More on the IPA

A student in my department is working on the use of a particular variant of /t/, usually called fricativized /t/, in the speech of Irish English speaking immigrants in New York. Phonetically, this /t/ is characterized by a coronal closure followed by a particularly noisy sibilant-like release. She asked me what would be the best symbol to transcribe this phoneme with. The only researcher to previously discuss this sound and give it a symbol is Raymond Hickey, who has used a [t] with a carat underneath (i.e. the voicing symbol, only upside down). I asked her why she didn’t just use [ts], and she said that she really didn’t want people mistaking this variant with an affricate.

So my question is, what has the symbol [ts] been used for in the past, and would it be an appropriate transcription for the fricativized Irish English /t/ described above?

2 thoughts on “More on the IPA

  1. The Tensor

    Hmm. The usual symbol for voiceless is a ring below, and for voiced, a circumflex below. Did Hickey intend his circumflex below (is that a subflex?) to mean something besides voiced?

    For the Irish English /t/, how about [ʦ̆]? In case that doesn’t come through, it’s the ts-ligature with the extra-short mark (a breve) above. To be even more precise, I suppose you could use a regular [t] and [s], and put the extra-short mark only over the [s], like this: [ts̆].

  2. Joshua Guenter

    In “Accents of English” volume 2, J.C. Wells uses the [t] followed by [superscript s] to contrast Cockney pronunciations of “Betty” vs. “Betsy” (p. 323). The former has a [t] followed by [superscript s], the latter has a regular [ts] sequence. The difference is described as being due to the length of the fricative element. It does appear that here, [t] followed by [superscript s] does describe some kind of affricate, and probably wouldn’t be appropriate for the fricativized /t/ described above.

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