Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Thu Aug 28 22:15:48 UTC 2008

I hate to clue ya, but unless you're from Longg Island, are an L2
speaker, or are from West Midland England from Blackpool to Derby to
Gloucester, you don't have a "g" in sing.  The last sound is a voiced
velar nasal, and YES, it's the velarity that fronts and maybe raises
the vowel in those who have either the allophonic difference I have
(and I guess has my setup, from what Matthew has to say) or
those who really DO have an /i/.  We've talked about the raising of /
ae/ > /e/ before /N/ before, and again, nasality + velarity does that.
Wing and English, historically, get their vowel from an earlier
raising process changing /EN/ to /IN/ in Middle English.


On Aug 28, 2008, at 5:56 PM, Tom Zurinskas wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Chinglish
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> 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
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>> -----------------------
>> 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
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>> =(*)
>> 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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