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squid #200827 06/29/11 10:36 AM
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Back in the day, when people had such things, we would tape various words on our reel to reel tape deck and play the tape backwards. The final W in words such as cow and shadow definitely sounded like a normal initial W when the word was played backwards. You don't hear it when the word is coming at you in its usual way because you're not listening for it. And even if you are listening for it you don't know how to hear it. But it's there nonetheless.

Zwoan wodash uth.

goofy #200829 06/29/11 11:44 AM
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I think you mean /w/.

Yes, what goofy said.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
va-vavoom #200830 06/29/11 11:52 AM
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Do you think that our speech patterns are so standardized and monotonously the same that people hear and recognize those distinctions in everyday speech? Regular, real people, not linguists or someone making a study?

Most assuredly, yes, but not consciously. That's how we can detect "foreign" accents. For example, most USans can distinguish between the two vocalic sounds in ship and sheep, but some can and others cannot distinguish between cot and caught. An experiment for people for whom the latter pair are homonyms, can you hear the distinction that other regional accents (dialects) make between those two sounds? Whether one can identify those sounds in isolation, or better yet, whether one can disentangle what one hears from what one writes is another matter entirely.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Faldage #200832 06/29/11 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted By: Faldage
The final W in words such as cow and shadow definitely sounded like a normal initial W when the word was played backwards.


Yes, but I think it's misleading to call it the final W. You would also hear it in words like bough, foe, so which don't have a final written w. It's because these two sounds are diphthongs in your dialect, something like /aʊ/ and /oʊ/ (maybe, I'm guessing you're American). They consist of two sounds, and the second sound is almost identical to /w/ in articulatory terms.

Last edited by goofy; 06/29/11 01:31 PM.
goofy #200834 06/29/11 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: goofy
Originally Posted By: Jackie

I was thinking the other day about the w in why, and realized that for me at least it's a diphthong: kind of an ooo-wuh, the whole being sort of like ooo-wuh-eye. Hmm--correction--more like ooo-wuh-eye-ee. Not quite Hawaii! smile


The first sound in "why" is the semi-vowel /w/. /w/ is pretty much the same as /u/ (the vowel in "boot") - the difference is that /w/ is the onset of the syllable while /u/ is the nucleus. If that helps.


unless you put that old H in front like some of us...


formerly known as etaoin...
zmjezhd #200840 06/29/11 03:10 PM
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So I just read the wiki on vowel sounds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonological_history_of_English_low_back_vowels) and tried out saying some of those examples after looking at the citation of regional variances. Okay, so I "think" I say caught and cot the same...in listening to most people talk I would know what they are saying by context, not pronunciation. Ship and sheep, though, I don't think I've heard folks turn those into the same sound.
Having lived so many places I can usually pick out regions from speech, but not always.
Not having ever studied this, I don't think I ever realized how many technical variations there are in pronunciations and the little /o/ thingies to describe them. Amazing new world!


~===,===,=^=<
Faldage #200856 06/29/11 09:19 PM
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The Shadow Knows?

olly #200857 06/29/11 09:52 PM
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would that be a shadow, a long shadow, or a very long shadow?


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olly #200859 06/29/11 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: olly
The Shadow Knows?


The Shadow who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men. And yes, goofy, I understand that's not the way you would represent it in IPA, but I was responding to Jackie's comment about not hearing a W sound in words like cow.

squid #201601 08/05/11 07:28 PM
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Or broken down into (k + ah + oo)?

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