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Re: Idiolects

From:Jonathan Knibb <jonathan_knibb@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2002, 22:47
Clint Jackson Baker wrote:
... linguistically inclined people are so
sensitive to sound that they overcompensate when they

My mother, a basically RP speaker raised in Birmingham (England), often uses
an alveolar flap for intervocalic /r/ in careful speech, unusual AFAIK in
near-RP accents.  Now, I don't know why *she* does this (certainly not for
linguistic reasons) ... but *I* have picked it up, not as a feature of my
accent per se, but as a conscious overcompensation in 'hypercareful' speech,
for example when saying a word that is likely to be misheard.

The reason I bring it up here is as an example of a sound used
self-consciously by an English speaker in an unequivocally English-language
context, knowing (or believing) that it is alien to that context, but hoping
that the listeners won't notice its unfamiliarity.  Are such sounds used
only by the 'linguistically inclined', or do linguistically naive speakers
sometimes invent sounds as part of their language?

(Another example would be my use of short [a], the vowel I use in Ger.
'Mann', in words such as 'grass', which traditionally alternate between [A:]
and [ae-ligature] - although I think I did this as a child, before becoming
phonetically savvy.)

Do any of you do this?
(And is this anything like what you meant, Clint?!)


John Cowan <cowan@...>
Tristan Alexander McLeay <anstouh@...>