Flapping after /l/

Wed Feb 23 13:33:39 UTC 2000

Hi Aaron and others,
        Flapping can occur after /l/ in American English.  In fact, it's
normal in my speech.  Thus, I distinguish _alter_ and _alder_
solely by length of the preceding vowel (and maybe by some slight
differences in the quality of the flap; cf. that paper by Fox and
Terbeek in the Journal of Phonetics in the late 1970's).  Flapping
after /l/ is articulatorily likely only if the /l/ is vocalized (ordinarily to
[o~U~w], not to a back unrounded vowel, as is sometimes seen in
print).  I normally vocalize /l/'s in syllable codas; it's apparently
normal in central Ohio, where I grew up, and I'm sure in large parts
of the rest of the U.S., too.  Whether a speaker produces flaps
after /l/ is a good indication of whether they vocalize the /l/ or not.

Erik Thomas
North Carolina State University
ethomas at social.chass.ncsu.edu

Date sent:              Tue, 22 Feb 2000 20:15:47 +0000
Send reply to:          American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:                   "Aaron E. Drews" <aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK>
Subject:                Flapping after /l/
To:                     ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU

> Hello all,
> Some weeks ago, I asked about flapping in "but hoped".  I appreciate
> the responses.  My native instincts are a bit skewed.
> Now, I have another question about flapping.  I ask you because there
> isn't much detailed literature out there about the whole phenomenon.
> Some of you and some Americans in general can flap after /l/. So in
> words like _alter_ and _molting_ there's a flap.  I don't, and I don't
> think I ever did, even before coming to Britain.  I know that this is
> a variable feature across north America.
> Do those of you that do flap after /l/, do you also flap /d/ after
> /l/? So that _alter_ and _alder_, _molting_ and _molding_ are
> homophonous?  The distinction between /t/ and /d/ is lost elsewhere,
> e.g. The injured lamb was [bliDing] (Oswald 1943 (AS 18)); The man was
> [h at rDing] the sheep. Is the distinction lost after /l/, too?  Or, does
> [d] have a longer articulation than voiced [t] after /l/?
> I'd appreciate any insights.
> Thank you,
> Aaron
> ______________________________________________________________________
> __ Aaron E. Drews                               The University of
> Edinburgh aaron at ling.ed.ac.uk                  Departments of English
> Language and http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/~aaron       Theoretical &
> Applied  Linguistics
>         --Death

More information about the Ads-l mailing list