"another thing coming"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 27 13:55:15 UTC 2008

On Tue, May 27, 2008 at 12:45 AM, Your Name <ROSESKES at aol.com> wrote:
On May 24, 2008, at 7:01 AM, Larry Horn wrote:

> At 1:53 AM -0400  5/24/08, Your Name wrote:
>> 1919 _Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald_ 12 Aug. 8/3  If you think the life of  a
>> movie star is all sunshine and  flowers you've got another  thing
>>  coming.
>> I grew up in Syracuse, NY; and the newspaper  there never got
>> *anything*  right!
>> Actually, right there in Syracuse and environs, I  often heard,
>> "You've got another think coming."  I  never once heard
> My only question is how could you tell (for the  spoken version)? The
> vector for reanalysis would be that precise  construction, which could
> be heard either way.  Newspaper  renderings would be another story, of
> course.

How I could tell what I was hearing is: the last sound in "think" coincides
with the first sound in "coming."  So people ran the two together.  It  was
the type of sentence one tended to speak emphatically, making it even  clearer
that they were using the same sound.

If someone said "thing" followed by "coming," I would have heard two
separate sounds: G then K.

ROSEMARIE: There is no "G" sound in "thing". The sound we spell "ng"
is a single sound, a nasal like "m" or "n" but made with the back of
the tongue pressed against the soft palate. The "hard g" sound is what
we call a stop: the tongue is in the same place, but the passage
through the nose is closed off as well, and stops up the air flow

Try saying "thin", drawing out the last sound:
"thinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn". You can keep it up as long as you have
breath. Try it now.

Same for "them". Try that now.

Same for "thing". Try that.

Now try it with "egg". You can't prolong it nearly as much. The air
pressure builds up inside until you can't make any more sound.

The sound we spell in English as "ng" when it comes at the end of a
word like "thing" is the same sound that we write with just "n" when
it comes before a "hard g" sound as in "finger", or when it comes
before a "k" sound as in "think" or "anchor". "Another thi(ng c)oming"
has the sounds (between the parentheses)  "ng"  "k". "Another th(ink
c)oming", spoken slowly, has the sounds "ng"  "k"  "k", but in normal
speech those two "k" sounds become one.

(PS: Please remember to change the subject line to the subject of the
post you're answering, like "another thing coming". A subject like
"Re: ADS-L Digest - 25 May 2008 to 26 May 2008 (#2008-148)" doesn't
help those of us who are trying to follow a single thread of
discussion. Also, could you change your email name from "Your Name"?
Or should I have written "Dear Your"? ;-) )

LARRY: The two phrases are not exactly homophonous. In "think coming"
the first syllable is end-stopped and shorter, with a longer unvoiced
segment before the aspirated velar release. This is my subjective
impression, not the result of measurement or survey.

Mark Mandel

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

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