Thomas Paikeday t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA
Fri Nov 3 03:55:36 UTC 2000

I have noted this phonetic phenomenon in some Malayalam speakers of
English. They don't articulate very well; hence their failure to realize
the /kw/ sound which does exist in Malayalam phonetics. Thus, QUIET gets
pronounced as (COY.et) or (COY.ut). I am putting the stress on the first
syllable because that way it is closer to actual speech than with the
stress on the second, Malayalam (mal.uh.YAH.lum) or, better,
(mul.uh.YAH.lum) having only long and short sounds, no stresses.

Same for QUICK which is heard as (kik), but QUIT is not heard as (kit).
Just sloppy enunciation, I would think. I am not a Malayalam scholar,
not even a socalled "native speaker"!

I hope all this doesn't sound too unscientific and outlandish!

Tom Paikeday

"Dennis R. Preston" wrote:
> This is a fairly common (minor) speech "defect." I doubt if it was the word
> but a failure to realize /w/, perhpas only  after /k/. Too bad you didn't
> listen for his pronunciation of "quick," "quit," "and the like.
> There is, as well, reduction of labial "friction" geographically, of
> course; what is referred to (unkindly) as the Barbara Walters' syndrome,
> but I know of no studies of this.
> dInIs
> >Recently, a salesman from Lebanon, PA, in talking about an air
> >conditioning system that his company installs, described the system as
> >being 'quiet'.  He pronounced the word as:  coy-ette    [ed.: please
> >excuse my lack of training in phonetics, and the appropriate IPA
> >symbols].
> >
> >He used the same pronunciation several times, with my wife finally
> >asking him what the word meant.  He'd used a number of technical terms,
> >in reference to proprietary components of the air conditioning system,
> >and there was the contextual possibility that he meant something other
> >than 'quiet'.
> >
> >He seemed to be surprised with our pronunciation of the word, and tried
> >to use our pronunciation in further conversation.  Needless to say, it
> >was not our intent to change his pronunciation.  Other words/phrases
> >that he used were typical of what we've heard for the area.  The
> >particular pronunciation of quiet was a new one for us.
> >
> >George S. Cole   gscole at ark.ship.edu
> >Shippensburg University
> Dennis R. Preston
> Department of Linguistics and Languages
> Michigan State University
> East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
> preston at pilot.msu.edu
> Office: (517)353-0740
> Fax: (517)432-2736

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