When is a variable not a variable (even when there’s variation)?

16 November 2017, 5.15 PM - 16 November 2017, 6.15 PM

Dr Ros Temple (University of Oxford)

Lecture Room 8, 21 Woodland Road

Some competing and complementary perspectives on “t-,d deletion”

The phonological variable known variously as -t,d deletion, coronal stop deletion, W(ord)-F(inal) C(onsonant) D(eletion) or simply (t,d) concerns the consonants which close word-final clusters in words like moment, fast, dreamt, dreamed, hissed, reserved. These may be pronounced, as in At the mome[nʔ] or I drea[mt] about it, or “deleted” as in The mome[ŋ] Guy saw him or She’s reser[v] because she’s shy. It has been studied for well over half a century and generated probably more academic papers than any other phonological variable, certainly more than any other consonantal variable. The earliest studies were of African American Vernacular English and pointed out differences between the phonological (t,d) variable in those varieties and how word-final clusters behave in other varieties of (North American) English. However, gradually the view prevailed that the (t,d) variable is present in all varieties of English. I will draw on a range of analytical findings to show that the earlier, differential interpretation of the variability is probably correct. Word-final consonant clusters thus illustrate how complementary methodologies, old and new, can shed light on competing analyses of variation.

All welcome.

Part of the University of Bristol Linguistics Colloquium Series

Contact information

Please contact Damien.Mooney@bristol.ac.uk 

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