Speaking without teeth
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I have a cartoon that shows a man at a cinema holding in his hand his
false teeth, which are stuck together with candy. He is saying to a
companion: ''Yesh, yesh, sho jujubeesh were a loushy choish.''
I'm wondering whether I can have my intro to linguistics students discuss
the cartoonist's assumptions about how consonants are articulated. They
can probably notice that the interdental fricative in ''the'' is correctly
portrayed as being problematic, and question why alveolar fricatives are
rendered as palatals. If the effect of teeth on speech sounds is much more
complex than this, though, maybe I shouldn't bring this up in class. Could
anyone enlighten me?
I would also be interested in hearing about other portrayals of
articulatory phonetics in pop culture that could be critiqued by beginning
students. For instance, Bill Cosby has a routine about excessive
anesthesia at a visit to the dentist, in which he complains (I think) ''My
libidib is in my labadap''. It might be instructive and fun to consider
whether numbness could really have this effect on bilabials.
Thanks in advance.
Mai Kuha firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of English
Ball State University
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