SMBC Linguistics Error

Ahem. Today’s SMBC contains a linguistics error.

There is no glottal stop in “pet dog,” “mint condition,” “rat trap,” “internet porn,” or “elephant gun.” Those are unreleased alveolar stops. I do think that there’s a glottal stop in “Bat Man.”

UPDATE: Language Log commenter Mike Aubrey comes to the same conclusion.

Posted in Language
3 comments on “SMBC Linguistics Error
  1. Neil Coffey says:

    The statement that these phrases contain glottal stops isn’t necessarily wrong. It just depends slightly on what exactly you categorise as “glottal stop” and possibly on individual pronunciations.

    Ladefoged & Maddieson, for example, analyse a (British) English syllable-final [k] as “the entire velar closure is overlapped by a glottal stop” (p. 73).

    So, does another stop with a superimposed glottal closure count as a “glottal stop”? I think that’s largely a matter of your particular analysis. As one LanguageLog poster commented, a deciding factor could be whether you think that the glottal restriction is what is ‘mainly’ stopping the sound.

  2. Neil Coffey says:

    P.S. by “sound” I really mean “airflow”, of course 🙂

  3. Tom says:

    I think that’s right–it is possible that these unreleased stops are accompanied by full glottal closures. But I don’t think that in general that’s how American English speakers produce most of these phrases (again, Bat Man is the exception). Certainly not rat trap!

Comments are closed.

On Twitter
%d bloggers like this: