Talk:English Phonology
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Talk:English Phonology

American realization of the Strut vowel

The article on General American claims that the realization is nearly the same as in RP, which is supported by the accompanying image on the page. The article on Open-mid back unrounded vowel, however, claims that the realization is closer to the RP Nurse vowel. Meanwhile, this very page page does not mention what the realization of Strut is in American English (even though everyone seems to agree it is not actually an open-mid back unrounded vowel). If I had to guess, I think the confusion might be because it is always unrounded, while the near-open central vowel does not specify roundedness. -MToumbola (talk) 13:34, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

"How to pronounce English" listed at Redirects for discussion

Information icon A discussion is taking place to address the redirect How to pronounce English. The discussion will occur at Resource: Redirects for discussion/Log/2020 July 14#How to pronounce English until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. -LaundryPizza03 (dc?) 00:24, 14 July 2020 (UTC)

ts and dz

Since it might not be clear, Broman178 (talk · contribs)'s recent addition of the claim that sequences of /t/ + /s/ and /d/ + /z/ are "phonetically realised" as alveolar affricates is not backed up by the source given.

The source itself, Picard (1987), does discuss the sounds in question in the page range, but it says "English is usually recognized as having two affricate consonants" (/t?/ and /d?/) and that these are "truly a single phonetic unit in English". He then says that sequences of /t/ + /s/ and /d/ + /z/ are not usually presumed to be affricates, but advocates that they should be considered single units because "they can occur in exactly the same phonetic environments" as /t?/ and /d?/.

In addition to the inaccurate reasoning (/ts/ and /dz/ do not appear word-initially, for example) and the clearly controversial nature of the claim that the source does make (which means we can't insert it without some sort of qualification), the source does not claim that these sequences are realized phonetically as affricates. This claim likely won't be backed up by sources and I'm quite certain that most similar sources (introductory phonetics textbooks) will say the exact opposite. -- Ƶ§oe?¹ [l?ts b?i: p'lat] 15:21, 3 October 2020 (UTC)

I'm very disappointed and frustrated that my edits were all reverted but I can understand your reasoning Aeusoes1 (talk · contribs) on this, however, I think it would be possible to add those back in if a better source is found which actually supports mention of that because in my opinion, its absurd to suggest that /ts/ and /dz/ are not affricates at all (if they are spoken quickly in English they certainly do become affricates [ts] and [dz] even though most phonetic sources would consider it a stop plus a fricative). I won't add this back in for now but I will carry on looking until I do find a source that supports it and maybe then I will reinsert it. Until then, I would suggest removing mention from the Voiced alveolar affricate/Voiceless alveolar affricate that they occur in English lads and cats respectively or reword those sentences because there is no source to support them either. Broman178 (talk) 19:02, 3 October 2020 (UTC)
Good call. I've modified the wording accordingly.
My suggestion as far as finding a source that makes the claim that you would like and is able to substantiate it is to look at phonetic studies. -- Ƶ§oe?¹ [l?ts b?i: p'lat] 19:14, 3 October 2020 (UTC)
/ts, dz/ are indeed phonetically affricates, as are /tr, dr, t?, dð, pf, bv/ (see e.g. Cruttenden 2014:186ff, Roach 2009:39-40, Wells 2008:15), but they are usually not counted among English affricates because what differentiates an affricate from a sequence of a plosive and a fricative, or a plosive with fricated release, is mostly phonological. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:90) write:

It is not always easy to say how much frication should be regarded as an automatic property of a release; some places of articulation seem to be often accompanied by considerable frication. ... At the other extreme, a combination of a stop and fricative that both happen to have the same place of articulation do not necessarily form an affricate. Phonological considerations must play a part in any decision as to whether a stop and a following homorganic fricative is to be regarded as an affricate which is a single unit, or as two segments (or two timing slots), forming a sequence of a stop and a fricative.

Nardog (talk) 01:49, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Good point. -- If we present sequences of English phonemes as single segments on non-phonemic grounds the following appears to be the logical consequence: As it is impossible to tell where syllable breaks are without knowing how English syllables are structured phonotactically, we might also have to present random sequences of vowels as diphthongs, triphthong, and tetraphthongs. That's certainly not what we want and what helps users. Love --LiliCharlie (talk) 03:21, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Those sources are pretty good in my opinion, makes we wonder whether we can include these in this article (and those two affricate articles) and readd what I edited. I must say while the source I added didn't fully support my edits as Aeusoes1 explained above, that source still listed in the table that /dz/ and /ts/ could be affricates ([1]). Anyway, I might just point out that the whole definition of an affricate is that its a stop (plosive) followed immediately by a fricative so the notion that the stops + fricatives/dz/ and /ts/ in English do not fit into that is in my opinion ridiculous (even if these affricates are not main phonemes in English, they are certainly allophones of d+z combined together, especially in fast speech) and the phonetic studies which support they are not affricates are wrong (even phonetic studies can be incorrect, especially with the way they transcribe ? as r, and ? as ? in English). The affricate article even explains that "An affricate is a consonant that begins as a stop and releases as a fricative, generally with the same place of articulation (most often coronal). It is often difficult to decide if a stop and fricative form a single phoneme or a consonant pair". If I were to define it myself, I would consider affricates as consonant pairs rather than a single sound because they are essentially two consonants combined together although if I were to put that without a source, it would border on original research. Now if the sources Nardog has included above aren't good enough, I will look at phonetic studies myself to see if any support /dz/ and /ts/ being affricates in English and include it back in this article and the two affricate articles sometime later . Broman178 (talk) 09:06, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I do want to say that I haven't put forth that phonetic studies have argued that English /ts/ and /dz/ are not affricates in English. I haven't looked into it. I do recall that, in Russian and Polish, a distinction is made between affricates and stop + fricative sequences, and the distinction manifests primarily in duration (so that, in Russian, a sequence of /t/ and /s/ is pronounced twice as long as the affricate /ts/). The issue of segment duration, of course, may be more fluid or slippery in rapid speech, but that's where phonetic studies can help us to be sure.
Also, since I'm apparently going to be the person to parse cited sources uncharitably here, Roach (2009) does not say that those sequences are phonetically affricates, at least not in that page range. He says that, under a certain loose definition of affricates, they would be included. But he doesn't seem to advocate that definition. He also doesn't say why (I can't access chapter 13, so I don't know what his justifications are). -- Ƶ§oe?¹ [l?ts b?i: p'lat] 17:02, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
That /ts, dz, tr, dr, t?, dð, pf, bv/ (or at least most instances of them, where they don't span across multiple stems as in outrage) are indistinguishable from affricates from a purely phonetic point of view is, as far as I can tell, uncontroversial. See also Catford 2001:108, Abercrombie 1967:148, Laver 1994:366, Wells 1982:48, Wells 1990. Collins & Mees 2013:86-7 are pretty explicit. It is whether to call them, or count them as, affricates that can potentially vary depending on your view.
The affricate vs. stop-fricative contrast in Polish lies, as you said, in the duration of the fricative component, which means the so-called stop-fricative sequences are indeed, phonetically speaking, affricates (see Zagórska Brooks 1964). Nardog (talk) 09:56, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

