Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Jan 21 14:02:11 UTC 2005

How come my informal pronunciation is being ignored - the obviously
correct 'samwich'?

Doesn't this nicely reflect the labiovelar nature of /w/, the latter
of which students often find hard to believe?

For speakers for whom the velar wins out, "sangwich' emerges; for us
labial champions, it's 'samwich,' surely the input for the next stage
'sammich,' that last clearly the pronunciation of the ignernt.

(By the way, the next, nearly most informal stage, for good speakers
like me is  a loss of the nasal altogether, excepting nasalization of
the vowel, of course but still with a /w/. ["Still with a /w/!" An
unfortunate choice of words today, though I guess it would have been
worse yesterday.] Of course, you can get here from 'sangwich' as
well. Most informally, I can realize this item as a monosyllable,
with loss of /w/ - /s [+nasal ae:] ch/.)

A related issue, lots of beginning phonetics students 'hear' a velar
/ng/ when a vowel is nasalized, regardless of the source of the


Sammich is alive and well in P'burgh!
Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
        Asian and African Languages
Wells Hall A-740
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517) 353-0740
Fax: (517) 432-2736

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