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

From:T. A. McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Friday, December 14, 2007, 6:22
> Tristan wrote: >> ROGER MILLS wrote: >> >>>> Really? The vowel referred to by the PALM lexical set is also the vowel >>>> in fAther. >>> Is that also the vowel of LOT? it would be for me. >> You ask me essentially the same question I asked. PALM (which includes >> fAther) is a different lexical set from LOT, so for some people >> (including me) PALM/fAther is different from LOT. > > Aha. Apparently the vowel is somewhere around [Q] in PALM/FATHER? I have > heard that in the US (upper East Coast Boston/NYC/Phila area, upper class > IME); and yes, it's not the vowel of LOT (although U-Bostonian has something > close to a short [O] in that set; it sounds definitely un-American to us > provincials, or maybe I just knew a lot of Anglophilic Bostonians). (And > it's been a while since I reviewed the Wells list.) > > I hope my later post (using Mark Reed's list) clarifies things a bit better. > > 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. 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. Considering the most common vowel systems look like this: * 0 (*) (0) * where * = unrounded vowel and 0 = rounded vowel, the most common use of the symbol [a] is for a central vowel. Another frequently confused point is there is no symbol for a fully low central vowel. 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). It's clear given the principle I mentioned above that unless you wish to contrast your low central vowel with a low front vowel, the best symbol to use is [a]. A lot of people claim [6] is the correct vowel for a low central vowel. They do this by putting a ruler on the vowel chart. But the IPA handbook is clear that choice of symbols is *not* based on a ruler. And most languages *don't* use cardinal vowels. -- Tristan.


ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>