I don't know if this will be any use, but since I have been (tentatively) quoted I thought I should provide chapter and verse. The relevant bit of Chapter 13 of 'English Phonetics and Phonology' can be read (I hope) at There is no simple answer to the question of the phonemic status of affricates, but there is very little reason to treat /ts/ and /dz/ as single phonemes. RoachPeter (talk) 09:14, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

Nobody is arguing to treat /ts/ and /dz/ as single phonemes. The debate is about whether they are "phonetically" affricates. Nardog (talk) 09:21, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
Sorry, I just assumed this question was part of the larger issue of phonemic status. Whether or not /t?, d?, ts, dz/ are phonetically affricates seems a bit of a non-question to me. What's the alternative? That there are cases where the initial plosive is released and the fricative is then articulated as a separate segment? I suppose I am coming into this discussion in the middle and not getting the point. RoachPeter (talk) 09:41, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
For context, this is the material added by Broman178 and removed by Aeusoes1. I also don't understand the point of Aeusoes1's contestation. We already mention the affrication of /tr, dr/ after all. Nardog (talk) 09:57, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
As I said in the beginning of the section, I removed the content because the source used to cite it does not make the claim that it's being used to corroborate. Irrespective of the truth of the claim, we should generally avoid this.
I appreciate RoachPeter coming in and providing us the content of chapter 13 (I almost pinged you to ask for your input). I also appreciate Nardog providing additional resources to look into. My understanding of affricates is perhaps overly influenced by the research I've done on Russian, which makes a distinction between affricates and stop+fricative sequences. Perhaps I'm naive here, but I'd assumed that, if a language makes such a distinction, that the field of phonetics would do so as well. If I'm wrong, so be it, though it certainly makes it pretty meaningless to say that e.g. the /ts/ in cats is "phonetically" an affricate, as well as the qualification that this occurs "especially" in rapid speech, since the lack of such a distinction would make all sequences of a stop and homorganic fricative affricates. -- Ƶ§oe?¹ [l?ts b?i: p'lat] 15:05, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
So how about discussing why /t?, d?/ are considered separate phonemes (but /ts, dz, tr, dr, t?, dð, pf, bv/ aren't), perhaps in the Obstruents section? That would address all of our concerns AFAICS. Nardog (talk) 01:03, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
It couldn't hurt. -- Ƶ§oe?¹ [l?ts b?i: p'lat] 01:07, 7 October 2020 (UTC)

(/t/-) affrication

How relevant is the affrication of alveolars (and other) stops for present-day English prestige variants, especially RP? It was quite promininently featured in the original 1962 edition of Gimson's An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English, and is still mentioned in the 2014 edition of Gimson's Pronunciation of English. Even the FL-advice to use [t?] and [d?] for /t/ and /d/ to avoid dental articulation is still there, so apparently Cruttenden does not think of this as guiding learners to speak Mockney. I am aware that strong affrication is associated with basilectal regional speech, but since we mention t-glottalization - which per Buizza & Plug (2012) is less frequently heard than /t/-affrication in non-basilectal BE speech - shouldn't we mention (/t/-)affrication here too? The question boils down to: WP:DUE or not? A special ping to @RoachPeter, since Roach (2004) is mentioned in Buizza & Plug's article. -Austronesier (talk) 12:19, 6 March 2021 (UTC)

@Austronesier I'm afraid I haven't read the article, and can't get access to it immediately. Will try to do so and respond. RoachPeter (talk) 15:10, 6 March 2021 (UTC)

Underlying form of "longish"

Is /'l?nst/ really the underlying form of "longish" (and identical to that of "longest")?2806:102E:18:2767:8932:70F0:4FC6:CEAA (talk) 20:15, 6 March 2021 (UTC)

I would also like for a more qualified person to comment on this, it doesn't seem right at all to me. Then again, I'm not a linguist.--Megaman en m (talk) 00:07, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Sorry, this was just a stupid error, now corrected. Thanks for pointing it out. RoachPeter (talk) 09:09, 7 March 2021 (UTC)

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