Template Talk:English -or- Table
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Template Talk:English -or- Table
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Bad idea

In response to Kbb2's (Undid revision 907049741 by Wolfdog (talk) bad idea, the RP vowel is also close-mid and its usual transcription is /?:/) OK, but what do you think about the basic switch here to phonetic brackets? Wolfdog (talk) 11:37, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

@Wolfdog: Phonetic brackets with actual phonetic IPA would require us to write [] for RP /?r/ and [o:?] for /?:r/. This can cause serious intelligiblity issues.
I've added a note below the table. Would that be sufficient? Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 11:54, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Ah yes, I see your point. How about the distinction between GenAm /?r/ and Canadian English /or/? Is that really necessary? Wolfdog (talk) 12:01, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: Probably. What do you propose? Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 12:03, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kbb2: I don't think there's any distinction between the GenAm and Canadian English. The Handbook of Varieties of English (2004) gives the NORTH and FORCE vowels, for both dialects, as [?]. Why do you feel it is necessary? Wolfdog (talk) 12:17, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: CanE doesn't possess /?/ as a phoneme that's separate from /?/, and since there's no START-NORTH merger in CanE, it makes no sense as far as phonology is concerned to write that vowel as anything other than /or/ or /o?r/. I chose /or/ because that's closer to the actual phonetic realization, and because it makes sense anyway to write Canadian GOAT with ⟨o⟩ (it's a back monophthong or a slight closing diphthong for many speakers).
We can write the American equivalent with ⟨o?r⟩, but nobody realizes the closing glide before /r/ within the same morpheme, and ⟨or⟩ is at odds with how we represent American GOAT on Wikipedia. I'd say it's best to transcribe it with ⟨?r⟩. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 12:38, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
You don't need to base a phonemic representation on what's "closer to the actual phonetic realization". The fact that you're "choosing" something also doesn't make sense; sources already give a solution: /?r/ (or, alternatively, /or/) for both. Both Canadian and GenAm English use /o?/ as the standard for GOAT (though Canadian is, yes, more likely to monophthongize this sound, but /o?/ is perfectly permissible and probably even typical), but this is beside the point: we don't need to worry about GOAT for the purposes of this chart, just NORTH/FORCE. Both dialects use one sound for NORTH/FORCE; writing them as different seems misleading. You can't tell if somoene's Canadian or American based on how they pronounce NORTH. Let's follow the sources and use /?r/ for both please. Wolfdog (talk) 12:54, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: The /?/ phoneme does not exist in Standard Canadian English. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 12:56, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Not isolated. It exists within the phoneme /?r/; see Handbook p. 359. Wolfdog (talk) 12:59, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: The phone [?] is the only mid back vowel that can occur before /r/ in Canadian English, which tells us that it should be considered an allophone of GOAT, which is the only mid back vowel phoneme in the vowel system of CanE. Boberg's list isn't a list of phonemes.
/?r/ (or /or/, /o?r/) is a sequence of two phonemes in all dialects of English. You're probably mistaking lexical sets for phonemes. In non-rhotic dialects, /r/ is dropped before consonants and pauses and what remains is an actual single phoneme /?(:)/. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 13:07, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
In response to The phone [?] is the only mid back vowel that can occur before /r/ in Canadian English, which tells us that it should be considered an allophone of GOAT, which is the only mid back vowel phoneme in the vowel system of CanE, can't the same be said to be true of GenAm? Half of GenAm speakers (perhaps more) have the cot-caught merger, the same as Canadian English. I don't see why you're trying to invent a Wikipedia-specific system when a credible source uses a system that already works perfectly well within our WP model. When a disagreement like this occurs between two editors, shouldn't we be looking to actual sources for ways to represent these sounds and haven't I provided that source? Wolfdog (talk) 13:14, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: This means that there's a variable phonemic merger between /?/ and /?/ in GA. Those who have it do indeed need to consider their [?] before [r] to be a variety of /o?/, unless they don't have the NORTH-FORCE merger (then /?/ remains a separate phoneme). See Wells's Accents of English for more information, this isn't my invention.
By representing the NORTH/FORCE vowel in GA as /?r/ we're being consistent with how it's represented elsewhere in popflock.com resource and in sources that describe the phonemes of GA. Writing the Canadian vowel as /or/ is just an unfortunate necessity when you use phonemic transcription. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 13:26, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
The variable phonemic merger between /?/ and /?/ in GA is not relevant here because we can just represent all GenAm speakers' NORTH as a sequence of /o?/ + /r/. (The few American speakers who show a sharp NORTH-FORCE distinction are not GenAm speakers.) CanE uses /o?r/ just as easily as GenAm. Also, wouldn't you be forced to admit that using your preferred GenAm representatin here, /?r/, wouldn't even work for half of GenAm speakers--those who don't even have the phoneme /?/? Wolfdog (talk) 13:39, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps the best option is to provide both phonemic and phonetic transcriptions in this chart, covering whatever our potential reader is seeking. Wolfdog (talk) 13:59, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

