HF$IBBO:LIYM (?) -- (Parenthesis)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Sat Sep 30 23:18:20 EDT 2000

At 12.15 30/09/00 -0500, Henry Churchyard wrote:
>Pointing out junctural phenomena in English might be a useful first
>step to make English-speakers aware of Italian double consonants when
>teaching them in person -- 

It is irrelevant that the scope was Italian (that was extra information for
you). The point was that it was done and clearly understood, with examples
similar to those I have already posted.

>but if used as an example over an e-mail list, 

All I'm asking for is a little thought. This has also been done through email.

>it's more likely to lead to confusion between people of varying
>degrees of phonetic sophistication who have in mind different speech
>styles, speech rates, dialects, etc. 

I think you underestimate the members of this list.

I expect a certain level of education and therefore a certain understanding
of what might go wrong, and through some exposure to the problems the
ability to develop some sensitisation to them.

Most (if not all) members of this list are practicians of spoken English.

>(since the different perceptions and semi-naive intuitions which you 
>mentioned in your own posting can't be reconciled by appeal to actual 
>spoken utterances).  

It's fine to have theoretical objections, but when it comes to the crunch,
as most people hear the difference between

   1) Bush showed me a lot of money


   2) Bush owed me a lot of money

they can become aware of what is actually happening, ie the doubling of the
length of the $.

Such an awareness of course requires one to get past

>example of languages which have a word-internal phonemic consonant
>length contrast is conceptually much clearer for this purpose.

Again you have totally missed the logic, Henry. If one doesn't perceive the
problem, one will never be able to get it, so it doesn't matter a fig about
languages with word internal doubled phonemes, until one gets the idea.

One starts with what one has and makes the most of it. I admit that there
is a certain resilience amongst English speakers against knowing anything
meta-linguistic about their language -- this is due to the lack of teachers
trained to teach linguistic information (most European children learn
parsing at around 12) --, but I would expect those amongst us with some
philological training to have the starting materials for the perception of
doubled phonemes. 

For the majority of English speakers there are in fact doubled phonemes.
This will mean that the average native English speaking member of this list
both perceives and produces doubled phonemes. Nine times out of ten the
native speaker will get the idea of doubled phonemes when they are
perceived at word junctures.


Which is better:

bright eyes or bright ties?

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