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Re: Consonant Aspiration

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Saturday, April 4, 2009, 20:24
On 04/04/09 21:51:48, Muke Tever wrote:
> On Sat, 04 Apr 2009 12:16:06 -0600, Linvi Charles > <linvi.charles@...> wrote: > > > Is it just me or does the unaspirated /t/ (like in s*t*op) sound > like the > > /d/ (like in *d*ead)? > > It'll do that because the only difference is voicing, and as (I > assume > you > are) an English speaker your phonology distinguishes voiceless stops > from > voiced stops by both voicing and aspiration--[t] is thus perceived as > > close to /d/ by virtue of being unaspirated, and different from, i.e. > not, > /t_h/ for the same reason. > > The tendency to hear [t] as /d/ has led some to suggest that it's > aspiration, not voicing, that is the salient factor in distinguishing > the > stop series in English.
Furthermore, in some dialects (RP and Australian, for example) the aspiration is not only the salient factor, but the only one, in onsets. Even more, in English, children normally learn the plain (i.e. "voiced") series of stops first, and generalise them to places where the aspirated (i.e. "voiceless") series belong, even after the child does use aspirated stops. In languages with a voicing distinction, the reverse happens (i.e. voiceless stops learnt first and used instead of voiceless stops). Also, there's plenty of evidence from speech errors and other phenomena, like "basketti" for "spaghetti" -- not "pasketti". That last one is an *excellent* example for Linvi's question. Also, there's plenty of punning between "discussed" and "disgust", which are homophonous. Also also, "next year" is usually pronounced (IME) as "nex jear", because the t is unaspirated in that position. (Of course, like any statement about English, this is only true for dialects it's true for, and any desire to say "'discussed' and 'disgust' are different for xyz" need not be pursued.) -- Tristan.