LINGUIST List 9.452

Tue Mar 24 1998

Disc: Short Diphthongs

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>


  1. Waruno Mahdi, Re: 9.355, Disc: Short Diphthongs (addendum)
  2. Paul Johnston, Re: 9.443, Disc: Short Diphthongs

Message 1: Re: 9.355, Disc: Short Diphthongs (addendum)

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 11:51:30 +0100
From: Waruno Mahdi <mahdiFHI-Berlin.MPG.DE>
Subject: Re: 9.355, Disc: Short Diphthongs (addendum)

In my previous input (Re: 9.443) on long/short-contrasted vowel
clusters in Vietnamese (Northern dialect) I unfortunately forgot the

To those resulting from combinations of long/short monophthongs with a
nonsyllabic medial or final:

 _au_ /Aw/ -- _ao_ /aaw/

To the "two different _ua_" of the spelling, resulting in the
differently pronounced _cua_ /kuuH/ and _qua_ /kwaa/, one should
perhaps indicate another such contrast in the spelling:

 _cuo^c_ -- _quo^c_

for which one might have expected the readings /kuok/ and /kwok/
respectively. But, if that were true, then this would imply that /k/
is the only initial after which a /wo/ as contrasted with /uo/
occurs. But, native-speaker informants I interviewed on this in the
1970s confirmed that the divergently spelled syllables were
homonyms. To my ears, their pronunciation seemed to freely variate
between /kuok/ and /kwok/, but more often closer to the former than to
the latter. I can't tell whether there is perhaps a contrast in other

Regards to all, Waruno

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Waruno Mahdi tel: +49 30 8413-5404
Faradayweg 4-6 fax: +49 30 8413-3155
14195 Berlin email:
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Message 2: Re: 9.443, Disc: Short Diphthongs

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 11:59:15 -0500 (EST)
From: Paul Johnston <>
Subject: Re: 9.443, Disc: Short Diphthongs

To reply to Norval Smith's and James Scobbie's points about Scots

	(1) Norval, I know you're a native speaker and I'm not, but
from what I can see in my different taped materials, in most of the
dialects I've recorded, the localised, Scots diphthong in pay, when
it's final, seems to be only a little lengthened or not at all--the
different /ae/ realisations seem to have a definite half-long V1 in
Aitken's long environments. West Central Scots DO lengthen both nuclei
but it seems to be (to me) connected with the general "Glasgow drawl"
of lengthening all non-high vowels when in a tonic syllable I also
hear the length in /EI/ as spread over the entire diphthong, but /ae/
as being on the V1 alone. /^u/ acts like /EI/ and /oe/ like /ae/.
	(2) I use the transcription /EI/, though /^i/ is
conventional--I hear the V1 as centralised front to central in most
localised dialects. SSE tends to a central one. A true [^i] I hear
with (1) some young upscale SSE speakers, (2) Caithnesians and people
from Black Isle and Morayshire port towns; (3) Northern Scots after
labials. I mean the same vowel by it--the vowel in ride, tide--Early
Scots /i:/ in short environments + Early Scots /oi~Ui/ (join, oil,
etc.) plus the pay class.
	(3) Some SSE speakers--mostly older, "Panloaf" types--have
/ae/ in all positions variably, often with a half-long V1.
	(4) Interesting analysis of Early Scots /Oi/ as bisyllabic!
Does joy = Joey for you? I have met Hawick speakers with an Aitken's
Law split (purely allophonic) [Oi] (centralised V1) / [o.e]--they
would presumably have bisyllabic forms only in long environments.
	(5) I would think most Scots speakers wouldn't have a syllabic
/l/ in either idol or idle, but have a true /Vl/--the distinction
seems to consist on to which syllable the /d/ belongs, or if you're
into them, whether the /d/ is an overlapping interlude a la Anderson
or goes strictly with the second syllable.
	(6) Doesn't Jack Aitken (1981) have something to say about
						Paul Johnston
						Dept. of English
						Western Michigan University
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