the fluent pronunciations of all these differences just as well most words of dally uses. Interestingly my first boss too, like the norms of all the bosses of the village in those days (who couldn’t usually read and write) not only speaks error less phonetics but also speaks with all the eight cases according to the Tamil grammar and its phonotactic realization in accordance with their synthetic modifications. Then, what emphasizes in both dimensions here is the nature-nurture issue on mere a natural physiological foundation for cognitive endowment than having the issue emphasized on formal schooling. 

On the literature here, however, it is certainly interesting to know how and why the /y/ got in to the kind of lip rounding for the emphasis where areas the use /ʉː/ and /uː/ were more usual, which is otherwise (if not tensed) understandable as very close to the diphthong [aɪ] or of a bit less on the F2. Also, what is analogically complicated is to understand why 'w' in ‘wall’ is a consonant, since it has all the similar features of a vowel in terms of its turbulence than of a consonant whose predominant features are the manners of obstruction and constriction. 
A simple way to put it is to ask 'How could one write a potential 'ooh' of the owl shown in this picture?'.     

We can probably bring one of those IPA /uː/ for all the expressions of  pleasure, satisfaction, surprise,  great joy, etc in this. Such an approach however could still be incorrect here since the word 'ooh' is perhaps the most homography and perhaps the most homonymy in English as well. Yet the homonym here, too, while only the suprasegmental  voice features expressing differential meanings in their heterogeneity, needs then less to be said about that it is correct to be not taken for epenthesis.


  1. I had a good check on the last sentence of your post for the accuracy, but what i got last week on this was 0. Today i have 9 cases and the COCA has 1. They are however just a close match in CORPUS. So something must be wrong in the sentence. It sounds also very strange. Any explanation on the descriptive grammar if it is correct?

    1. Verbal constructions, particularly verbal complements overlooking adjacent adjuncts, are usually in need of sentential fortifications. With the first infinitival complement part eating up most of the regenerative capacity, sometimes the second have to look for the situation as if it were 'bite its lip and bide its rule'. This is the case, why there isn't much for corpus text analysis.