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

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Thu Nov 5 17:40:07 UTC 2009

From:    James Smith <jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM>


This used to frustrate me when I was at BYU--this insistence that
pre-nasal /t/-glottalization was a specific feature of Utah English, and
that the whole rest of the English-speaking world had it down as a
strongly stigmatized feature. Try convincing people that this thing they
believe exists nowhere else is actually spread pretty widely throughout
the language, *and* that this local marker of linguistic insecurity
actually doesn't draw any attention most other places--it's a good way
to get laughed out of a room.

Apparently people like their insecurities.

I think it's telling, if you read the transcript/watch the video, that
David Eddington's actually studying word-*final* /t,d/-deletion, but
they insisted on shoehorning pre-nasal /t/ in.

And that's one of the fascinating things about /t/-glottalization in
Utah--it's limited to pre-nasal contexts, but it's widely viewed as
being a deletion of all /t/s (it's glottalization, actually, but the
local view is that it's deletion).

I'm also curious about the identity of the unnamed female linguists in
the report. My guesses are that the one at the end is Marianna Di Paolo
and the one earlier, if she's a different person, is Wendy Baker--i've
talked with both of them at some length about this feature and the way
it's perceived and produced along Utah's Wasatch Front.

David Bowie                        
    Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
    house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
    chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society -

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