Standard US English Dialect?

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Sun Apr 13 08:09:54 UTC 2008

Current Tokyo practice doers not seem to match the "standard"
suggestions, in which initial /g is [g] and intervocalic /g/ is [N]
(the velar nasal, oft written "ng," but only one sound). The
important exceptions even in the standard duggestions are:

1) Compounds (e.g., Sekaiginko "World bank")
2) After prefixes (e.g., o [honorific prefix] + genki = "ogenki" (with [g])
3) The number 5 (go), no mater how it is combined, is always
pronounced with [g]
4) Reduplicative or onomatopoetic words (e.g., gara-gara "rattle") have [g]

But Hibiya (2005) shows that Tokyo speakers born between 1965 and 79
(for which we have a large spoken corpus) range from 30 to 95%
[g]-users in those positions where the "rule" would require [N].


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>Subject:      Re: Standard US English Dialect?
>I what you're referring to is the nasalization of the second "g",
>which is listed in my standard Japanese accent dictionary. AFAIK, this
>is a part of NHK Japanese and may or may not be followed by Tokyoites.
>I'm not very familiar with Tokyo speech, though, so it might be that
>it's widespread there.
>Very good memory. Gogo means afternoon, with the first "go" being noon
>and the second being after. BB
>On Apr 12, 2008, at 3:56 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>  I don't know what NHK Japanese sounds like, but the Tokyo dialect is
>>  certainly different. E.g., the word usually transliterated "gogo" and
>>  pronounced more-or-less as transliterated, is pronounced approximately
>>  "gong-o" in the Tokyo dialect.
>>  I think that the word means "noon," but it was a while ago, the
>>  1968-69 school year, that I took Japanese. However, the
>>  native-Japanese girlfriend of a roommate confirmed, ca.1987, the
>>  presence of the [N] in the Tokyo-dialect version.
>>  -Wilson
>>  On Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 6:14 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at
>>  > wrote:
>>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>  -----------------------
>>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>  Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>>>  Subject:      Re: Standard US English Dialect?
>>>  FWIW, NHK Japanese, not Tokyo Japanese is considered the standard.
>>>  There is a difference. BB
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

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