Sunday, 20 April 2014

smoked salmon or mother-in-law

Question: Does everyone happen to have smoked salmon in the freezer or is it just my mother-in-law?

credit: Ryan Lerch

Reaction 1: We only have fresh salmon in the freezer ... and no family members.

Reaction 2: Quick, bury her in the garden!

Reaction 3: Why does your frozen mother-in-law look like smoked salmon?

Reaction 4: Most people wouldn't have room for salmon once the mother-in-law ...

Sunday, 6 April 2014

GIM 8 - 3rd blog

Let's take a closer look at the description of the KIT vowel in GIM 8 and concentrate on those variants which are considered to belong to either GB or CGB.
For the purpose of easier reference I took the liberty to modify the corresponding figure (number 13 on p.115). This is what my version of it looks like (the five variants are assumed to be numbered consecutively 1 to 5 from top to bottom, i.e. "i (finally)" is no.1):

Variant no. 1 is to be heard from GB speakers in final unstressed position as in heavy, bickie, bevy, many. Variant no. 2 represents the typical GB pronunciation of the KIT vowel in stressed position, e.g. in pit, lip, sit.
There is another variant used by GB speakers in non-final unaccented position, e.g. in the word visible. The penultimate is unstressed and the vowel tends to be more centralised. This fact is not visualised in the original figure of GIM 8. You can see it as variant no. 3 in my modified version. Next, we have variant no. 4, which represents the diphthongisation of the KIT vowel in monosyllabic words by CGB speakers (e.g. dib, fig with [ɪə]). Variant no.5 is the CGB allophone to be heard in final positions of words such as university or liberty.

My thanks to Alan Cruttenden for elucidating me on these variants.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Say, I am happy!

Samuel Beckett
credit: Roger Pic
In the second act of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, we are presented with these verbal symmetries:

Say, I am happy.
I am happy.
So am I.
So am I.
We are happy.
We are happy.
What do we do, now that we are happy?
Wait for Godot.

Barry Cusack drew my attention to a BBC Radio 4 broadcast from the 31st of March, which contains a sound snippet from a performance of Waiting for Godot. The interesting thing is that the two actors employ different word-final KIT vowels in the word happy. Listen:


The first actor has a KIT vowel in unstressed word-final position which is rather at the half-close level whereas the second uses an /ɪ/ more at the close level.

I couldn't find out the names of the actors, so I can't tell you anything about their age or professional training.