Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 00:20:38 -0500


Subject: h as voiceless vowel

OK, let's try another approach. If you define consonants as involving a supra-laryngeal

constriction, /h/ isn't a consonant; its constriction, such as it is, is at the larynx. The noise source

for (voiced) vowels is, roughly, produced by the periodic, mostly regular, vibration of the vocal

folds. The noise source for /h/ is turbulent air flow through the vocal folds. The shape of the

upper vocal tract is roughly the same for /h/ as for the following vowel, as the shape of the upper

vocal tract is controlled independently from the configuration of the vocal folds. So, just as the

upper vocal tract is in a different configuration for /i/ in _he_ than it is for /u/ in _who_, it differs

in comparable ways during the two /h/ sounds in _he_ and _who_.

Where the aspiration comes in is that in [thi] _tea_ and [thu] _two_, there is a lag following the

release of the oral closure in the two instances of /t/ and the onset of periodic vocal fold vibration

for the following vowels. During this interval of aspiration, the upper vocal tract is moving from

the position required for /t/ and that required for the vowels, so the aspiration intervals are

acoustically different in the two contexts. And they are different in comparable ways to those in

which the two instances of /h/ differ. It's not physiologically necessary that this voicing

lag/aspiration intervene between consonant release and vowel; as Terry notes, there are

languages which contrast voiceless aspirated from unaspirated stops, and there are, in addition,

many languages in which voiceless stops are not obligatorily aspirated. However, if there is

aspiration, it *is* necessarily the case that the acoustic qualities of the aspiration will match

those of the following vowel to at least some extent.

Despite the phonetic facts, it might be claimed that /h/ patterns phonologically like consonants

rather than vowels, in that it acts as syllable onset rather than syllable nucleus. However, it does

not pattern completely as a consonant, given that it doesn't appear in coda position (whence the

old argument as to whether [h] and [ng] be considered the same phoneme, due to their being in

complementary distribution), and it doesn't appear in clusters, (unless, of course, [th] is analyzed

as a phonological cluster of voiceless stop + /h/).

And, just for grins, in Sound Pattern of English, _h_ and _?_ are [+sonorant, -consonantal,

-vocalic]. In contrast, Ladefoged, in _Preliminaries to Linguistic Phonetics_ treats glottal as a

place of articulation like dental, bilabial, etc.

Alice Faber


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 00:28:14 -0600


Subject: Re: hypercorrection

Ellen Johnson wrote on Feb 28: A couple more examples of hypercorrection in grammar,

where it is much easier to say what is the "correct" form: Whom in subject position,

"between you and I".

The "between you and I" syndrome has been around for some time. Several weeks ago, I was

reading an edition of the chronicles of Silas Claiborne Turnbo (b. 1844), an Ozarker from the

Mo/Ark area between Harrison and Branson who wrote down stories from old-timers in the late

19th century. (I'd be astonished if any of you ever heard of him, other than perhaps Bethany

Dumas, who did research in that region, but his papers weren't yet in the Springfield library

when she was doing her interviewing.) Having had less than a year of formal education, he has

lots of folk verb forms, but he never does the "between you and I" bit -- except in one very

interesting place. When he is telling a story about a la-ti-da outsider (for Leslie Dunkling,

la-di-da), he has him say something like "He wanted I and my wife to do xyz." There are other

nuances, with Ozarker subtlety that Bethany would appreciate, that superior airs don't work well

in the Ozarks; the outsider doesn't seem to catch on, but Turnbo doesn't make a fuss over it. I

failed to mark the spot, but I'll be able to find it when I revisit the book later to do a review.

Also, I recently heard the director of the composition program at some unnamed Midwestern

university use a "between you and I" structure the other day.

And almost every day I hear a news person say something like "He wouldn't say whom he

thought should have responded to the call." And almost every day I see 'every day' written as

'everyday' even when it doesn't mean 'everyday'.

English departments in colleges as well as high schools, nor journalism departments, just don't

teach parsing anymore. Well, la ti da! Anymore they don't. The people who commit these

"blunders," as they were called in the 1940s, may simply be using serial position rather than

syntactic function as a cue and not consciously trying to be overly correct. That is, they're

following an "interlanguage" grammar rule (inter - between standard and student language):

"When saying two pronouns or an NP and a pronoun before any verb, use the 'I' or 'he' form." Is

the individual speaker in situ being "correct" or using an internalized grammar? From a

meta-linguistic point of view this is hypercorrection, but what is happening at the individual

micro level at that specific moment? I don't think people monitor themselves all that closely.


