ADS-L Digest - 13 Nov 2001 to 14 Nov 2001 (#2001-319)

Mark.Mandel at LHSL.COM Mark.Mandel at LHSL.COM
Thu Nov 15 16:09:39 UTC 2001

"" <translation at BILLIONBRIDGES.COM> says:

Nevertheless, we Canadians and many Brits as well
cringe at the nasal "r" at the end of the American
"foyer".  And I'd argue that the long "a" vowel sound
at the end of the US "f at lay" for filet puts it equally
as distant from the French as the British Fill at t,--
even though the Brits pronounce the "t" at the end,
at least they get that last vowel sound right.


I say: Huh??? "Nasal r"? "Last vowel sound"?

American /r/ is not particularly nasal, and I don't hear anything nasal
about it in "foyer" or know any reason for it to be so in any American
dialect. In phonetics and phonology, "nasal" refers to sounds in which the
breath passes out through the nose rather than the mouth. "Nasal 'r'" could
only be short for "nasalIZED 'r'", with partial nasal outflow. You may not
like the sound of American vowels, which are often strongly nasalized, and
you may not like American final /r/, and they may even have some acoustic
characteristics in common, but nasality is unlikely to be one of them.

The French word "filet" has a low-mid front unrounded vowel, [E] (IPA
epsilon), in the second syllable, unblocked by any final consonant. IMHO,
British [@t] (@ = schwa) is in no way closer to that than American [e_I] or
[E_I]. -- Or (sudden afterthought) did you mean the FIRST vowel? On that
one I'd agree: British stressed ['I] is closer to French [i] than American
[@], backed and lowered from [I] by unstressed position and the velarized

                  Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist
 Dragon Systems, a Lernout & Hauspie company : speech recognition
 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02460, USA :

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