LINGUIST List 3.747

Sat 03 Oct 1992

Misc: Phoneticians, New Chomsky Movie

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  1. Richard Ogden, Phoneticians' errors
  2. Randy Allen Harris, fyi: New Chomsky movie

Message 1: Phoneticians' errors

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 92 11:23 GMT
From: Richard Ogden <RAO1VAXB.YORK.AC.UK>
Subject: Phoneticians' errors

Alexis Manaster-Ramer writes:

> There are many examples, I believe, where what even the best
> "ear" phoneticians systematically mishear what is actually
> uttered.

If a phonetician mishears things systematically I think
it is reasonable to conclude that that phonetician is not one
of the best ones.
--- How do you know when something is 'misheard'? instrumental data
(like EPG tracings and spectrograms) often conflict with each
other. The well-trained ear is often the most relevant tool.
--- Who decides who is a 'good' phonetician? (Good does not mean
famous.) As far as I am aware IPA membership does not depend on
a test of whether you can produce and recognise the sounds on the
IPA chart. Maybe it should! :-)

> An example might be the fricative pronunciations
> of English /k/ and /g/ in intervocalic position.

Phoneticians are meant to listen without prejudice. A phonetician
who heard [x] as [k] because '/k/' (whatever that is) was expected
would be making a serious error: confusing the phonetic with the

The dichotomy between 'ear' and 'instrument' phoneticians is unhealthy;
the one should inform the other.

Richard Ogden
Experimental Phonetics Laboratory
University of York
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Message 2: fyi: New Chomsky movie

Date: Sat, 3 Oct 92 9:39:34 EDT fyi: New Chomsky movie
From: Randy Allen Harris <>
Subject: fyi: New Chomsky movie

(I know this is a linguistic list, and I'll let the moderators
decide whether or not to pass this note on, but ...)
There is a new movie, a documentary which premiered at Toronto's
movie festival this year, that might be of interest: _Manufacturing
Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media_. The line-ups were long,
and the only review I've seen ("The Scholar from another Planet",
in the 2 October issue of Canada's national paper, _The Globe and
Mail_) is pretty favorable. I haven't seen it.
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