Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 13:37:50 -0400 From: Jules Levin Subject: Re: hypercorrect intervocalic /t/ At 01:11 PM 4/16/97 -0400, you wrote: >I watched a fourth grade play yesterday in which the teacher had taught the >children to enunciate clearly, which often means they're supposed to aspirate >words spelled t wherever they occur (a practice I abhor because it doesn't >sound like Am. Eng. anymore). So words like letter, better, getting all had >aspirated t. I felt a certain sense of triumph when one girl also used one >in "shadow." > >This reminds me of a friend who pronounced Beethoven with a voiced flap, and >as I think about it, it seems that in that word the normal (for me) aspirated >t is really quite unique when not after a morpheme boundary (pretext, >pretense). Are there any other intervocalic aspirate Ts? > I think that stresses play a critical role. For some speakers/dialects (?) /t/ is flapped only before an unstressed syllable. ('atom') At the other end, everyone aspirates between unstressed and fully stressed: ('attend') Compare the two t's in 'attitude'. In between there are variations. With two unreduced vowels I generally do not have a flap, e.g., in 'atoll' I venture a guess that your friend also reduces the 'o' in Beethoven to a schwa. I once had a student in a ling class transcribe 'hotdog' as [h'ad[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]g] When I checked, sure enuf that's how she pronounced it. By the way, similar variation exists when /t/ is followed by an /n/: In my original Chicago dialect I had a full aspirated [t] in 'enter' etc., but here is SoCal one hardly ever hears it. I sometimes think there is a vestigial flap after the /n/, but it is hard to hear. The minimal pair for most speakers would be 'enter' and 'inner' and they seem to have merged. Jules Levin