Friday 27 July 2012

Thank you - Brideshead Revisited

Stimulated by me [sic] own blog of the 18th of July I listened to some randomly selected sections of the ITV series Brideshead Revisited of 1981. 

In the final episode – it’s episode 11 entitled ‘Brideshead Revisited’, which echoes the title of the whole series – , Lord Marchmain, who is terminally ill, returns to his ancestral home to die. In one scene, Julia Flyte (played by the actress Diana Quick) thanks the doctor for his opinion on the health status of Lord M. by saying: “Thank you for your advice, doctor.” Listen to the initial sound of the word ‘thank’: 

Here's the waveform for /θæŋ/:

The interesting part is the first 40 msec of the word. Is it a /t/ or a /θ/? I favour /θ/.

The reader is referred to Jack Windsor Lewis's blog post 001, in which the author opts for a /t/.


  1. May I quote the last paragraph of my very first blog date 1st December 08:
    Although mainstream English-speakers regularly exhibit un-fronted dental articulations for their "th"sounds, they quite often may be heard to use stops rather than fricatives especially in strongly emphatic utterances. Those who have a copy of one of the best-ever British tv film dramas, Brideshead Revisited, may hear Diana Quick as Lady Julia produce a strong dental plosive at the beginning of "Thank you for your advice, doctor" in its final episode. And anyone who might have the first of the treasurable recordings that J. D. O'Connor & G. F. Arnold made of their controversial but stimulating Intonation of Colloquial English (long out of print except in Japan) may hear the same beginning to "Thank you" after the context "Will you have a drink?". An understandable context for such a delivery.

    1. @JWL: Thanks for drawing my attention to this blog post of yours. I'm gonna try and find the sound tracks accompanying O'Connor & Arnold's book

  2. Sorry but the date of that blog 001 shdve been 2006.
    Incidentally it was Doc O'Connor who was the one accepting the drink so "thankfully" — a touching reminder to me of the hours he and I spent together in that very context. He wd never respond to my turning the subject to "shop" (ie phonetics) until I'd had enough rum to be less than fully in command of my arguments.
    For anyone who isnt familiar with the term 'dental fricative fronting' the change so referred to is from θ to f.
    The 1980s British Channel 4 tv series Brideshead Revisited is happily still available on DVDs. Highly recommended.
    John Gielgud is hilariously funny in it. And Jeremy Irons is superb. I offen 'revisit' it and it never pales.

    1. By the way, for anyone who wants to hear Doc's dental plosive version paralinguisticly modified to presumably suggest the deep gratitude of a dry-throated companion who's been uncomfortably long denied his tipple, the source for those lucky enuff to have access to the earlier recording of the O'Connor & Arnold Intonation of Colloquial English it occurs beginning a drill sentence of Tone Group 3 at the earlier asterisk at the top of page 115 of the Urtext.