Date: Sun, 30 Apr 1995 22:28:00 CDT
From: "Donald M. Lance" ENGDL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MIZZOU1.BITNET
Subject: Re: Why, and how we transcribe it
If you make a spectrogram of a native speaker of /hw-/ saying 'whine',
you'll find the same kind of delay of voice onset that you find in 'twine'
and 'slime' etc. That is, there is an initial /h-/, though the energy
level of the "aspiration" in /h/ is so low that there's no way to tell
whether the /w/ overlaps with the /h/ for 100% of the segment, but it is
clear that the /h/ does not extend through the entire articulation
(temporally) of the /w/. I've always suspected that the phonologists or
phoneticians who transcribe /hw-/ with the upside-down w or with a little
circle (for voicelessness) under the /w/ do not produce /hw-/ natively.
Yes, Bill, I agree that "voiceless w" is a bit of an oxymoron, in reference
to this particular consonant cluster--though that's not quite what you said.
There MIGHT be a voiceless /w/ in some language(s), but that's not what
I perceive in English, either when I say it or when I hear it. The
cluster, of course, is misspelled. Try over-articulating and say /h/
followed by /w/; then /w/ followed by /h/. The latter isn't even close
to anything we do with our articulators in English. As any good HEL book
will point out, the two letters were reversed after sh- and ch- became
so common in early Middle English spelling. And th-. DMLance