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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: A diachronic account of phonological unnaturalness
Author: Sverre Stausland Johnsen
Institution: University of Oslo
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Subject Language: Norwegian Nynorsk
Abstract: Norwegian retroflexion exhibits some phonetic properties that do not seem to ‘make sense’. In Standard East Norwegian, an alveolar /ɾ/ causes a following alveolar coronal to become postalveolar, and in the Frogner and Arendal dialects of Norwegian, the same postalveolarisation process is triggered by a uvular /ʁ/. Comparative analyses of Norwegian dialects reveal that these properties are the results of historical changes and phonological diffusion across dialects. Theories attempting to analyse Norwegian retroflexion as phonetically ‘natural’ can neither fully account for these properties of Norwegian retroflexion nor capture the typological generalisations found across Norwegian dialects.


This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 29, Issue 3.

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