Saturday, 7 April 2012

Patricia Hughes - no. 4 (re-written)

Jack Windsor Lewis (= JWL) picked up on my blog entry (here) on Patricia Hughes (= PH) (JWL's blog to be found here) and made some interesting and detailed observations on her amusing story about an event related to her job with Auntie Beeb. I can't resist making some additional remarks:

A. 0:8:0 [æːnd juːd den ɡëʊ tə beˑd] ‘and you’d then go to bed’
  1. JWL comments on the word boundary between ‘you’d’ and ‘then’ by saying that it is “not uncommon” to change the initial fricative to a homorganic stop though less frequently than to change it to an approximant. I think it’s the relaxed speech style plus the weak-form character of the words involved plus a way of cutting articulatory corners, which make it easier to pronounce this consonant cluster.
  2. The vowel in ‘bed’ is slightly longer than I would’ve expected; it’s probably idionsycratic.
B. 0:9:5 [ɪn ðiː wɒʔ wəð̥en ðə læŋəm hëʊteɫ] ‘in the … what was then the Langham Hotel’
  1. PH uses /ðiː/ probably because she’s hesitating.
  2. The plosive in ‘what’ to me seems to be glottal.
  3. The fricative combination at the boundary of ‘was then’ is replaced by a weak voiceless dental fricative. If it’s not due to some problem with her tongue or denture, it may simply be a slip of the tongue. There are speakers, however, who sort of cut corners to avoid this rapid sequence of a voiced/unvoiced s-sound followed ba a voiced/unvoiced th-sound and simply pronounce a voiced/unvoiced s-sound, e.g.: Is this seat taken? /ɪzˑɪs siːt teɪkŋ/
  4. The diphthong in ‘hotel’, like the one in ‘go’ (see above), starts with a fairly centralised first vowel.
C. 0:12:1 [wɪʧs̩stɪɫ kɔːɫd ði [???] læŋəm hëʊteɫ] ‘which is still called the {indistinct} Langham Hotel’
  1. The ‘is’ has no initial vowel.
  2. The [i] of the definite article despite there being no initial vowel of the next word is most probably due to the indistinct syllable which starts with some kind of vowel.
D. 0:14:0 [ðæ̝t wəz̥ ɑː sliːpɪŋ kwɔːtə] ‘that was our sleeping quarter’
  1. The possessive determiner ‘our’ illustrates smoothing, which is quite common with this determiner.
E. 0:21:5 [wɪʧ jʊ wʊd bɪ riːdɪŋ jɔːseɫf] ‘which you would be reading yourself’
  1. Mark PH’s pronunciation of ‘yourself’ as /jɔːself/ and not as /jʊəself/.
F. 0:23:50 [wl ðæ̝t p̩hthɪkhələ mɔːnɪŋ] ‘well, that particular morning’
  1. As an exception, aspiration is indicated here. Mark the pronunciation of ‘particular’ with its yod having been dropped. LPD3 does not record such a variant, nor does EPD18. LPD3 marks the pronunciation /-tɪklə/ as incorrect.
  2. ‘well’ as an interjection is pronounced by PH as a weak-form. LPD3 calls this an “occasional” one. EPD18 makes no mention of a weak-form.
G. 0:25:7 [aɪ wəz wëʊkən baɪ ðə telɪfəʊn] ‘I was woken by the telephone’
  1. The pronunciation of ‘telephone’ with a medial /ɪ/ is the preferred variant in LPD3 and the only one offered by EPD18. JWL thinks that "[n]ot substituting /ə/ for /ɪ/ here is now praps [sic] a little bit "refained"-sounding."
H. 0:37:1 [ɪn fɪftiːn mɪnɪts frəm naː] ‘in fifteen minutes from now’
  1. In informal speech it’s quite normal to smoothe ‘now’.
I. 0:43:40 [wədəməɡəntə dhuː] ‘what am I going to do’
  1. The whole phrase is about 770 ms long; ‘what am I going to’ lasts about 500 ms.
  2. If you’re an advanced learner of English, you might want to say the phrase in less than 800 ms. Have a try!
J. 0:47:80 [nəʊ taɪm tə pʊdnɪ meɪkʌp ɒn] ‘no time to put any make-up on’
  1. JWL points to the reduction of ‘any’ in his blog; therefore I needn’t repeat it here.
  2. When you consult LPD3 you find this comment: “occasional weak form əni → ən‿ɪ”.
  3. EPD18 writes this: “In more rapid speech, and when preceded by an alveolar consonant, the first syllable may be reduced to syllabic /n̩/”.
K. 0:52:80 [aɪd rɪmembədtʊ] ‘I’d remembered to’
  1. Make sure you spot the /d/ in ‘I’d’ and, more importantly the past participle form of ‘remember’. The final /d/ of the latter word is not released but coalesces with the initial /t/ of the infinitival marker ‘to’. As a result, the hold stage is longer than if there had been only one stop.
L. 0:56:70 [neˑɡliʒeɪ] ‘negligée’
  1. This is an anglicised pronunciation of the French original /neɡliʒe/.
M. 1:00:0 [wɪʧ aɪ nɔːməli dɪdnt ʔevə duː] ‘which I normally didn’t ever do’
  1. The glottal stop is used here to place emphasis on ‘ever’.
N. 1:02:10 [aɪ rʌʃt̥daʊn ðə stɛːz] ‘I rushed down the stairs’
  1. Smoothing in ‘stairs’.
O. 1: [tɔː əkrɒs pɔːtlənd ple̝ɪs] ‘tore across Portland Place’
  1. JWL points to what, to my shame, had escaped my attention: PH does not insert a linking-r between ‘tore’ and ‘across’. The reasons may be threefold:
    1. JWL opines that it is a “a mark of people who feel some links are too inelegant for them to employ and tend to overdo the avoidances”.
    2. It may also be an attempt at avoiding to have two r-sounds too close together.
P. 1:10:0 [lʌkli wɪð əbaʊt ëʊ θriː ɔː fɔː mɪnɪts tə spɛː] ‘luckily with about, oh, three or four minutes to spare’
  1. Mark the weak-form of ‘luckily’.
  2. Mark also the monophthong in ‘spare’.
Q: 1:13:10 [gɒt ɪntð̥əstjuːdiəʊ] ‘got into the studio’
  1. The preposition is pronounced in a manner which results in a slightly complicated consonant cluster. The fricative displays progressive assimilation.
R. 1:26:50 [aɪd ɡëʊ hëʊm] ‘I’d go home’
  1. Make sure you spot the /d/ of the contraction ‘I’d’.
  2. There’s no need to draw your attention to the diphthonɡs, is there?

As we are about half way through the whole sound clip, I stop here. More to come soon.

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