[Ads-l] /d/ for flapped t

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 15 04:45:44 UTC 2014


On Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 10:06 PM, Randy Alexander wrote:
>
>ca·thar·tic
>/kəˈTHärdik/
>
> This is from a simple google search "define cathartic".  Has anyone come
> across this?  It's not clear to me where they're pulling their data from,
> but some of you might have a better clue.

Google's dictionary data is licensed from OUP. You can find the same
phonetic representation in the US English entry on Oxford Dictionaries
Online (corresponding to NOAD):

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/cathartic

The use of /d/ for the alveolar flap in US English was a change made
in the third edition of NOAD. This brings it into line with the
decision to use /d/ in similar cases in OED3, though there it's
represented in IPA -- thus: /kəˈθɑrdɪk/.

The OED's choice of /d/ for American flapped /t/ has been criticized
-- quite rightly, to my mind.  Larry Trask, who served as a consultant
to OED3 in its planning stages, asked the Linguist List about this
decision in 2001 and found an overwhelmingly negative reaction:

http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/12/12-2166.html
http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/12/12-2228.html

--bgz

-- 
Ben Zimmer
http://benzimmer.com/

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