Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 29 02:44:03 UTC 2008

At 2:25 AM +0000 8/29/08, Tom Zurinskas wrote:
>I'd call it an allophone of "g" in "singing".  I
>can hear in an weak "g" for sing.
>There's something there because "singing" does
>not sound like sinning.  I personally have two
>"g" s for "singing".  I gues you have none.
>Must sound like sinnin'.

Tom, do you really not know what a velar nasal
is?  And if so, are you not prepared to look it
up?  And if if not, are you sure you really want
to lecture us on phonetics?

>I once make a list of words where the "g" is
>supposed to be silent.  Words like finger,
>singer, linger, dinger.  Folks could not pick
>out the ones where the "g" was silent.

????  What do you mean by a silent "g"?  Many, I
would hazard to say most, speakers of U.S.
English have a [g] after the velar nasal
represented by the <ng> in "finger" and "linger",
but not in "singer" and "dinger" (any more than
in "sing" or "ding"), but I am quite sure all
English speakers have velar nasals in each of
these words, not alveolar ones.  Your mention of
"sinnin'" for "singing" is a red herring
(although of course many speakers do have an
alveolar, at least some of the time,
corresponding to the *second* <ng> in "singing"
as opposed to the first).  What is a silent "g"?
Is it what I have in "gnostic" and "gnome"?

>  If some dialects have silent "g"s there, I
>would think they are in the minority.

Are you really claiming that you pronounce "sing"
with a (non-nasal) velar stop, and "singing" with


>Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
>See - and the 4 truespel books plus
>"Occasional Poems" at
>>  Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 18:15:48 -0400
>>  From: paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
>>  Subject: Re: Chinglish
>>  ---------------------- Information from the
>>mail header -----------------------
>>  Sender: American Dialect Society
>>  Poster: Paul Johnston
>>  Subject: Re: Chinglish
>>  Tom:
>>  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.
>>  Paul
>>  On Aug 28, 2008, at 5:56 PM, Tom Zurinskas wrote:
>>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>  -----------------------
>>>  Sender: American Dialect Society
>>>  Poster: Tom Zurinskas
>>>  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
>>>>  ---------------------- 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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