Date: Wed, 8 Mar 1995 08:39:32 -0500 From: "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." Subject: Naturalness Dennis Preston asks what I have against naturalness. I wear ties; Dinnis does not. Ties are natural for me; they are not for Dinnis. I don't understand why Dinnis should be allowed to tell me whether ties are natural or not; I also don't understand why I should be allowed to tell Dinnis that "Dinnis" is unnatural and that "Dennis" is the natural thing:). If naturalness is taken to mean "less energy in articulation", then people should *say* "less energy in articulation", because some speech sounds seem perfectly natural for their speakers and at the same time require lots of energy in articulation. The general problem with explanations for change like "naturalness" or "analogy" (I could make an argument similar to ties and T-shirts for that one, too) is that they are too powerful. I don't think we gain much by saying, "Hey, that pronunciation seems more natural to me" or "Hey, that form looks like the other ones in a paradigm". I would rather try to find explanations for change that were better at predicting (even ex post facto) why some eligible forms change and some don't. I find this a fascinating point for discussion, especially since I've been doing Labov's new book on change and Milroy's *Linguistic Variation and Change* with my variation classes this quarter. Regards, Bill ****************************************************************************** Bill Kretzschmar Phone: 706-542-2246 Dept. of English FAX: 706-542-2181 University of Georgia Internet: billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Athens, GA 30602-6205 Bitnet: wakjengl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]uga