Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 28 21:56:46 UTC 2008

Thanks Terry,

Right.  The term "English linguist" is said by the US and maybe the UK majority as ~Eenglish leengwist~ as can be heard in  It's been going on for years.  Gene Kelly said "Seeeeengin' in the rain.  Just seeeengin' in the rain."  In Spamalot they correct the pronunciation of "England" as ~Eeeeenglind, accentuating the ~ee.

I think the culprit here causing the pronunciation of ~ee instead of ~i for "ing" is not the "n" but the "g".  There is no problem saying short "i" ~i before "n" as in "winch", "since", "chintz" - that's a normal "n" nasal with the tongue tip on the top gums.  But saying a "g" after "n" makes the back of the tongue touch the velar top palate way back at the top of the mouth, a hard trick when the preceding sound, "n",  wants the tongue tip to touch the top gums.  This is a hard transition.  So the mouth cheats in anticipation of saying the "g" in "ing" and squeezes the "i" through the tongue and palate and the "n" through the tongue and palate to let the tongue get to the "g" at the back of the palate.  The squeezed "i" comes out ~ee, and the "n" and "g" sound a bit different as well.

It appears that pronunciation of any sound depends mostly on subsequent sound/s.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
See - and the 4 truespel books plus "Occasional Poems" at

> Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 12:45:51 -0400
> From: t.irons at MOREHEADSTATE.EDU
> Subject: Re: Chinglish
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Terry Irons
> Subject: Re: Chinglish
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Folks,
> After years of adamantly arguing that the vowel before a velar nasal (as
> in the word "linguistics" or "English") is an [I] and not an [i]. I may
> be coming to a realization that Natalie Maynor experienced as an
> epiphany years ago on the "tennis" court. The vowel may in fact be an
> [i]. I have tried to convince students that what they hear is the
> nasalization which makes the vowel sound perceptually as if it were an
> [i] but that in fact it is an [I]. But spectrograms with some
> students belie that claim. While it is true that the nasalization
> lowers the formant, it is also the case that nasalization can change the
> articulation. The lowering of the velum to allow air flow in the nasal
> cavity effectively changes the shape of the oral cavity and in effect
> raises the articulatory position of the preceding vowel.
> BTW, I had the discussion in class today with a student who argues that
> he says English with an [i] not an [I]. I tried to get him to use the
> words "scene" and "sin" to support my view. He remains a bit confused,
> but I have to acknowledge that his pronunciation, while not the same as
> the vowel in "scene" is in fact closer to the vowel in "scene" than it
> is to the vowel in "sin."
> --
> Virtually, Terry
> (*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)
> Terry Lynn Irons t.irons at
> Voice Mail: (606) 783-5164
> Snail Mail: 150 University BLVD UPO 604 Morehead, KY 40351
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