query re AAVE

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 18 15:35:05 UTC 2006

Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> stanford student doug kenter reports to me a black rapper (from NYC)
> who at least sometimes has /k/ for word-final /t/, as in "vomick" for
> "vomit" and "run ick" for "run it".  this was news to both john
> rickford and me.  i eventually devised a hypothesis about how you
> might get there from here: lots of speakers not only glottalize word-
> final voiceless stops, but also sometimes neutralize word-final [t']
> and [k'] to a glottal stop; someone hearing the glottal stop has to
> figure out how to "restore" the point of articulation, and could
> easily get it wrong sometimes.  (i'm ruling out the possibility of
> some substratum effect from hawaiian or a similar language with /t/
> and /k/ both mapped onto [k].  first, because it seems so socially
> unlikely in this case, and second, because the effect is only in word-
> final position, not across the board.)
> does this phenomenon look (well, sound) familiar to anybody here?
> wilson?

I'm thinking I might have heard such a substitution in callers to NYC
sports radio (some of whom have other clear-cut AAVE phonological
features). I'll keep my ears out.

Meanwhile, I'm a little skeptical of the mechanism (but willing to be
proven wrong). I've collected a small set of written substitutions of T
for P that rely on such a mechanism, together with the fact that, in New
England anyway, glottalization of /t/ is more common than glottalization
of /p/ or /k/. My favorite of these is AYUT (for AYUP), which came with
a non-specialist attempt to describe the glottalization. I also have
instances of UH-OH, spelled UT-OH.

Alice Faber                                    faber at haskins.yale.edu
Haskins Laboratories                           tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                        fax (203) 865-8963

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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