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USAGE: <o> in spoke; gotten [was: Re: Hear Me! Hear Me!]

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Monday, June 24, 2002, 16:47
N.B. Three responses here:

Quoting Adrian Morgan <morg0072@...>:

> This reminds me of a certain distinction between some [dia|idio]lects: > > For me, there is a rule that the "o" in "spoke": > - cannot precede an /l/ in the same syllable, > - but *can* precede an /l/ that is the start of the *next* syllable. > > This can be contrasted with dialects in which either the first or > second half of this rule is void.
Interesting. I suspect that it's not [l] that's the conditioning environment, so much as how heavy the syllable should optimally be. An [@u] is bimoraic, while [@ul] is trimoraic. Extraheavy syllables like the latter are marked structures, and there is a tendency to fix them somehow. In your dialect, this involves velarization and assimilation of the [l] to the preceding [u]. In many dialects of the American South, /o/ before liquids like /l/ and /r/ is monophthongized to [o] (or perhaps with only very slight diphthongization). Words, like "old", though, still suffer from the same problem, so there the tendency is to delete the final consonant to become [ol].
> Because of the second half, the diphthongs in the first syllables of > "solo" and "polio" are for me the same "o" in "spoke". However, in a > common alternative idiolect (i.e. common in Australia) this second half > of the rule is void and the vowel [O] is used instead.
What is the quality of the /l/ in "polar" and "polling"? For me, they're different: the first is alveolar, the second is velar. (This may constitute a minimal pair if we assume underlyingly there is only one /l/ in each. Of course, it may be that the verb "poll" actually has underlyingly two /l/s.) ===================================================================== Quoting Clint Jackson Baker <litrex1@...>:
> It's ungrammatical to traditionalists but has come > into usage and acceptance in the States via sloppy > teaching.
I find that unlikely. It is usually not the case that prescriptive rules for any linguistic feature ever are consistently used by the population that they are imposed upon. In fact, so resistent do human beings appear to be to imposed language use that it often requires firing squads to accomplish it, as Atatürk discovered in Westernization language policies in the first half of the 20th centuries. ===================================================================== Quoting Tristan McLeay <kesuari@...>:
> > I'm never sure about [E]. It's defined in my head as "halfway between > > [e] and [{]", and I think you hear a lot of teenage girls using it in > > place of [e] sometimes these days. But I'm pretty sure it doesn't > > exist in my idiolect. > > I have been led to understand that the vowel in the word 'get' is /E/. > It may well be that it is higher than [E], especially in Adelaide
It certainly is in my (Texan) dialect. <get> is flagrantly [gIt], no ifs or buts about it. (Which is odd, since original /E/ doesn't usually shift to /I/ unless followed by a nasal. <let> is definitely [lEt], for example.) ===================================================================== Thomas Wier "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n / Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..." University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought / 1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn" Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers


Tristan McLeay <kesuari@...>