American English Phonetics

Another American English Faculty Project

  1. Why is it that many native speakers are reluctant to admit that flapping occurs in their own pronunciation, and may express the view that pronunciations like [ˈtwɛ᷈ni, ˈmæ᷈ɾər, ˈɪnərˈnæʃnəl] are ‘sloppy speech’ and are really incorrect?
  2. On one occasion, a local English professor in Atlanta, Georgia, referred to the ill-fated ocean-liner “Titanic” as the /taɪˈtæntɪk/. Although the puzzled looks on the faces of her non-native audience caused her to pause, it was only to repeat the word in the same way, much as if she was beginning to have her doubts about her listener’s familiarity with this well-known shipping disaster rather than about her own pronunciation of the ship’s name. Can you explain why she pronounced the word the way she did?
  3. Young children learning to write have been found to produce forms like bodom, woodr, bedr, nodesen, prede, for bottom, water, better, noticing, pretty; and mitle, nobute for middle, nobody. What does this suggest?