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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Query Details


Query Subject:   Speaking without teeth
Author:   Mai Kuha
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Phonetics
Phonology

Query:   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
_____________________________________________
Mai Kuha mkuha@bsuvc.bsu.edu
Department of English
Ball State University
LL Issue: 11.207
Date posted: 30-Sep-2001



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