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 01:27:08 -0600


Subject: Re: /h/ as a vowel?!? -Reply

On Fri, 28 Feb 1997, Mark Mandel wrote:

Odd as it seems, it is phonetically correct. How do you articulate AmE [t]? To

end, release the tongue-alveolar seal and proceed to the next phone. How do you

articulate AmE [h]? To end, start vibrating the vocal cords for the vowel. Voila: you

have articulated a vowel, first voiceless and then voiced.

Later the same day Terry Irons wrote:

Am I the only one here puzzled by this explanation?

I assume that phonetically a vowel is an unimpeded voiced flow of air and that

phonologically it is the core of a syllable. I dont see how [h] falls into either of these


Very early the next morning, Donald M. Lance writes:

I'm not puzzled by the explantion. I am disturbed by it. I don't think Mark was talking about

aspirated vs unaspirated stops. He was drawing an analogy between the articulations of two

consonants without regard to nonessential phonetic detail. (This part didn't distrub me.) A

puzzle regarding voiceless stops is whether aspiration is the critical feature or whether

voice-onset time (VOT) is -- that is, delay of voice onset, which then allows for the aspiration.

Lots of languages have unaspirated voicelss consonants, such as Spanish or French, but Thai has

phonemic aspirated and unaspirated voicelss consonants and consequently Thai unasp vl t

doesn't sound like the Romance unasp vl t -- presence or absence of aspiration not being the

only, perhaps not even the most important, feature. The lenis/fortis opposition operates

differently in all these languages as well. Also laryngeal movement in the transition from

consonant to vowel. Having had a number of Thai and Spanish- and French-speaking students

who did constrastive analyses for my TESL classes, I've heard these consonants and speak from

experience rather than from textbook definitions.

Terry has pointed out what is crucial about vowels. They provide the energy peak for a syllable.

/h/, /w/, /j/ don't. Likewise /r/ in syllable-initial position. They are consonants distributionally

and articulatorily; they do not carry the load of syllabicity.

I've had a number of Japanese students who've done (and demonstrated orally) contrastive

analyses in which voiceless vowels occur. The city names Fukuoka and Kitakyushu have

voiceless vowels in the first syllable because there are more than two syllables and the vowel is

between voiceless consonants. These two voiceless vowels sound different because of lip and

tongue configuration. Americans may think they hear a consonant cluster, but the Japanese

speaker has a slight vowel between the consonants.

Consider what happens to the /h/ before different vowels in English or 'jota' in Spanish. Before

/i/, as in 'here', the /h/ may be realized as what is transcribed with c-cedilla, the "ichlaut" sound

in German; before /u/ it's quite different.


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 05:14:40 -0500


Subject: Re: hypercorrection

At 12:28 AM 3/1/97 -0600, Donald Lance wrote:

That is, they're following an "interlanguage" grammar rule (inter - between standard and

student language): "When saying two pronouns or an NP and a pronoun before any verb, use

the 'I' or 'he' form."

Actually, it seems to me that the basic rule is "With a sole pronoun, use the subject form in the

subject position; use the object form elsewhere. When the pronoun is conjoined, do the

opposite: use the object form in the subject position and the subject form in the object position."

Interesting rule. The "hypercorrected" rule then becomes "When the pronoun is conjoined,

always use the subject form." This *simpler* rule results in more reinforcement from English

teachers, maybe because subjects are more frequent than objects.

David Johns Waycross College Waycross, GA


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 05:40:51 -0500

From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Slang for a Saturday (1881 Stage Slang)

This article is a show-stopper (in a way). I don't have the original, but it was copied in the

Washington Post, 13 March 1881, pg. 3, col. 5:

THE SLANG OF THE STAGE. How Actors and Actresses Distort the Vernacular.

From the New York Tribune. The greater part of the slang used by actors is such as is

familiar to every one. But they possess a large number of terms which are unknown to the

outside world. The majority of these may be classed under the head of technicalities; but many

of them are arbitrary terms whose origin and reason for existence are puzzles. Indeed, it is

probable that the most perservering etymologist would find it an overwhelming task to trace the

derivation of any word that may be classed as theatrical slang, with the exception, perhaps, of a

few simple technical terms. The usage and special meaning of theatrical slang, however, are

easy to ascertain, and are not without some interest and amusement. The general term used to

designate an actor is "fakir," a word which originally meant magician. From it is coined the

verb "fake," which means to imitate or sham. Few actors are willing to acknowledge that other

actors are good; hence the slang of the theatre abounds in terms used to designate bad actors. Of

these the most frequent are "duffer," "snide actor" and "bum actor." The "variety" player is

looked down upon by the legitimate actor and is called a "ham." Actors are like sailors; they

always believe the failure of a play is due to the presence of some unfortunate performer, and

he is accordingly called a "Jonah." To all companies, actors, plays and theatres that are not up

to the standard of excellence the epithets "queer," "tart" and "off color" are applied. Fair

woman, when not an adept in art, is called a "dizzy dame." The society actor, whose triumphs

are generally made in elaborate drawing-room "sets," is called a "dress-coat actor," in

distinction from the actor of Shakespearean and other standard dramas, who belongs to the

