Note: Okay, this month, we're kissing my GIFs goodbye. Nobody likes them, and as long as a) browsers standardly support client-side fonts and Unicode, and b) the relevant client-side fonts are free, I'm not going to miss them. SIL Doulos also is having trouble in some browsers (or vice versa) with character spacing and overstrikes, so Unicode seems to be pulling into the lead. So this month it's Pullum & Ladusaw labels, IPA identifiers, SIL Doulos, Lucida Sans Unicode. You can download Lucida Sans Unicode from John Wells, and you can download the SIL font(s) from SIL.

Solution for April 2002

"Curling season is over."

Lower-case K + Superscript Lower-case H, IPA 109 + 404
[kH], []
The double burst at about 200 msec is a dead giveaway. The burst tells you that there was definitely a stop closure, as opposed to a weak fricative or more open articulation. The burst is doubled, characteristic of /k/ in English. The aspiration is very very long, again characteristic of velars. The usual velar cue (velar pinch) is not in obvious evidence here, but then the following vowel pretty much makes that pretty impossible. But note that the double burst is centered in the F2/F3 range of the following vowel, i.e. there's a velar-pinch-shaped filter here. Voiceless, velar, aspirated.

Turned R + Syllabicity Mark, IPA 151 + 431
[`], [ɹ̩]
F1 appears to be quite low, F2 is at about 1250 Hz and F3 is about 1600 Hz. Low F3, therefore /r/ (in [{North}American] English). Long and high-amplitude (and fully sonorant/resonant), and therefore a local vowel/syllable head.

Lower-case L + Superimposed Tilde, IPA 155 + 428
[l], []
F2 dips sharply here (around 435-450 msec), as does the amplitude. F3 rises out of the R, hitting a peak toward the end of this stretch or in the beginning of the following vowel. Very low F2 means very back or very round. The F2 transition in the following vowel looks suspiciously /w/ like, but that's the nature of velarization in dark /l/. You'll know it's a dark l and not a /w/ or something by context more than anything else. I suppose the F1 is weird for a /w/, but you couldn't prove that by me. Mark something going on here and then go on. (Unless you're Canadian, in which case /l/ might be the only logical choice for this word....)

Lower-case I, IPA 301
[i], [i]
Well, this turns out to be a stressless vowel, so we might expect it to look like a schwa. Frankly, I didn't think I did this, but there it is. In California, we gave a test where one of the questions was to identify the minimal pair, and two of the choices were 'king, keen' and 'keen, kin'. And the native Californian students *all* chose 'king, keen', because in Californian English high front vowels go all tense before the velar nasal. "We went hikeeeng and canoeeeeeng." So just look at that F2 and tell me this isn't the frontest vowel you've ever seen. (The transition heads up higher than some of the non-/r/ F3s in this spectrogram). So how you can transcribe this vowel as anything but [i] is beyond me. So I did.

Eng, IPA 119
[N], [ŋ]
The F2 and F3 have practically merged, suggesting pinch and velar-ness. The strong nasal formant (high as it is) obviously suggest nasal.

Lower-case S, IPA 132
[z], [s], [s]
There's some stray formant organization which might mislead some, but ignoring the F2-looking shaping, this is pretty standard sibilant. High amplitude (for a fricative), cent(e)red in the very high frequencies. Voiceless, sibilant, and alveolar (due to the high frequency cent(e)r(e). (I really have to just switch to Canadian spelling or not.)

Lower-case I, IPA 301
[i], [i]
Low F1, super high F2. Must be /i/.

Lower-case Z, IPA 133
[z], [z]
Same spectral profile as the preceding fricative, but this one is shorter, slightly weaker, and voiced. Typical of /z/ with respect to /s/.

Schwa, IPA 322
[], [ə]
This schwa is pretty classic. Evenly spaced formants, at approximately 500, 1500, 2500 Hz. Well sort of approximately. Close enough.

Lower-case N, IPA 116
[n], [n]
You know something is going on here because there's clearly an amplitude drop from about 930 msec to 990 msec. The amplitude drop suggests a) a consonant and b) a nasal zero. So this is probably a nasal, although sometimes /l/s look like this, except in English they'd be dark/velarized and the F2 would definitely be lower. This one looks like a schwa, only a consonant. Okay, so this is nasal. If you are familiar with my nasals, this looks alveolar, but whatever.

Barred I, IPA 317
[], [ɨ]
Well, this one looks just like the thing I called schwa before, except the F2 is a little higher. Following Keating et al. (1994)), if it's a reduced or stressless vowel, and the F2 is closer to the F3 than the F1, call it a barred i and go on.

Lower-case Z, IPA 133
[z], [z]
This one is even shorter and weaker than the previous one, but the features are the same.

Glottal Stop, IPA 113
[?], [ʔ]
Actually,this is creaky voice, but you can't mark a stretch of creaky voice as creaky voiced without marking it as some kind of vowel or something too. And I didn't want to do that. So this is 'creaky voice as glottal stop'. Irregular, widely spaced glottal pulses. Could be taken as a series of transient bursts or something, but you can see the resonance/echoey sound in the formants in between each pulse.

Lower-case O, IPA 307
[o], [o]
This looks amazingly monophthongal for me. The F1 is mid-to-low. The F2 is as low as my F2s really ever get. So mid-to-high, very back and round.

Lower-case V, IPA 129
[v], [v]
This is definitely fricative. The fricative noise here is quite definitely there, which is unusually, especially since it looks like this one is at least partially voiced. The F3 transitions down into it, but that could just be the F3 starting down for the following /r/. The F2 actually has vaguely labial-looking transitions, sort of. Definitely not alveolar or velar looking. So not coronal, not dorsal, and fricative and voiced. /v/ is really the only choice.

Turned R + Syllabicity Mark, IPA 151 + 431
[`], [ɹ̩]
Well, this is pretty clearly an /r/ for the usual reasons. Given the preceding consonant (not to mention the incredible length due in part to phrase-finality), this must be syllabic.

Support Free Speech

Robert Hagiwara, Ph.D.

Linguistics Department
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba