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CHAT: Phonemic status of English interdentals

From:Josh Brandt-Young <vionau@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 8, 2002, 2:03

I was thinking about our discussion some time ago of whether [T] and [D]
should be considered separate phonemes in English, citing "minimal pairs"
and whatnot, and decided to do a test on my (non-linguistically-savvy)
girlfriend to see what I could see.

I read the following text, changing all occurrences of [T] to [D]:

It was a balmy summer night. The fat man and the thin man were taking a walk
through the park, when they suddenly became aware that a large moth was
fluttering around them. The fat man stumbled off the path, shouting "I think
that thing just bit me!" The thin man furrowed his brow, and replied, "I
doubt it--moths have no teeth."

I read it very quickly the first time, and as she noticed nothing
remarkable, I read it again more slowly with fairly strong enunciation on
the interdentals--still nothing. Even when I read the test words
*individually* she had no idea what I was looking for.

This seems to prove (at least in her dialect) that they're not separately
phonemic--what do you think?

Ána vien,

Josh Brandt-Young <vionau@...>
"After the tempest I behold, once more, the weasel."
(Mispronunciation of Ancient Greek)


Tristan <kesuari@...>
David Starner <starner@...>
JS Bangs <jaspax@...>
Muke Tever <mktvr@...>