Phonemic [ʔ] in some varieties of English?

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choc_pud
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Joined: Fri 21 Sep 2012 12:53 am

Phonemic [ʔ] in some varieties of English?

Postby choc_pud » Fri 20 Feb 2015 9:43 pm

In some varieties of English, including my own, [ʔ] is a very common allophone of [t] in certain positions, namely midvocalic and syllable-final. As it is an allophone in complementary distribution it has not previously been referred to as a phoneme in its own right.

But the fact that, at a supramorphemic level, a distinction can be (and is) made, for example the difference between the phrases "great ape" [ɡrɛɪʔɛɪp] and "grey tape" [ɡrɛɪtʰɛɪp], would imply that [ʔ] could veraciously be introduced as the seventh phonemic English plosive (in certain accents).

This is my own opinion; I haven't yet asked any other linguist but am interested to hear what the rest of you have to say about such an idea. (And I apologise for this not really being in the right category, I couldn't think which would be better than "language learning" out of the ones provided).

:ugeek:
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Du forstår mal godt dansk!
Du verstehest sehr gut Deutsch!
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Dan_ad_nauseam
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat 18 Apr 2009 5:25 am

Re: Phonemic [ʔ] in some varieties of English?

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Sat 21 Feb 2015 11:37 pm

Not as crazy as it sounds. I've seen John McWhorter make a similar comment in a series of Great Courses lectures.

Dan, ad nauseam


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