Dropping final consonants

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Mon Mar 31 20:32:45 UTC 2003

AAllan at AOL.COM said:
>A non-linguist colleague of mine declares that he hears students dropping
>final consonants. He puts it this way:
><<Perhaps it is only my imagination, but are younger people leaving final
>consonants off words?  Many students, it seems to me, are saying "buh" for
>"but," "wha'" for "what," "tha" for "that," etc.  Have you noticed anything
>like this?  If it is occurring, what could be the cause?>>
>and then he followed up with
><<Ten minutes ago, toward the end of a twenty minute
>conversation with a fine student, I said to myself, "I wish Allan were here
>listen to this."  She is highly intelligent, focused, etc., but she repeatedly
>dropped the last consonant from words.  About two minutes ago another
>a fellow, dropped by, and he did the same in about five instances.  (Maybe
>it's my hearing!)>>
>Anything new to this? Is it just a matter of hearing what has been happening
>all along?

I'd like to see more examples. These examples all end with /t/, and
this might be a matter of "glottal replacement". Or the stops might
just be unreleased. I hear both variants frequently, at all levels of
formality. It's extremely variable by speaker, and, for some
speakers, there appears to be prosodic conditioning as well.
Alice Faber                                             faber at haskins.yale.edu
Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

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