Friday, November 25, 2011

Rebecca Black Friday

So I was tooling around with the phonetics tool from the University of Iowa, and realized something. There is a sound of American English not represented. And I'm not talking about some limited regionalism or a phoneme pronounced by a small or low-status group. No, I'm talking about a sound that normal people use, by which I mean myself. Where is the glottal stop? Why no love?

There is this other language I know. I tend to call it /læʔIn/ in English. I can't think of anyone else off hand who pronounces it this way, but it feels really natural to me so I must've picked it up somewhere. I know I've heard /lædIn/, which kind of sounds weird. And I can think of several people off-hand who say /lætIn/, and they always seem to accent the second syllable unlike the other two pronunciations. It just sounds strange, but I've never said anything about it until right here. But anyway. I say this because I want to underline the validity of ʔ as a standard American English sound. Out of my mouth, even Robert Pattinson becomes Robert Paʔinson.

Of course the highest profile user of the glottal stop in American English is none other than Rebecca Black. She tells us she's "giʔn down on Friday." So with that, why aren't you /gɪʔn/ down already? It's Friday.