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Summary Details

Query:   English Pronunciation: Bolth Part 1
Author:  John Esposito
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Phonetics

Summary:   Regarding query

Part One

There were many varied and detailed responses to this query; so many in fact that it will be difficult to do them justice in the space allowed (quotes have been edited for length). I will try to summarize and cite a sampling of the supporting information.

Susan Fischer (Rochester Inst. of Tech.), Herb Stahlke (Ball State), and Anthony Lewis (Syracuse) all point out that
frequently becomes a vowel or glide. The latter is more relevant here, as it is the glide in /bowTH/ that has become

Susan Fischer writes:
?1. In French, historically l--->w/__C.
2. In certain dialects of British English, l--->w/ V_#.
3. In Western Pennsylvania, l-->w after a high back vowel.
4. In Brazilian Portuguese, there are contexts where l -->w.
5. In standard American English, diphthongs containing back vowels have a
homorganic glide (e.g., [sawT] for 'south', in many southern dialects, that
glide is replaced by a dark

Damien Dabrowski of ScanSoft has also observed an
in words like south, couch, and mouth, in the Philadelphia-New Jersey area; this is ?perhaps related to the vowel, which is very front and mid-low, about the same vowel/l sound as ?ralph?).?

Anthony Lewis writes:
?In Slavic,
--> /o/ in Serbo-Croatian in word-final position, and deletes entirely in this position in Russian. Also, in 1st language acquisition, coda
's often surface as /w/ or /o/ (e.g. ''field'' --> [fiod]). This is also common in (adult) dialects of Cockney English.?

(JE: In addition to the above observations, one might add the Polish dark l --> w.)
Herb Stahlke writes:
?What you?re describing sounds like the inverse of
-vocalization... I?ve noticed a similar excrescent
in words like ?draw? and ?saw?. In speakers for whom
vocalizes post-vocalically, the
becomes a lax high back rounded vowel, as in ?put?. It does this presumably because post-vocalic
is velarized and when it delateralizes the result is the velarization, or /U/. What seems to be happening in words like ?draw?, ?saw?, and ?both? is that the diphthongization, which also involves a /U/-like glide is strengthened to a lateral on the analogy of words like ?fold? and ?bowl?.?

Stahlke?s point that this is the ?inverse? of a common phenomenon is sufficient to lead us to consider other possible explanations. It seems to be agreed that
--> V and
--> /w/ are common, but /w/ -->
is considerable less common, and perhaps seems a little backwards from what one might expect.
Stahlke expresses surprise that this ?takes place also before a fortis fricative in ?both? since fortis obstruents shorten vowels in English,? and observes that this does not seem to occur in ?boat?. Similarly, Lewis inquires ?Why would the lateralization in the pronunciation of the word ''both'' not extend to similar forms (e.g. ''growth'' --> *[grolth])??

LL Issue: 15.3278
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2004
Original Query: Read original query


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