FW: New Britain, Connecticut

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Mon Dec 31 16:01:23 UTC 2001

From:    Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU>

> The "expected" medial consonant here would not be the
> flapped-t, which is heard in 'butter', 'fatter', 'bottle',
> etc. in "ordinary" American English.  The glottal stop IS
> common in 'mountain' and 'mitten', and not just in CT; but
> the alternate form is [t], as in NYC, if I'm not mistaken.
> But does NYC use [t] in 'bottle'?  Surely not the glottal
> stop, which is used in this word in much Brit. Eng. but
> not in Am. Eng., as far as I know.

> The words I cite in class as "disputed" in Am. Eng. are
> generally proper names, like Clinton, Scranton, Hinton,
> etc., where spelling pronunciation tends to produce [t]
> medially (foreign reporters routinely pronounce the first
> ex. with [t], RP style).  New Britain would fall under this
> same rubric.  It doesn't seem to me that 'mountain' and
> 'mitten' and button' etc. are regionally differentiated
> outside of NYC/NJ--but I'm open to disputation.

I find it rather interesting that the (mainly northern and central) Utahns
i've talked to about this are quite painfully aware of their use of a
glottal stop in words like mountain, Clinton, Scranton, &c. (I don't include
mitten in the list--that's pronounced here with a glottal stop, but the
social awareness appears only to extend to morphemes that might underlyingly
end with a /n.t at n/ sequence.) The interesting thing is that i say people
here are *painfully* aware of that pronunciation on purpose--there tends to
be a belief that it's a regionalism, and a particularly low-status
regionalism to boot.

Of course, i my Southern Maryland self use a glottal stop in those words,
and i know a glottal stop is used gobs of other places, but Utahns tend to
be convinced that nobody else would ever do something quite so horrid.
There's just a *little* bit of linguistic insecurity out here, you see...

David Bowie                                         http://pmpkn.net/lx
    Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
    house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
    chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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