Tuesday, June 03, 2008

On the spelling bee...t

I misheard it too. The first pronunciation ends so abruptly that it sounds like a glottal stop: the same closure that interrupts the voice and airflow in 'uh-oh' and 'uh-uh'. The vowel length is just long enough to make me think that the speaker is trying to avoid that confusion. Since in AmE the voiceless dental stop /t/ is usually articulated as a glottal stop [ʔ] it's easy to interpret [nʌmnʌʔ] as a surface representation of /nʌmnʌt/. In order to make his interpretation clear, young Master Mishra (from West Lafayette!) makes sure to aspirate the /t/ for [nʌmnʌtʰ].

(Hat tip Jon)


  1. I actually know someone who knows him. That's so cool.

  2. The kid's response was perfect.

  3. I love Erin Andrews, and in our young Master's interview with her after said incident (before he won the event), it seemed to me that his relief that the word was not numbnut wasn't because of its pejorative connotations but because of the myriad spellings possible.

  4. I know him too, my mom was his 1st teacher. Great kid. Great blog, too, BTW.

    -Jocelyn, Kristin and Mo's friend


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