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Query Details

Query Subject:   Uvular Nasal Tap for /l/
Author:   Karen Chung
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Phonetics

Query:   I just watched a video interview by Bill Maher with author Stephen King on
Amazon's new ''Fishbowl'' program (, and was
surprised to hear King use a uvular nasal tap for some of his
sounds. I
call it a tap because you can hear a kind of clicking saliva sound as the
back of the tongue quickly pulls away from the uvula. At first I thought it
was a problem with the file or transmission, but it occurs many times,
though there are also many ''normal''

The following are examples of where the uvular nasal tap
Almost all are prevocalic clear
s, though at least one appears in the
position, i.e. _all_, though this could be because of linking to
_himself_ with a dropped /h/. Some could be dark or clear
, as in
_persona*l*ity_ :

''You're *l*ike, well, what can I do, you know?''
''But, you know, I ran into a *l*ady in the supermarket one time...''
''Not *l*iterally, no.''
''I don't read any of your stuff because I don't *l*ike to be scared.''
''And she said, 'No, I *l*iked that, you didn't write that.'''
''I had _Pet Cemetery_ in the drawer for a *l*ong while...''
''I wrote him a *l*etter...''
''*L*ook, I burn my own CDs...''
''When you *l*ook into the abyss, the abyss *l*ooks back into you.''
''One of the things that we've *l*earned...''
''When you're *l*istening to the Net...''
''a *l*ot of people *l*istening''
''I think George is *l*istening to you and your dea*l*er...''
''...don't come out of a real happy persona*l*ity...''
''...that had told (normal dark
in ''told'') these *l*ies''
''...he's doing this a*ll* himself (normal dark
in ''himself'')
''alcoho*l*ics and drugs addicts *l*ie...''
''they *l*ie for practice,...he'll *l*ie about the time just to keep in
''It didn't surprise me that he was *l*ying...''
''Oprah would kinda *l*ike...''
''Once you find out an alcoholic's *l*ied about one thing...''
''...probably a *l*ot of it's *l*ies.''

Most but not all of the ''normal''
s I heard are dark

''Oh, Bi*ll* Maher, be funny!''
''They say, 'Are you rea*ll*y a scary guy?'...''
''Sure, I've got the heart of a sma*ll* boy, I keep it in a jar on my desk.''
''I did this thing ca*ll*ed, ah, _The Shawshank Redemption_...''
''There rea*ll*y aren't.''
''...too horrib*l*e...''
''I pub*l*ished it, and it was a huge success.''
''See, *l*isten to them.''
''They ca*ll*ed me a technophobe.''
''I'm on the first program of 'Fishbow*l*...''
''When you open your ce*ll*phone and make a ca*ll*...''
''Not that you HAVE a dea*l*er...''
''Strict*l*y for medicina*l* purposes.''
''Oh, be*l*ieve me...''
''She be*l*ieved it.''
''Most of the fee*l*ing of it was rea*l*...''
''Any kind of art comes out of a conf*l*icted (''personality'', with uvular

Has anybody run into anything like this before? Or this is a very personal
quirk of Stephen King? I'd be interested in hearing what others think about

Karen Chung
LL Issue: 17.230
Date posted: 24-Jan-2006


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