It'd look something like this, I suppose: Wolfdog (talk) 14:24, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Example words with LOT and THOUGHT before prevocalic /r/ by dialect
Pronounced /?r/ [] in RP and /?r/ [] or /?r/ [] in eastern coastal American English Pronounced /?:r/ [o:?] in RP and /?r/ [o?] in eastern coastal American English
Pronounced /o?r/ [o?] in Canadian English
Pronounced /?r/ [] in General American Pronounced /o?r/ or /?r/ [o?] in General American
only these four or five words:
borrow, sorry, sorrow, tomorrow (morrow)
Words containing /?r/ in RP:
corridor, euphoric, foreign, forest, Florida, historic, horrible, majority, minority, moral, orange, Oregon, origin, porridge, priority, quarantine, quarrel, sorority, warranty, warren, warrior (etc.)
Words containing /?:r/ in RP:
aura, boring, choral, deplorable, flooring, flora, glory, hoary, memorial, menorah, orient, oral, pouring, scorer, storage, story, Tory, warring (etc.)
Key
The symbols ⟨?:⟩, ⟨?⟩ and ⟨o⟩ do not necessarily represent different sounds but different traditions of representing English phonemes in various accents. In RP and non-cot-caught-merging North American English the vowel is identified as THOUGHT. It is realized as close-mid in RP and close-mid or open-mid in North America. In cot-caught-merging North American English (including most of Canada), the vowel is identified as GOAT and its realization also varies between close-mid and open-mid . The horse-hoarse merger is assumed in all cases.
Kbb2: I'll make the changes if you have no objection. Wolfdog (talk) 23:18, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: Why would we need the allophonic IPA? We already have the note.
The issue with representing the NORTH/FORCE vowel in AmE as /o?r/ is that it'd make this table inconsistent with other transcriptions of AmE on Wikipedia, which mostly treat it as /?r/. /?r/ is also consistent with non-rhotic Englishes, in which NORTH/FORCE is the same as THOUGHT or, before a vowel, THOUGHT + /r/.
Also, wouldn't you be forced to admit that using your preferred GenAm representatin here, /?r/, wouldn't even work for half of GenAm speakers--those who don't even have the phoneme /?/? General phonemic transcriptions of dialects don't work like that, and the cot-caught merger is far from being categorical in GA. Since /?/ is clearly phonemic in GA as a whole, we're not forced to write NORTH/FORCE as /o?r/. In Standard Canadian English, the c-c merger is categorical. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 16:02, 23 July 2019 (UTC)

In favor of the diaphonemic system

To reiterate and avoid edit warring, why don't we just use the Wikipedia diaphonemic system: it nicely neutralizes our personal quibbles (isn't that part of its purpose and utility?), plus shows similarities and removes trivial differences between dialects' phonemic transcriptions. Yet you still find a compromise like this is not good enough, Kbb2. It has to be your way. As in this case, Kbb2, you often seem deliberately inflexible and actively averse to compromise. Help:IPA/English states This key represents diaphonemes, abstractions of speech sounds that accommodate General American, Received Pronunciation (RP) and to a large extent also Australian, Canadian, Irish (including Ulster), New Zealand, Scottish, South African and Welsh pronunciation. Our table here presents three of these: GenAm, RP, and Standard Canadian, plus a fourth one that is an umbrella American variety ("eastern coastal and southern American English"). That means the diaphonemic system is already perfect for 3 of these 4 relevant varieties, and, in actuality, can effortlessly extend to all 4 without any need for extra caveats or rationalizations. It's perfectly appropriate. Why the need for ongoing dispute when such a clear middle-ground option exists? Instead of our disagreeing and independent phonemic systems, I try to meet in the middle and offer a more all-purpose, already-established system and, unsurprisingly, it's shot down. Please explain. Wolfdog (talk) 13:58, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

