Voiceless vowels in English

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Apr 8 18:26:03 UTC 2008

On Apr 8, 2008, at 11:05 AM, Dennis Preston wrote:

> Not just English:
> 1) In weak syllables (no stress, no pitch accent)
> 2) Between two voiceless sounds or a voiceless sound and pause
> 3) In allegro, casual speech
> These will do it in pert nigh any lg. It gets codified in some (e.g.,
> Japanese) but goes unnoticed in many (most) others.

and in english, an unaccented neutral vowel in the environment
   # voiceless-C ___ l accented-V
is very short in casual and fast speech (for some speakers, more
generally) and often devoiced, so that it's heard as deleted (and
sometimes is).  as in "Columbus" and "police".  the shortening appears
more generally, even when the vowel is between a voiced C and l, as in


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list