English palatal stop

Joe Tun   Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:15 am GMT
Does English have the palatal stop /c/? Please note that I have used the term 'stop' instead of 'plosive', because, though, the two terms are usually used interchangeably, they are not perfect synonyms. Therefore, my question is not about the palatal plosive /c/, but about the palatal stop /c/. The pronunciation of the word <soccer> is given as /'sɒk.əʳ/(Brit) /'sɑː.kɚ/ (US) by DJPD16-495 (Daniel Jones Pronouncing Dictionary, 16ed, p495). As far as the first syllable is concerned, my question is: Is it possible that the British pronunciation is /'sɒc/ instead of /'sɒk/? It should be noted that on DJPD16-x, the Table of English Consonants does not list a /c/ at all.

I am sorry because my message does not show up well. Since I am writing about phonetics I have to use a Unicode font, and all the characters do not show up on this forum.

Joe Tun,
Tun Institute of Learning, www.tuninst.net
Travis   Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:45 pm GMT
Some English dialects do have [c] as an allophone of /k/ before front vowels; note that such is different from having a distinct phoneme /c/ separate from /k/. Note that this does not apply to all English dialects; for instance, that here in southeastern Wisconsin lacks such fronting of /k/ before front vowels.

Also note that there are English dialects with not [c] but rather [t_j] and [k_j], which are not palatal but rather have a palatal coarticulation. The dialect here has both, due to both palatalization of coronals before /u/, /U/, /w/, and /@r/ and due to the palatalization of certain clusters in particular positions (such as /st/ in onsets and /ks/ in codas).
Joe Tun   Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:36 am GMT
Dear Travis
There are two transcriptions of English letter <k>: /k/ -- the broad transcription, and [k] and [kʰ] (k+Unicode 02B0) -- the narrow transcription. Please take notice of the brackets: <...> for regular English-Latin alphabet (English spoken language written in Latin script); /.../ for IPA broad transcription; [...] for IPA narrow transcriptions. My question is on /c/, the coda-consonant as given in the syllable /'sɒc/ (the vowel is Unicode 0252) of the word <soccer>. In this syllable, /c/ follows the checked back vowel /ɒ/ (Unicode 0252). What you have given as an allophone of /k/, is an onset consonant.
My apologies for not using SAMPA which always has given me trouble.
My present research is on rimes -- rather than on individual consonants and vowels -- of syllables of canonical form CVC found in Indic languages and languages which use the Brahmi derived scripts. The Brahmi and its sister scripts are phonemic scripts built on sound phonemic principles. They are abugidas or aksharas -- not alphabets. They have been in use for at least over 2000 years from the reign of Emperor Asoka of India. They are well ahead of IPA by a couple of thousand years. If you are interested in that type of research please be free to contact me: jtun@sympatico.ca , or please go into my website www.tuninst.net, and go into the section on Romabama, and again go into Grammar 2 (on Burmese-Myanmar grammar). The aim of my research is to see the possibility of using these scripts as an aid to teaching pronunciation to ESL learners from those areas which use the Brahmi-derived scripts.
Travis   Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:26 pm GMT
>>Dear Travis
There are two transcriptions of English letter <k>: /k/ -- the broad transcription, and [k] and [kʰ] (k+Unicode 02B0) -- the narrow transcription. Please take notice of the brackets: <...> for regular English-Latin alphabet (English spoken language written in Latin script); /.../ for IPA broad transcription; [...] for IPA narrow transcriptions. My question is on /c/, the coda-consonant as given in the syllable /'sɒc/ (the vowel is Unicode 0252) of the word <soccer>. In this syllable, /c/ follows the checked back vowel /ɒ/ (Unicode 0252). What you have given as an allophone of /k/, is an onset consonant.<<

I have never heard of [c] showing up in English dialects in positions not preceding front vowels; I would expect [ˈsɒ(ː)k], [ˈsɑ(ː)k], or [ˈsa(ː)k] for the first syllable in "soccer", not their counterparts [ˈsɒ(ː)c], [ˈsɑ(ː)c], or [ˈsa(ː)c], which I have never heard of being present in any English dialect.
Lazar   Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:57 pm GMT
<<Therefore, my question is not about the palatal plosive /c/, but about the palatal stop /c/.>>

They're the same thing: a plosive is a kind of stop.

<</.../ for IPA broad transcription; [...] for IPA narrow transcriptions.>>

No, /.../ is for phonemic transcription, and [...] is for phonetic transcription, no matter how broad or narrow.

