Medial -/t/- (was New Britain, Conn)

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Sat Dec 29 18:09:49 UTC 2001


Say it isn't so! Intropection rules. I think the preceding /n/ (in
"Clinton") is et up by its nasalization of the preceding vowel and
the block on the glottal stop replacement of /t/ is removed.

I also suspect that you are right about stigmatization. It isn't
stigmatization of the glottal stop unless it's in an intervocalic
posiiton. When the glottal stop is a rapid "onset" to the following
syllabic /n/, I suspect there is no stigma. (I personally know this
must be the case becuase I do the latter but not the former, and who
would stignmatize my 1940's endowed Louisville, KY speech?)

In such processes, however,m there may be ,lixically-nased
stigmatization. The 'bidnis' pronunciation (of "business") is highly
sitgmatized where I'm from, even by people who have uttered "wadn't,
"idn't" and the like commmenting on it. Similarly, 'hep" for "help"
is highly stigmatized (although vocalization of /l/ with a trace
vowel left behind is not. On the other hamnd, complete loss
(admittedly in l+C environments, like "woof" for "wolf," which always
makes my funny-talking Milwaukee wife turn to me and say "bow-wow")
lacks such stigma.


>Rudolph C Troike said:
>>This South Texan pronounces medial -/t/- in 'bottle', 'latter' as a voiced
>>stop (i.e. [d]), so that 'latter' and 'ladder' are homophonous, as in the
>>old conundrum, "The carpenter put down his ladder and saw, and then picked
>>up the [laed at r]. Which one did he pick up?" In British RP the -/t/- is
>>voiceless and aspirated. I'm not sure what Beverly meant by calling the
>>pronunciation of 'Clinton', 'Scranton', etc. "disputed" (I think that's
>>the term she used -- I can't check now). I have an unreleased [t] followed
>>by a syllabic nasal. Again, Rosemary Church on CNN and many news
>>announcers (I think even Dan Rather, when he tries) keep a tertiarily
>>stressed schwa in the final syllable of 'Clinton', etc., making it -[t at n].
>All my notes on glottal stop for /t/ in New England are in the lab, so this
>is from memory. I believe that in this area, you find a fair amount of
>variability in /ntn/ sequences, as in Clinton*, Scranton. Clinton is a
>suburb of New Haven, and its pronunciation isn't remarked upon. Groton,
>like Clinton, is universally pronounced with a [?] for /t/, and, in both
>towns, "local" pronunciations are stigmatized. (Marianna Di Paolo told me
>that a similar phenomenon occurs with the pronunciation of Layton (Utah).)
>I *may* be imagining it, but I believe that the actual difference resides
>in the pronunciation of the syllabic [n]. The normal pronunciation is [?]
>followed by syllabic [n] (with no discernible vowel quality). However, one
>occasionally hears [?] followed by an ultra-short copy of the vowel
>preceding [?], followed by [n]. So what's stigmatized is [brI?In] not
>*As I was composing this, my first thought was that, well of course Clinton
>doesn't have [?]; the preceding /n/ blocks the change of /t/ to [?]. Then I
>said it out loud: [klIn?n]. So much for introspection!

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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