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Summary Details

Query:   English Pronunciation: Bolth Part 2
Author:  John Esposito
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Phonetics

Summary:   Regarding query
View Part One:

Part Two

Moving on to the next theory, then, Mark Jones (Cambridge) points out that there are historical relationships between interdental continuants; this has been discussed before and can be found at:

Jones writes: ?In some dialects of Southern Italy
has become an interdental
, often realised very much like (or in some dialects identical to?) [DH], and in Basque 'Madrid' (which in Spanish has final [DH]) is spoken and written as 'Madril'...? Also: ?There is some vague indication of an interdental
cropping up in various varieties of (American?) English, especially in final positions,? while in Londonderry, ?intervocalic [DH] may be realised as...[l].?

Roger Lass (Cape Town) provides phonetic details, addressing my query about what I?d called an ?acoustic liquid? in Danish: with the ?lenited historical /d/ as in 'street'... the usual form is a frictionless dental continuant, often with a slight lateral coarticulation and some velar approximation. It sounds rather like a weak dark [l].?

It seems that the American English
in ?bolth? indeed must be, as Jones suggests, interdental, not alveolar or velar; if so, and if it?s prerceived as an
, then this is a third allophone of
for these speakers.

Jones also suggests that there may be an element of hypercorrection, as does Tonio Green of Berlin, as well as David Bowie (Central Florida), who advises having a look at r-insertion: ?There may be multiple ways in which r-insertion can come about, and I suspect the same with l-insertion. Around Baltimore, Maryland, which has a lot of post-vocalic l-lessness...

l-insertion occurs that's analogous to the r-insertion in communities with post-vocalic r-lessness. ?
Finally, Bruce Mor?n (Troms?), and Jack Hall (Houston) offered observations about speakers of American English in various parts of the country. In fact, Mor?n himself has this pronunciation, and indeed has Danish and Norwegian ancestry. However, he has not noticed this pronuciation in his family, and does not have it in similar environments such as ?oath.?
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all respondents. At this point, I?m not prepared to express a preference for any one theory or explanation; as others have pointed out, the pronunciation of ?bolth? with an
but ?growth? and ?oath? without it complicates matters, as any phonological rule would seem to apply only lexically, i.e. there are too many exceptions for us to posit a gernal rule of /w/-->
in some dialect(s) of American English (This brings us back to my, and Herb Stahlke?s, hypothesis of an analogy to ?bowl? as a partial explanation). Furthermore, my own San Diego-area students who have exhibited this pronunciation seem to come from all over the U.S.

In the case that I receive substantial supplements to this information (or that I have misrepresented anyone?s posts), I will forward a summary of any significant future activity.

LL Issue: 15.3279
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2004
Original Query: Read original query


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