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Re: triphthongs (was: Bisyllabic or Disyllabic?)

From:BP Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 16, 2000, 19:40
At 07:24 11.8.2000 +0100, Raymond Brown wrote:
> >and some interpret the combinations in English > >words like <fire> as them also. (This last varies by dialect, however.) > >It does, and where it occurs it's an odd triphthong - it so it is - in that >the vocalic nucleus comes first anf they are, allegedly, two semivocalic >codas [aI@] with the [I@] both being semivocalic. I'm inclined myself, >however, to regard this a disyllabic when all the sounds are pronounced, >ie. [aI-@]. In practice IME in non-rhotic dialects in Britain, it either >becomes [a@] or even [A:] or, not infrequently quite clearly disayllabic >[aIj@].
JC Wells wrote that _fire_ == [faI@ > fa@ > fa:] so that there actually arises a phoneme /a:/ distinct from /A:/ in /fa:D@/, unlike _tower_: [tAU@ > tA@ > tA:] which becomes homophonous with _tar_ because /AU/ starts out with a more back vowel than /aI/. As for the phonemic status of [a:] my criteria for "phonemic" are somewhat different than the Brit School's -- especially if we're to assume all accents of Standard English share the same underlying phonology. I'm prepared to accept [A:] in _father_ as phonemically /&@/; the problem would be with speakers like And Rosta, who have [&:] distinct from [&] -- p&nt (verb) vs. p&:nt (noun) on And's own evidence. Perhaps [A:] in _father_ can then be taken as /^@/, with the [3:] of _nurse_ as /^r/ vs. unstrtessed _-er_ /@r/, so that _father_itself is /'f^@D@r/. The problem is that for most Americans there is no distinction other than stress between the _u_s of _unnumbered_ [@'n@mb,rd] /^'n^mb@rd/ anymore than between _a_ and _u_ in _a number_ [@'n@mb,r] /&'n^mb@r/. /BP 8^)> -- B.Philip Jonsson (delete X) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Truth, Sir, is a cow which will give [skeptics] no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull." -- Sam. Johnson (no rel. ;)