FYI: linguistics in the news: case of the missing "t"

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Thu Nov 5 00:28:47 UTC 2009

I thought perhaps it wsa going to be about actual
[t] deletion in some environments, which I
observe occasionally in my area and my own
dialect. It's a limited set of environments,
certainly (although Canadians glottalize /t/
almost universally before nasals and very often
word finally too), but it can be a syllable onset
after a nasal, e.g., "center" [sEn at r], and in
some environments where a glottal stop or a flap
would be more usual, for instance near a liquid
("Saturday" [sæ:rde]) -- most of the time, I
think, with a minimal but nonzero movement of the
tongue tip.

I know that this is hardly the first place or
time for this to happen in English. But I have
been noticing it a bit more of late. I don't have
actual data to prove a trend, though.

Those supposedly new glottalizing pronunciations
in Utah were certainly standard in Alberta 25
years ago already. I suspect they're not all that
new in Utah either...

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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