Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 10:52:00 -0800
From: Johanna Rubba jrubba[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]POLYMAIL.CPUNIX.CALPOLY.EDU
Subject: Re: Phonetic transcription--help
The 'vowel space' -- the empty area of the mouth in which the tongue
positions itself for vowel sounds -- allows for very fine gradations, and
this often makes it difficult to pin down a vowel. I have terrible
difficulty placing my students' mid-lo back rounded/unrounded vowel (an
'open o' for us East-Coasters); I'm convinced it's in between open o and
There is, however, a recognized symbol for a vowel between [ae] and [a];
it is not available on this font. It's the version of the letter a that
you usually see in print -- the one with the little curl over the little
balloon (very technical description, you see). Someone more savvy may
actually know the name of this letter.
In my experience studying languages and dialects, this vowel is often used
to transcribe the French /a/, and the /a/ that occurs in certain r-less
dialects, like those of Massachusetts, in words like 'park'. This may be
the vowel you want, or close enough anyway.
I don't have the reference handy, but there is a well-known set of tapes
with accompanying text materials for sounds of the world's languages.
Maybe someone else on the list knows of this. A lot of U. libraries carry
this, and it could help you identify strange-sounding vowels.
Johanna Rubba Assistant Professor, Linguistics ~
English Department, California Polytechnic State University ~
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 ~
Tel. (805)-756-2184 E-mail: jrubba[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]polymail.calpoly.edu ~