Friday, September 18, 2009

So that was a male chicken?

Thanks to The Daily Show I now have another example of a verbal stumble from our favorite filthy newsman. This one's not as bad as yesterday's (it all goes down in the first 30 seconds):

This helps to make my point from yesterday when I suggested that the error was perhaps not just an articulatory error. That is, perhaps the change from [pl] to [f] in the pronunciation of 'plucking' was not just a mix-up of meaningless sounds. There might also have been, for some odd reason, a looming influence of the word fuck complete with it's connotations.

The point is easier to make with today's clip.

If you want to log on to My Fox N-Y dot cock, you c— dong— dot com, click the Seen-on-TV tab for the link to the auction site.

His first stumble, saying cock instead of com is a pretty clear phonetic slip. Maybe the influence of a couple preceding velars in log and Fox and the pronunciation of dot is a little muddy. It almost sounds like he says don instead of dot. And if he has in fact said don there's some flipping around of segments, or even just features, possibly going on. The voiceless alveolar stop [t] is replaced by a nasal [n] (voiced), so the nasal at the end of com might be part of the switch, and it comes out as a voiceless velar stop. This is a little convoluted, and the pattern of flipping and flying segments isn't clear.

But what happens next is a pretty reasonable guess: when he catches it, and he tries to correct cock he goes way out of his way and says dong instead of com. Why dong? Influenced perhaps, not just by the mess of velars, alveolars, nasals and stops he's been spewing, but also by the semantics of the surprising naughty word that has suddenly gotten all of his attention.

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