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Re: OT: YAEPT: English low vowels (was briefly: Re: Y/N variants (< OT: English a...

From:ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
Date:Friday, December 14, 2007, 19:22
Tristan wrote:
> >> ROGER MILLS wrote: > > In the past I've gone to, and wondered at, the various hear-it-now IPA > > sites; almost all have a frontish [a] that IS NOT what I learned in > > Phonetics 101. That sound doesn't exist in my lect, where /a/ is closer >to > > [6] or [A] depending on the site. On reflection, I guess that [a] is >what > > French has, but not what I use when trying to speak French-- which >(surely > > among many other things) is perhaps why French people look askance and >tend > > to answer back in English......) > >You might have learnt the American Phonetic Alphabet? It's a different >beast. But there's also a long answer.
I know. My phonetics course was a long time ago, in Summer of 1964, taught by (I'm sure) a disciple of Ladefoged, who was also in residence that summer. In addition to her text (Xeroxed, due to be published, but it never happened, as she died shortly thereafter), we had the IPA handbook of that era. As you and others have told me, there have been changes to the "official" IPA through the years. In any case, the front vowel now written [a] had a special symbol in our text, and corresponded (to our ears) to "Boston a" which is indeed frontish and would now I guess be symbolized [a]. There was also a special symbol for the "o" that preceded [r\], neither [o] nor [O]. That too has apparently been deprecated. (These special symols had a heavy dot on on the end of the upper curve of [a] and reversed-c.)
>Also, the oft-forgot principles for using the IPA requires that if a >simpler character exists, it should be used. So although C:[a] (which is >my notation for the primarly cardinal vowel 4, symbolised by [a]) is >properly a fully low, fully front vowel, it is used for all number of >things.
That is true, and the source of much confusion :-)))) But IMO the fully low front vowel is [&] (ae-lig). The "special [a]" that we learned was located IIRC between [E] and [&], but slightly backed (in terms of the "cells" our chart was divided into). (Perhaps present-day [a] could be the "close/tense" version of "open/lax" [&] ?)
>Another frequently confused point is there is no symbol for a fully low >central vowel.
IIRC, our chart had [a] in a centralized location; I don't recall excatly where [6] was (but it was somewhat alien to our ears, said to be the vowel of British "cuppa [tea]" [k_h6p@], thus somehow related to our [V]......... So you have three choices: [a] (a fully low, front
>vowel); [6] (a central vowel lower than [@] and, like [@], with >implications of being unstressed); [A] (a fully low, back vowel).
Yes, those are now the choices-- maybe the "special" symbols I learned were eliminated because-- in those days of the typewriter-- you had to modify them by hand, always a source of forgetful errors. Tempora mutantur, or something like that :-))))))