[Ads-l] Source(s) on history of alveolar tap/flap in English dialects?

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Fri Jul 8 03:43:40 UTC 2016

Thanks, Ben, for this link, and also for the pointer to:

    Kenneth de Jong (2011) "Flapping in American English," The Blackwell
    Companion to Phonology, Vol. V, pp. 2711-2729.

That source does a great job of summarizing all the early work by Krapp, 
Oswald, and others, as well as the more recent research. To the best of 
our knowledge, then, it seems that alveolar flapping began in the early 
20th century, and had spread enough to attract notice by the 1930s.

Next question: What about Australian and New Zealand English? I'll have 
to post that question to the Australian and NZ Dialect Society email lists.


On 6/29/2016 1:25 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> George Philip Krapp, in _The Pronunciation of Standard English in America_
> (1919), noted the phenomenon in "relaxed and slovenly speech."
> https://books.google.com/books?id=NcApAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA100
> (p. 100)
> On Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:38 PM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at ameritech.net>
> wrote:
>> Update:
>> Oswald, Victor A. Jr. 1943. "'Voiced T': A misnomer." American Speech,
>> 18(1), 18-25.
>> He cites a few earlier sources, who agree that /t/ has a "voiced t"
>> allophone, but only one seems to realize it might also be happening with
>> /d/ as well, which is what Oswald had been noticing. Oswald does an
>> experiment that today would be criticized for some uncontrolled conditions,
>> and for not sufficiently disguising the variables in question, but which
>> still gets some persuasive results.
>> He does not use the IPA symbol for the alveolar tap, although according to
>> Wikipedia, it was added in the 1930s.
>> Question now: When was AmE tapping of /t/ first noticed? Earliest cite in
>> this paper is Bloomfield (1933). I've searched Google Books for strings
>> like "Americans (mis)pronounce" in the 1800s. Interesting hits, but no pay
>> dirt yet.
>> Neal
>>> On Jun 28, 2016, at 9:03 AM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET>
>> wrote:
>>> Can someone point me to a relevant source or sources for the history or
>> origin of AmE, NZE and AustrE alveolar flapping/tapping? I've found plenty
>> of sources describing the phonetic environments in which it occurs, and the
>> dialects that have it, but nothing yet on a time frame.
>>> Thanks!
>>> Neal
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dr. Neal Whitman
Lecturer, ESL Composition
School of Teaching and Learning
College of Education and Human Ecology
Arps Hall
1945 North High Street
whitman.11 at osu.edu
(614) 260-1622

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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