"legitimate," and is generally regarded as an "old-timer." The expressions used on the stage

itself in reference to stage business are numerous. When anything is intentionally omitted from

the text of a play it is said to be "cut." If an actor forgets his lines, and stops to think, he is said

to be "stick." One who bellows his words at the top of his voice, and tears a passion to tatters, is

a "spouter," a "ranter" or a "howler," and is believed to be in the habit of "eating scenes." If in

addition to ranting he indulges in over-elaborate elocution he is a "mouther." A comedian who

depends upon unnatural grimaces to evoke the laughter of the multitude is said to "mug." One

who make a specialty of disguising his face in some hideous manner is said to "mug up."

Sometimes an actor is displeased with the part allotted to him, and revenges himself upon the

manager by "guying;" that is, by making fun of his role. "Guying" also applies to the act of

introducing funny "business" into a part for the purpose of making other persons on the stage

laugh. Some actors have a habit of interpolating expressions of their own into the text. One

who does that "gags." These extempore phrases often please the audience, but as a general thing

the other members of the company think they are simply "rot." The curtain is often called the

"rag," and the actor's delight is to see this "rag" dropped at the end of a long performance.

However, he seldom grumbles if his part be full of telling speeches, in which case it is "fat."

The action on the stage is known as "business," which term is always shortened into "biz." If an

actor forgets his lines the prompter has to assist him, and accordingly is requested to "throw the

word." The actor always knows his turn to speak from the last three or four words of the speech

before his, which is called the "cue." Often when it is found that a performance is dragging out

its weary length to an intolerably lat hour, the actors are requested to "come down to cues;" in

which case the unfortunate author,if he is present, is made miserable by hearing many of his pet

speeches mangled almost beyond recognition. Almost every one who attends the theatre often

will notice that an actor, after saying something very emphatic or astonishingly heroic, struts

proudly down toward one corner of the stage. This signifactn movement is called "taking

stage," and forms no litle part of the routine of stage business. The brotherhood of actors call

themselves "the profession," in distinction from all other persons, who are simply "outsiders."

Outsiders are generally looked upon as "gillies," a class of beings best described by the

common slang term "fresh." The outsider who has any acquaintance with theatrical persons

invariably "braces" them for passes. If he obtains them, becomes a "deadhead." A man who

makes a business of getting into theatres for nothing, is known as a "beat." Some of these

persons are very young men of wealth and of fashionable families, who think it a fine thing to

be on familiar terms with some well-known actor. The actor usually permits the young man to

play for suppers and wine, calls him a good fellow, and, in short, "plays him for a sucker;"

which means, he gets all he can from his young friend and gives nothing in return. After all,

however, the aim of the actor's existence is to "hog 'em;" that is to carry away his audience by

the power and beauty of his art.


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 20:20:31 +0900


Subject: Re: /h/ as a vowel?!? -Reply

Donald M. Lance wrote:

Consider what happens to the /h/ before different vowels in English or

'jota' in Spanish. Before /i/, as in 'here', the /h/ may be realized as

what is transcribed with c-cedilla, the "ichlaut" sound in German; before

/u/ it's quite different.

There's been a lot of talk about Japanese, so I'll just throw in this

tidbit. The above phenomenon occurs in most dialects of (including

standard) Japanese as well. So you have the sequence:

/ha, hi, hu, he, ho/

realized phonetically as:

[ha, ci, fu, he, ho]

where "ci" represents the sound described above. (the "fu" is actually

a voiceless bilabial fricative, written with that "PHI" thing) There

is also, incidentally, a loss of contrast between /si/ and /hi/ in Tokyo

where they are more likely to be phonetically (closer to) [ESH i], and in

Osaka where they are closer to [c-cedilla i]. There are jokes about

people from Tokyo saying "hio shi gari" for "shio hi gari" (gathering

shellfish at low tide).