<<Is it possible that the British pronunciation is /'sɒc/ instead of /'sɒk/?>>

To my knowledge, no dialect of English would use ['sɒc] instead of ['sɒk]. Where did you get the impression that it would be so?
Josh Lalonde   Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:56 pm GMT
<<To my knowledge, no dialect of English would use ['sɒc] instead of ['sɒk]. Where did you get the impression that it would be so?>>

Here's what Wells has to say:

"Palatal realizations of /k/ and /g/ are widespread in Ulster, particularly word-initially before a front or open vowel. In Belfast speech it is most noticeable in pronunciations such as 'cab', 'can', 'car' [cɑːɹ]. It seems to be untypical of the firmly Scots areas, and variable elsewhere in respect of the details of the conditioning environment. It has been claimed that in one Donegal locality, the pair 'back' and 'baulk' can be distinguished not by their vowels but by their final consonants, as [baːc] and [baːk]."

Seems like they would have [k] in 'soccer' though.
Joe Tun   Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:51 am GMT
Dear Josh Lalonde (Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:56 pm GMT)
Lazar  (Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:57 pm GMT),
and Travis   (Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:26 pm GMT)
<<To my knowledge, no dialect of English would use ['sɒc] instead of ['sɒk]. Where did you get the impression that it would be so?>>
That's exactly my position. I haven't heard of a [c] in English: not an onset-consonant, neither a coda-consonant. When I say I haven't heard that's just my impression. (I am a Canadian by citizenship living in Ontario, a Myanmar by birth. With an English-teacher mother, though my L1 is officially Burmese, I must have heard English since I was in her womb. I am now 74 speaking both Burmese and English all these long years. And I have lived in the US and Australia.) Please remember, I am a scientist and an engineer by training. We are never satisfied unless, what we "think" and "heard" -- our impressions -- have been physically measured. Has the question been put to actual measurements of formants? Since the places of articulations of [c] and [k] are very close, and what we/ve traditionally labelled "palatization" could very well be "velarization", or the other way round. To your question where did I get the impression, I would answer. I am interested in voice recognition and voice production -- not by humans (with their preceived ideas) but by machines. Moreover I am pretty deaf in one ear, and also have been "phoneme deaf" (similar to "colour blindness"), and I have found that what I "heard" may not be what others heard. I have to accept the fact that I am phoneme deaf, after being unable to transcribe the back vowels /o/, /ɔ/(U0254), /ɑ/ (U0251), and /ɒ/ (U0252). There are two vowel sounds very close to each other in northern Indic scripts and Myanmar. (Please note that they are phonetic scripts and they pretty well represent the sounds). I have to come up with the {au:} and {au} for them for Burmese-Myanmar. However, the Indian transcriptions are <O> and <Au>: ऒ (U0912) and ओ (U0913) for Hindi-Devanagari and ও (U0993) and ঔ (U0994) (Bangala-Bengali).
Travis   Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:32 pm GMT
>>Dear Josh Lalonde (Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:56 pm GMT)
Lazar (Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:57 pm GMT),
and Travis (Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:26 pm GMT)
<<To my knowledge, no dialect of English would use ['sɒc] instead of ['sɒk]. Where did you get the impression that it would be so?>>
That's exactly my position. I haven't heard of a [c] in English: not an onset-consonant, neither a coda-consonant. When I say I haven't heard that's just my impression.<<

Such is documented in literature, but it is just an aspect of certain dialects, which you very well may have never heard.

>>(I am a Canadian by citizenship living in Ontario, a Myanmar by birth. With an English-teacher mother, though my L1 is officially Burmese, I must have heard English since I was in her womb. I am now 74 speaking both Burmese and English all these long years. And I have lived in the US and Australia.) Please remember, I am a scientist and an engineer by training. We are never satisfied unless, what we "think" and "heard" -- our impressions -- have been physically measured. Has the question been put to actual measurements of formants? Since the places of articulations of [c] and [k] are very close, and what we/ve traditionally labelled "palatization" could very well be "velarization", or the other way round.<<

Well, [k] > [c] would definitely be palatalization, as [k] is already velar, and is far more common than [c] even in English dialects with such, with [c] being limited to environments where palatalization would be expected.

>>To your question where did I get the impression, I would answer. I am interested in voice recognition and voice production -- not by humans (with their preceived ideas) but by machines. Moreover I am pretty deaf in one ear, and also have been "phoneme deaf" (similar to "colour blindness"), and I have found that what I "heard" may not be what others heard. I have to accept the fact that I am phoneme deaf, after being unable to transcribe the back vowels /o/, /ɔ/(U0254), /ɑ/ (U0251), and /ɒ/ (U0252). There are two vowel sounds very close to each other in northern Indic scripts and Myanmar. (Please note that they are phonetic scripts and they pretty well represent the sounds). I have to come up with the {au:} and {au} for them for Burmese-Myanmar. However, the Indian transcriptions are <O> and <Au>: ऒ (U0912) and ओ (U0913) for Hindi-Devanagari and ও (U0993) and ঔ (U0994) (Bangala-Bengali).<<

Mind you that very many if not most people cannot make out differences between sounds which do not correspond to phoneme distinctions in their native language(s) to begin with; consequently, it is not surprising at all that you cannot easily distinguish [ɔ], [ɑ], and [ɒ].