"chewing gum" effect
>>I live in Reno, Nv, and I've heard "byack" many times; in that unofficial field work I was doing, it cropped up several times in Western speakers. It's possible that it's wider spread in the West than in the North!!<<
Are you sure these weren't emigres from the Inland North, as very many people have moved to other parts of the US from there in the last fity years?
Good question, Travis.
Unfortunately, I threw away my original notes; I'm having to quote from memory.
It's frustrating not to have the vocabulary to explain exactly what I'm hearing. I can help with an analogy.
Remember we talked about Wisconsonite monophthongization of long-O in "boat"? It's almost a pure Germanic long-O (I think it's very pleasant). Now, for a moment, try to imagine how a GA speaker says that same word; it's not really a dipthong, but not a monopthong, either--somewhere between. Is it "boh-oot"? The final sound is VERY brief.
Similarly, in the "by-aahk" I hear, the Y sound (really "ee") is very brief; most people would probably not hear it, Travis, but you certainly would, with your level of intelligence and learning. It's not as long an "ee" sound as the NCVS "ee-and".
The people I remember saying "by-ack" were--if my memory serves me correctly--from the Northern tier of the West. The native Renoites had the most pronounced one, but I heard it in others, too--but not Californians. Is it possible it's a feature of the Rocky Mountain dialect? I don't know.
Anyway, these added "ee"s in GA speech--from various parts of the US, spoken in oftentimes different ways--are what give it the "chewing-gum" effect, the "ee"/"y" sound being inherently cloying.
This is not to let Southerners off the hook! Some of the tripthongization in that dialect is very unpleasant; I once heard a hillbilly tripthongize the word "man"-- no joke! It sounded horrible.
Now, I guess I've pissed off every American on the board...
>>Remember we talked about Wisconsonite monophthongization of long-O in "boat"? It's almost a pure Germanic long-O (I think it's very pleasant). Now, for a moment, try to imagine how a GA speaker says that same word; it's not really a dipthong, but not a monopthong, either--somewhere between. Is it "boh-oot"? The final sound is VERY brief.<<
Such is a diphthong, but a rather narrow one, with only a small degree of change in POA occurring (in this case a small degree of closure of the mouth). Such is akin to how very many people here, and in particular middle aged people, have a narrow dipthong [ɛ̯æ] for stressed historical /æ/ rather than the more marked [e̯æ] or [i̯æ] which show up with more frequency in the speech of younger people here
Travis, I have noticed, in my own speech, a tendency to dipthongize the short-a in words like "can"; I've picked this up through osmosis.
If you want to hear it, I could post a speech sample, if you'd be kind enough to show me how.
>>Travis, I have noticed, in my own speech, a tendency to dipthongize the short-a in words like "can"; I've picked this up through osmosis.
If you want to hear it, I could post a speech sample, if you'd be kind enough to show me how.<<
It should be noted that it is very common for NAE dialects to diphthongize historical /æ/ before certain consonants, especially /n/, which is likely what you have here. The difference between that and the NCVS is that the raising/diphthongization that occurs with the NCVS is unconditional, and is associated with other shifts such as the fronting of historical /ɑ/.
As a non-American, non-native speaker, I tend to agree with Josh. Those (mostly foreigners) who describe American accents as being nasal or lazy, or "gum-chewing" are most likely not using those terms with any phonetic or articulatory meaning. Descriptions of accents by laymen is fraught with poetic and metaphoric descriptions that generally reflect the stereotypical view of the speaker described.
Thus we hear that the British RP speaker has a "plummy" voice and the American mid-westerner is "nasal", and the southerner is "lazy", or that someone has "round vowels" or "flat vowels".
Gabriel, why, of course!
We learn certain speech patterns through neuron development in our childhood; anything outside that framework is perceived through the filters of those neurons.
Whoever said that these perceptions weren't subjective?
<<(If you think of the way an Englishman speaks, you will realize they open their mouths a lot wider to articulate than we do.) >>
Remember that the original poster said that a German make the chewing gum remark.
Now think of how a German or German speaking person sounds to us (Arnold Schwarzenegger for example). Take: "I'm going to Pump you up [hehe]" and say it like he says it. Now try it with your usual American accent. See the difference?
Germans speak with the words being formed very forward in their mouths. You almost have to protrude your lips (sorta like a chimp [no disrespectful allusions there]) and talk with your teeth it seems.
Now Americans are very lax and use the back of their throat and their nasal cavity...it DOES sound (at least to *their* ears) that we are "swallowing" out words. It has nothing to do with diphthongs...
that should be: "that a German made the chewing gum remark" and "that we are "swallowing" our words
Skippy : « Does it have something to do with diphthongizing everything? ».
