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

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 10 02:20:38 UTC 2009

 <200911041842.nA4H1wg5012977 at>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
MIME-Version: 1.0

In the latest journal "American Speech" there is an article on "T-Glottaliz=
ation in American English."  The ~t /t/ sound as the last sound in a word i=
s examined.  The subjects are to repeat a sentence as quickly as possible t=
hree times.  The stimulus sentence such as "She twisted her right(t) ankle"=
 was spoken by an announcer=2C but the (t) in "right" was masked with a bee=

Here is a technique problem.  The masking of this one sound flags it as the=
 test variable.  The subject might compensate for this and speak the word m=
ore formally than conversationally=2C emphasizing the t which was beeped ou=
t.  Not good.
Some of sentences had words in them ending with t that were not the stimulu=
s words.  e.g.=2C "I(t) was only a foo(t) away=2C" and "Pu(t) your helme(t)=
 on first."  There wer 8 extra t's out of twenty sentences.  Could the pron=
unciation of those t's by the announcer influence the test t's?  Not good.
This might explain post test results=2C when 11 nontest females were told t=
o read the test sentences the t-glottalizations increased from 20% to 55%. =
 I trust the 55%.  The shadow technique with it's beeps is not good.
I personally am a t-glottalizer and d-swapper of t. I think most Americans =
are.  I like to listen to speech for these things from broadcasters.  I wou=
ld say that t-glotting and t for d swapping are more usual than unusual in =
American speech.
I think USA beats UK in "t" alternatives.  For example for "butter" for USA=
 it's ~buder BUH-der=2C but for UK its ~butu BUH-tuh.   How about "it is=3B=
" in USA ~~i"iz~~ ih?-IZ=2C  vs UK ~~ittiz~~  ih-TIZ.

Tom Zurinskas=2C USA - CT20=2C TN3=2C NJ33=2C FL7+=20
see phonetic spelling

> At 10:13 AM -0800 11/4/09=2C James Smith wrote:
> Funny--that's the shibboleth for Connecticut (e.g. around New
> Bri?ain) that we've discussed. It would help to have had someone
> with a bit more willingness to learn (if not actual expertise) to
> write the column=2C so that different environments for glottalized t
> might have been distinguished. I suspect=2C for example=2C that the
> "mow-en" transcription actually represents a nasalized diphthong
> followed immediately by a glottal stop=3B that wouldn't seem too exotic
> around these parts. I think I may pronounce it that way myself.
> (Could this really be pronouned with an oral diphthong=2C as in
> "Mao-in"?) And the author might have gone on to remark on the
> "missing d" in "No you di'nt"...
> LH
>>James D. SMITH |If history teaches anything
>>South SLC=2C UT |it is that we will be sued
>>jsmithjamessmith at |whether we act quickly and
>> decisively
>> |or slowly and cautiously.
>>Do You Yahoo!?
>>Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
>>The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -                                          =
Bing brings you maps=2C menus=2C and reviews organized in one place.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list