endangered phonemes

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Apr 18 02:07:54 UTC 2000

anne lambert:
  I always use /hw/ in words spelled "wh-"...

(except for WHO, of course.)

not to deny your self-report, but it's hard to give an accurate
assessment of what you do in connected speech.  i have [hw] in words
spelled "wh-" in citation forms and, very clearly, in producing
minimal pairs like WALES vs. WHALES; i believe my rate of [hw] in
these contexts is very close to 100%.  on the other hand, i know from
listening to recordings of my speech that the rate in connected speech
is lower than that, and in accent valleys (as in "They KNOW what Ann
DID", where upper case marks sentence accents), especially between
vowels, i rarely have [hw], even when i'm producing the sentences as

(another way of saying this is that my /hw/ phoneme often has the
allophone [w] in certain contexts in natural connected speech.  it's
notoriously difficult to introspect about such phenomena; even
linguists are inclined to "phonemic hearing" in such circumstances.)

arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)

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