Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1993 00:14:24 CST
From: "Donald M. Lance" ENGDL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MIZZOU1.BITNET
Subject: Re: th/dh
I hear [hawsIs] from all sorts of people. When I first noticed it in my
Texas nephews' speech I thought it might have been from Chicano influence,
but I've since decided that's not the case at all. The same people who
have /s/ in the plural of house also tend to keep the voiceless fricative
in the plural of bath. I think the pattern is being lost. It's not just
spelling pronunciation. Many of my students say they say the -t- in
soften as well as often, but not after other vowels. They might say the
-t- in glisten but not in listen, so in this case spelling is a culprit.
What's being said about th/dh, I think, explains why so many students have so
much trouble transcribing these words. Make up any new word and you'll find
that the Old English pattern still exerts some influence on the system.
Thuke would have to have a voiceless consonant, but voother could analogize to
either or to ether. I ask my students to make up words when we're discussing
this matter. Often someone will make up a word like thuke and say it with the
voiced consonant. I don't repeat the word but immediately ask the class to
repeat the word. Only those sitting next to the neologizer will say the
word with the voiced fricative. For the final -th/dh, of course, spelling
isn't a culprit that causes bad things but is an aid--for verbs, that is, but
not for plurals of nouns. And have y'all come across the technical term in
nursing -- to bath a baby -- in which the voiceless fricative is used?