Oui, mais seulement en partie : l'allemand et l'anglais "classique", deux langues extrêmement diphtonguées, ne produisent pas du tout l'effet "chewing-gum".
Lazar : « Is it because of the prevalence of [ɹ], which often has some velarization? ».
Ça joue un rôle aussi. Tout comme /ɾ/ dans <better>. Et aussi : <Atlanta> → "Atlanna", <winter> → "winner", <Cincinnati> → "Cincinnadi", <pity> → "pidy" etc.
Mais je pense que la nasalisation et l'intonation ont également un impact non négligeable.
>>Ça joue un rôle aussi. Tout comme /ɾ/ dans <better>. Et aussi : <Atlanta> → "Atlanna", <winter> → "winner", <Cincinnati> → "Cincinnadi", <pity> → "pidy" etc.<<
The matter is those are not necessarily true in NAE to begin with. I am biased by my own dialect, of course, but to me none of those pairs are homophones, as in:
Atlanta: [ɛ̞ɾ̥ˈɰɛ̯̃æ̃ɾ̃əː] or [ɛ̞ɾ̥ˈɰɛ̯̃æ̃ːə̯̃]
"Atlanna": [ɛ̞ɾ̥ˈɰɛ̯̃æ̃ːnəː] or [ɛ̞ɾ̥ˈɰɛ̯̃æ̃ːːə̯̃]
winter: [ˈwɪ̃ɾ̃ʁ̩ː], [ˈwɪ̃ʁ̩ː], or [ˈwɪ̃ːʁ]
winner: [ˈwɪ̃ːnʁ̩ː], [ˈwɪ̃ːʁ̩ː], or [ˈwɪ̃ːːʁ]
Cincinnati: [sɨ̃ntsɨ̃ːˈnɛ̯æɾ̥iː] or [sɨ̃ntsɨ̃ːˈnɛ̯æːi̯]
"Cincinnadi": [sɨ̃ntsɨ̃ːˈnɛ̯æːɾiː] or [sɨ̃ntsɨ̃ːˈnɛ̯æːːi̯]
pity: [ˈpʰɪɾ̥iː] or [ˈpʰɪːi̯]
"pidy": [ˈpʰɪːɾiː] [ˈpʰɪːːi̯]
Of course, my dialect is weird in that it puts much more emphasis on vowel length than the typical NAE dialect, and it preserves the difference between intervocalic /t/ and /d/ and intervocalic /n/ and /nt/ better than the average NAE dialect, but still... Trying to spell out how such words superficially sound to non-NAE-speakers just sounds *wrong* to me...
Travis : « Trying to spell out how such words superficially sound to non-NAE-speakers just sounds *wrong* to me... ».
La formule <Atlanta> → "Atlanna" n'est pas une tentative de transcription (ni phonétique ni phonologique) de l'oral → utilisation des guillemets ("...") avec maintien de l'opposition majuscule/minuscule (une convention graphique et non pas une réalité orale).
Non, le propos était plutôt d'illustrer le hiatus entre une consonne attendue, /t/ en l'occurrence, et ses réalisations effectives (tout sauf /t/ en exagérant à peine).
Je pense que la différence entre ce qui est ***ATTENDU*** (<t> = /t/) et ce qui est ***RÉALISÉ*** (<t> ≠ /t/) peut expliquer, dans certains cas, l'effet "chewing-gum" perçu par les non-maternels.
Pour s'en convaincre, il suffit, par exemple, de rapprocher /atlanta/ (<t> = /t/) de [ɛ̞ɾ̥ˈɰɛ̯̃æ̃ːnəː] (<t> = [ɾ̥], [n]) ou de [ɛ̞ɾ̥ˈɰɛ̯̃æ̃ːːə̯̃] (<t> [ɾ̥], Ø)...
Please moderator. Delete greg's message. It's against the rule no. 8 of this forum.
Well yes; the frequency of actual [t] and [tʰ] is significantly lower in NAE than in, say, English English, and markedly so in dialects like mine where significant flap elision takes place. NAE, and in particular more progressive forms of NAE such as my own, could be said to sound "chewing-gum"-ish in that they have lost many cases of clear stops overall. Furthermore, dialects like mine with signficant flap and /n/ elision and limited /v/ and or /ð/ elision are effectively even more vowel-heavy overall, and /l/ vocalization almost certainly makes things sound more "chewing-gum"-ish, especially if it is global (as it is in the dialect here). In the end, all of this results in what I would probably describe as general "mushiness", not all that different from how Danish is "mushy".
>>Please moderator. Delete greg's message. It's against the rule no. 8 of this forum.<<
Please shut up. If you really can't read it, you can always use Google Translator, thank you.