@Wolfdog: What you're proposing is at odds with how that system works and akin to transcribing button as "/'b?t?n/ or /'bn/, depending on the speaker" or something similar. ⟨?⟩ has a specific function in Help:IPA/English, just like ⟨?r⟩. ⟨?r⟩ represents a diaphonemic sequence that occurs in words such as foreign that must be transcribed as /'f?r?n/ per MOS:PRON. This /'f?r?n/ (diaphonemic transcription) is to be interpreted as /'f?r?n/ in RP and /'f?:r?n/ in GA, both of which are phonemic transcriptions. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 17:03, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
@Kbb2: Can you please quote the part of the MOS:PRON that disagrees with or supersedes the quote I provided? Your problem with /'f?r?n/ -- that it is to be interpreted as /'f?r?n/ in RP and /'f?:r?n/ in GA -- is what's explicitly laid out, with nuances, by this chart. If we are able to use a uniform system to differentiate these sounds, why wouldn't we? Why, instead, would we use three different systems: one where FORCE is represented by /?:r/, another where it's /?r/, and another where it's /o?r/? Why in the world wouldn't we just use an already-available, unified system, where (regardless of your dialect) FORCE will always be represented one way: /?:r/ in our case. And the way foreign is pronounced uses FORCE for standard American or Canadian speakers but not FORCE for RP speakers. You're adding in a level of complexity that is unnecessary beyond the purpose of this chart (and even easily misleading readers into believing /?:r/, /?r/, and /o?r/ represent something other than FORCE when in fact that's exactly what they represent). The whole point of the chart is to clarify. Wolfdog (talk) 18:15, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: For more aid to the reader, there are multiple templates specific to various languages. For generic English, should be used, which will link the notation to Help:IPA/English, which is a key of established conventions for transcription of English on Wikipedia, and automates conversion to IPA and provides mouse-over keys. (...) Again, if the language you're transcribing has such an IPA key, use the conventions of that key. If you wish to change those conventions, bring it up for discussion on the key's talk page. Creating transcriptions unsupported by the key or changing the key so that it no longer conforms to existing transcriptions will confuse readers. The way I understand it is that it applies to languages other than English and English itself alike. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 12:34, 11 April 2020 (UTC)
Also, I'm not being inflexible. I'm saying that anything but using the diaphonemic system here is up to debate. Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 14:05, 11 April 2020 (UTC)
This is the exact situation where the diaphonemic system would be helpful. I would posit that the wording in the top two cells ( Pronounced /?r/ in RP and /?r/ or /?r/ in eastern coastal and southern American English and Pronounced /?:r/ in RP and /?r/ or /o?r/ in eastern coastal and southern American English is nigh incomprehensible unless we interpret these as diaphonemes (and this is whether or not we have parenthetical phonetic brackets).
Wolfdog is right that using the diaphonemic system here would help avoid distracting readers with trivial differences between dialects' phonemic transcriptions. In terminology that can be found at diaphoneme#Dialectology the difference identified here is one of incidence, which our diaphonemic system is perfect for, as it allows for indicating the occurrence of one phoneme rather than another...in a given word or group of words.
Avoiding the diaphonemic and focusing on phonemic or phonetic impedes reader comprehension in this situation, precisely because we are making a cross-dialectal comparison of phonemic incidence, not phonetic realization or phonological inventory. -- Ƶ§oe?¹ [l?ts b?i: p'lat] 15:01, 11 April 2020 (UTC)
@Aeusoes1: I've reverted myself. Now Help:IPA/English and MOS:PRON need to be updated to account for this atypical use of our diaphonemic system. How would you word that update? Kbb2 (ex. Mr KEBAB) (talk) 19:30, 11 April 2020 (UTC)
That's a good question. I'm drawing a blank right now. But I imagine that it might relate to words that require multiple transcriptions because the varying differences among different dialects are the result of differences of incidence. -- Ƶ§oe?¹ [l?ts b?i: p'lat] 20:50, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

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