Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Productive combining morphology FTW! Or: an Amyism

The other day, to say that there was the fewest of some object or other, she said that there were “the little-bit-est”.

Heh :)

On another Amy-related note, we were talking about words that sound the same, such as letters of the alphabet that sounded like words (such as “T” and “tea”), and she thought about whether any numbers sound like words.

And she came up with this one: “/fri:/ is a number, and it’s also a word!”

I was wondering which word she was thinking of, so to check, I asked her, “Do you mean like an animal that’s not in a cage, so it’s free?” and she said yes.

The funny thing is, I assumed that she could hear the difference between /θ/ and /f/, even if she can’t (reliably) produce the difference. (She’s making slow progress on that front, though.)

But either she can’t (and she consideres them allophones or something), or that particular word got stored as /fri:/ somehow.

At any rate, I told her that actually, the number is pronounce /θri:/ and the other word is /fri:/, so they’re not quite the same.

And on another phoneme distinction note, a word pair she has problems distinguishing in her pronunciation is “colour” and “collar”: reliably distinguishing the vowel sound in the first syllable (STRUT vs. LOT). Admittedly, the two are pretty close together, and one of them (STRUT) isn’t even in German in the first place. (Well, German “short o” isn’t quite the same as a UK near-RP “short o”, either, I suppose: it’s a bit more close, though both are rounded.)

And I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned this one before, but her pronunciations of “arrow” and “owl” often sound very similar: they’re both something like /awo/ (with a vocalised L in the case of the latter, like “puddow” for “puddle” or even “fio” for “fill”: not uncommon in some native speakers’ English [1]).

[1] or, for that matter, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian: compare the -o of the masculine singular past participle to Polish -ł /w/ (which still echoes the spelling, if not the original pronunciation) and Russian -л.

Tags: amy, language
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