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USAGE: English [N] (was: mu for [N])

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Sunday, January 23, 2005, 14:43
On Saturday, January 22, 2005, at 07:24 , Philip Newton wrote:

> On Fri, 21 Jan 2005 18:48:33 +0000, Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> > wrote: >> not all varieties of English have phonemic /N/; > > Eh? There are varieties where "bang" and "ban" are homophonic?
Where did I say that!! In those dialects _bang_ is pronounced [baNg], which in (those dialects) is *phonemically* /bang/. Nor is this a spelling pronunciation; it is just the older pronunciation which has given way to [baN] or [b&N] in most modern dialects, including mine. Indeed, I have come across phonemic analyses of English which regard the [N] in [siN] as the surface realization of phonemic /sing/. Indeed, if all suffixes behaved like the -er and -est of 'longer' and 'longest', this would be plausible. Unfortunately the _singer_ ~ _finger_ contrast of most dialects makes such analyses a little tricky. [snip]
> And a lot of people have difficulty understanding "'ng' as in > 'singer', not as in 'finger'".
..and where _sing_ is pronounced [siNg], there is no difference :) ======================================================= On Saturday, January 22, 2005, at 07:47 , Chris Bates wrote:
> And a lot of people have difficulty understanding "'ng' as in > 'singer', not as in 'finger'". > > > > I know people who have /Ng/ in the middle of singer. :)
Yep - quite so. I do also.
> I don't > though.... for me singer has only N in the middle.
Yes, that's how I say it also. The phonemic status of [N] in English is one of those things that phonologists like to argue about (see above). It has, for example, been pointed out more than once that [N] and [h] are in complementary distribution (at least in RP), so should that not mean, according to the phoneme theory, they are positional variants of the same phoneme? I hasten to add, I do not accept that analysis :) Ray ======================================================= ======================================================= "If /ni/ can change into /A/, then practically anything can change into anything" Yuen Ren Chao, 'Language and Symbolic Systems"


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>