Monday, November 03, 2008

So maybe it's me

On the way to Chicago Midway Buffy announced that we needed to make a pit stop. I sighed and muttered an of course to Dave who was starting to recognize how often Buffy needs to stop when travelling. I compared her to a thimble and she shot back in her own defense: I drank way more than you guys do!

Don't you mean you drank more than we did? I asked. And I realized that I had misheard. Again. Last time she said drank /dɹæŋk/ and I heard 'drink' because she probably says something like [dɹe̝ŋk] (the uptack below the 'e' indicates a raised articulation). A diacritic doesn't tell us specifically how high the vowel is and I'm starting to think that perhaps Buffy's [e̝] is pretty much identical to her /ɪ/.

Of course I can stand on no conclusion regarding her vowel distribution. I can't make a judgment like that based on two misheard tokens. This is not how questions are answered, this is how they are raised. So my question: has Buffy completely merged /æ/ and /ɪ/ before ŋ?

I have at the very least some evidence that she has merged them enough so that I have confused each for the other. Well either she's saying them the same or I need to start listening more carefully.


  1. If my adventist great-grandpa was right, Buffy's gonna live to be like 120 for dranking more water than the rest of us...

  2. except it's never water that she drinks. it's diet coke. or a latte. or crystal lite. or red bull. or some other kidney killer.

  3. Sorry but can you tell me where to get more crisp, high-res pictures of American road signs? They're hard to find on the Internet because of copyright issues; Wikipedia has pages and pages of German road signs but nothing for America.

    p.s. I think I've noticed a change in the captcha system: since about a week ago, they're suddenly giving us pronouncible words instead of total letterspam. I like it.

  4. here's a page with a whole bunch of *.gifs of signs.

    I just did a google image search for "merge" and the wikimedia commons page came up. it was a 600X600 image so i just used 'preview' on the mac to shrink it down to 180 or so.

    probably most important, it's a *.png file instead of a *.jpg. I used to use *.gif files but they don't work well with blogger for some reason. *.gif files lose their transparency for some reason and sometimes don't even upload.

    I too have noticed the captcha change. I too like it.

  5. Wow. Thank you incredibly much. I have been to that very site before, but the last time I checked there were only very small, inferior-looking pictures there. It's definitely better now.

    In case you're wondering, I'm using the images to make T-shirts.

  6. There's a slightly different vowel shift in Mississippi, that I don't know how to write out phonetically. Someone might say, "What are you dranking?" But the "a" is one long drawn-out vowel. You can feel the hot stench of Budweiser coming out of the word. To me, the midwest vowel shift has a catch in the middle of the vowel: "But I dra-ank more than you guys."


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