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[T] -> [f] (was: Chinese Dialect Question)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Saturday, October 4, 2003, 6:21
On Friday, October 3, 2003, at 06:01 , Paul Bennett wrote:

> On 3 Oct 2003 at 12:18, Mark J. Reed wrote: > >> On Fri, Oct 03, 2003 at 04:37:14PM +0100, Joe wrote: >>> Well, in a lot of S. English dialects, /T/ and /f/ have merged into [f] >>> . >> >> Really? So "path" is [paf] in adult speech? That sounds so much like >> a child's error to me that I have trouble imagining it as a dialectical >> variant. > > I can support this, and also that [D] has merged with [v].
So I can I - I live in north Surrey next the border with London in a place named "Leatherhead" colloquially "lEvrEd/ (Yep, the second syllable seems to retain the /E/. I work in SW London and [pAf] is the norm in colloquial speech of both adults & youngsters. (But I don't quite see how this relates to any _Chinese Dialect Question_, so I've changed the subject line!)
> Given the local vowel distribution, it's more likely to be [pAf] and > [pAvz] than [paf] > and [pavz]. > > It's part of my lowest-register idiolect, and likewise for most of my > cohorts aged from > childhood up to full adulthood, in moderately urban areas around the > immediate > north-west of London. > > However, word-initially, [T] and [D] seem to retain their values in all > my idiolects. > Pronouncing "think" as [fInk] has the hallmark of a typically > London-and-parts- > eastwards accent than it does of the accents I grew up with.
Yep - it was once the hall-mark of London speech but it seems to have become more widespread in the south of Britain in past half century. I lived for 22 years in Newport in south Wales and the pronunciation of /T/ as [f] and /D/ as [v] is common enough there in urban areas. Quite why Mark can't imagine the falling together of /f/ and /T/ to just [f] (and /v/ and /D/ to /v/), I don't know. It's not exactly an unattested phenomenon. It has happened elsewhere in earlier times, e.g. Theodore has become 'Fyodor' in Russian and IIRC Greek /Tomas/ (Thomas) is 'Foma'. Until the Bolsheviks reformed Russian spelling, the alphabet retained the Greek letter theta with the pronunciation /f/. The change also occurred in pre-Latin where PIE /d_h/ --> /t_h/ (as in ancient Greek) --> /T/ --> /f/ e.g. fe:ci: = Gr. 'ethe:ka', Skt. 'adha:t' fe:mina, fe:cundus = Gr. 'tithe:ne:', 'the:lus', Skt. 'dha:tri: (nurse) <-- *dhe: "suckle" fu:mus = Gr, 'thu:mos' = Skt. 'dhu:mas' Ray =============================================== (home) (work) ===============================================


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>