Danny Long (who finally got to answer a question instead of ask one! . .

. But come to think of it, nobody asked. damn.)

(Dr.) Daniel Long, Associate Professor

Japanese Language Research Center

Osaka Shoin Women's College

4-2-26 Hishiyanishi

Higashi-Osaka-shi, Osaka Japan 577

tel and fax +81-6-729-1831

email dlong[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 08:13:12 -0700


Subject: adverbs

I have a question. Are adverbs dying in spoken English?

Ellen S. Polsky (Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]Colorado.EDU)


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 10:34:34 -0500


Subject: Re: adverbs

Are adverbs disappearing? As if!... (read: definiteLY not!) maybe they're just changing their


Peggy Smith


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 11:19:08 -0500

From: "Johnnie A. Renick" Tenderrite[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Re: adverbs

In a message dated 97-03-01 10:14:56 EST, Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]COLORADO.EDU (POLSKY

ELLEN S) writes:

I have a question. Are adverbs dying in spoken English?

Ellen S. Polsky (Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]Colorado.EDU)



Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 13:09:57 -0600 From: Barbara Need


I have a question. Are adverbs dying in spoken English?

Can you be more specific? What do you consider evidence that they ARE dying?

Barbara Need

University of Chicago--Linguistics


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 13:17:05 -0600


Subject: Re: adverbs

In a message dated 97-03-01 10:14:56 EST, Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]COLORADO.EDU (POLSKY

ELLEN S) writes:

I have a question. Are adverbs dying in spoken English? Ellen S. Polsky

(Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]Colorado.EDU) Then Johnnie A. Renick Sat, 1 Mar 1997 11:19:08 wrote:


Hardly. It's just that some people get a little freaky when they hear someone else using flat

adverbs from nineteenth-century English or adjectival complements without adding -ly. Back in

the beginning, not all "manner adverbs" had the suffix '-lic'. Some people just take a long time

learning how the cognicenti now know God intended us to use the language. Some of the forms

that look like manner adverbs were instrumental adjectives in earlier forms of the language (I

feel bad. Dig deep into your pocket for a little change so I can have a cup of coffee"). One who

feels badly does a bad job of feeling whatever one feels. How would one dig in a deep manner

into one's pocket? We gotta root out all that old stuff in contemporary language.

(Sorry about the diatribe.)


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 10:59:55 -0800


Subject: No problemo!

I noticed that there is a usage of attaching -o at the end of expressions or names, such as "No

problemo!" and "Bob-o". What is this -o doing? How productive is this? Are there expressions

other than the above that often go with this -o attachment?

Teruhiko FUKAYA


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 15:12:56 -0500

From: Ron Butters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Re: No problemo!

Whatever the -o ending is doing today, it has been around for a long time. In the late 1960s one

of my older colleagues (then in her 60s) addressed me as "dear-o"; "Daddy-o" was a popular

slang term of address in the 1950s.


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 15:16:52 -0500

From: Ron Butters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Fwd: Between you and I

Can anyone answer John's question? As I recall, Dennis Baron has written on this subject.


Forwarded message:

From: singler[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] (John V. Singler)

To: amspeech[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] (Ron Butters)

Date: 97-02-25 18:16:39 EST

Hi Ron, My students are looking at pronoun selection in coordinate NP's in English,

specifically in object cases. Are you aware of any work in American Speech or elsewhere on

the shift from objective to nominative in pronoun selection in American English? Hope you're






John Singler singler[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Department of Linguistics phone: 212-998-7959

New York University fax: 212-995-4707

719 Broadway, #501

New York, NY 10003


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 15:16:58 -0500

From: Ron Butters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Re: indefinite pronouns

For more than

30 years, I have said and

written and copyedited only

that form. When

resuming "anyone" and "everyone,"

there is almost always not

even a pre-' scriptive constraint

.against using "they"

As George Jochnowitz observed in AMERICAN SPEECH a number of years ago,

nobody ever asks "*Everybody likes pizza, doesn't he or she?"--let alone

"*Everyone likes pizza, doesn't one?" ONLY " . . . don't they?" is "correct."


Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 15:16:39 -0500


Subject: Re: No problemo!

ron butters said:

Whatever the -o ending is doing today, it has been around for a long time. In

the late 1960s one of my older colleagues (then in her 60s) addressed me as

"dear-o"; "Daddy-o" was a popular slang term of address in the 1950s.

but the -o in "no problemo" is a different thing. it's spanish,

which contributes a lot of slang to american english, such as women

affectionately addressing each other as "chica", using "mucho" as an

intensifier, etc.