Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995 17:55:09 -0400 From: "H. Stephen Straight (Binghamton U, SUNY)" Subject: Re: Why, and how we transcribe it As one of those who claim that the voiceless labiovelar glide ["turned" W] differs (phonetically?/phonemically?) from a sequence of voiceless glottal spirant and voiced labiovelar glide [hw], I feel obliged to respond to Bill Kretzschmar's comment that he > had never thought > of this as a voiced/unvoiced contrast because I always thought that the > /w/ was +voice, whether or not an initial aspirate was present. Is there > acoustic or other evidence to support one side or the other? Or is the > difference in notation simply a residue of the segmental-phonology wars of > the 50s and 60s. I hear two differences between the voiceless-segment versus the cluster renditions, though I'll concede up front that they reside at the two poles of a phonetic continuum, and that I know of no lexical contrast that employs the two, so I guess they're allophones of a single phonemic unit (whether a segment or a cluster). The two differences are those implied by the transcriptional contrast: The voiceless glide is shorter and induces initial voicelessness on a following vowel, while the (longer) cluster exhibits voicing in the [w] portion with a clear formant-transition voicing into the following vowel. Sociolinguistically, though, my less-than-systematic conclusion is that [hw] is found only in the speech of those for whom the w/wh contrast is dead or dying, and only in words for which there exists a minimal pair that they are trying to preserve (wail/whale, wet/whet, wile/while, wine/whine, wit/whit, and, rarely, wen/when, wear/where, weather/whether--the wh-words having been among the first to "lose their h", so to speak). Reactions invited! H STEPHEN STRAIGHT, Assoc Prof of Anthro & of Ling, Binghamton Univ (SUNY) Director: Grad Studies in Anthro, Prog in Ling, and Lgs Across the Curric MAIL: Box 6000, Bing, NY 13902-6000; 24-hr vmail: 607-777-2824; fax: -2477 EMAIL: or