Solution for February 2008

February 2008
"I envy hibernation."

I'm not sure how grammatical this is in my idio/dialect. I did check and there are plenty of examples of "envy [abstract nominal]" but the more usual thing is to "envy [sentient]" where [sentient] can do or experience something enviable. Discuss. (I'd prefer 'covet' over 'envy', but I'm not sure I can "covet [abstract nominal]", although I can clearly "covet [concrete nominal]". Hmm. Or more obviously "envy hibernating species/animals/individuals" in the sense of "envy [things (that hibernate)]".

[ʔ], IPA 113
Glottal Stop
I don't often mark initial glottal stops, but the first couple of pulses here are just so different from the more modal voicing that happens later that I thought I had to do something. The irregularity in amplitude (shimmer) and (if it were more obviously present) irregularity in timing (jitter) are usually correlates of creak, or glottalization, and can be attributed to a glottal attach to a vowel-initial form. Since English doesn't have 'underlying' glottal stops.

[ɑɪ], IPA 305 + 319
Script A + Small Capital I
I'm having a fight with one of my students about raising and shortening of diphthongs. Well, a fight, in that there's my view, and there's the way his data are coming out. So I'm going to be careful with my diphthongs. So at the beginning here, we've got an F1/F2 fighting for the same frequency but, due to the magic of coupling, are separated. So the F1 here is as about as high as possible, indicating something very low/open. F2 is about as low as possible (given the F1) indicating something very, very back (and/or round). Since I so rarely have rounded low back vowels, I presume back. Then the vowel moves--the F1 drops sharply, the F2 rises sharply into the front space. So we have what I call a low fronting diphthong, for lack of anything better to call it. (If you think I'm going to get into falling and rising diphthongs at the same time as fronting, backing and rounding, you've never had to explain diphthongs to somebody else.)

[ʔ], IPA 113
Glottal Stop
So it's worth noticing from 300 to about 350/375 msec there's a sudden change in timing (although still vaguely regular, at the very least there's a sudden drop in frequency of pulses), and a chang e amplitude. If it were just the amplitude, I might suggest a nasal, but the low frequency again suggests glottalization. So we're looking at another syllable (and probably word) that starts with a vowel.

[ɛ], IPA 303
This vowel is hard to read, but the F1 is either around 700 Hz and lowers to about 500, or it starts even higher than that and maybe doesn't move much (i.e. what I'm interpreting as some movement is just some weirdness happening within the broadish bandwidth of this F1. But whatever, this is mid-to-low either way. The F2 is high at moving downward, that could be transitional, or it could be inward (centralizing) movement typical of my lax vowels. So this is some kind of lowish frontish vowel. It's also pretty short, considering the very high pitch excursion (so presumably lengthened under stress), so I'm inclined to treat this as an epsilon rather than an ash.

[n], IPA 116
Lower-case N
Now thi s a nice nasal, From 450 msec to almost 600 msec. Nice full voicing bar, but not quite as strong as with an obvious vowel. Zeroes above the voicing bar (and between any visible formants), lower amplitude in the formants/poles than in the obvious vowels), and flat formant structure. And a sharp change in amplitude on both sides. Can't ask for more nasal cues than that. Okay, so ignoring the energy below 1000 Hz, the first real pole is around 1500 Hz, which is very typical of my alveolar nasals. (My labial nasals typically have a more obvious pole closer to 1000 Hz, and my velar nasals usually show nasal pinch in the surrounding transitions.)

[v], IPA 129
Lower-case V
The voicing never really leaves off, but there's a change in the amplitude again, just around 600 msec, suggesting a more obstruent-y thing. The noise on both sides suggests a fricative (which ought to be noisy all the way through, but noise on both edges suggests I'm at least trying to produce noice, as opposed to a nice clean closure of some kind. No sibilance, so probably either labiodental or (inter)dental. The F2 transition into the following vowel is ambigious, but the upper formants are all rising into the following vowel--slightly more evidence of labial rather than dental. On the other hand, the clearly alveolar nasal might be leading you in the other direction. But that would end up being wrong...

[i], IPA 301
Lower-case I
The F1 here is about as low as it ever gets, strongest well below 500 Hz, so we're talking bout something quite high. Ignoring the transitions, the F2 tops out at about 2100-2200 Hz or so, which typically can only be [i].

[ɦ], IPA 147
Hooktop H
There's some nice voicing, but all the frequencies above are noisy--even in the formants, the energy is snowy rather than nicely striated. So we've got here something with clear formants, and noisy, but voiced. So all those descriptions of [h] as 'voiceless vowel' sort of leave us flummoxed to describe this, a voiced, noisy vowel. But there it is. Call it a voiced [h] or breathy voice, or whatever. But as commonly happens bewteen vowels, [h] gets some voicing. hence [ɦ].

[aɪ], IPA 304 + 319
Lower-case A + Small Capital I
Very, very short vowel, and moving. But this isn't really a schwa. Well, it could be, but it ain't. So if it ain't, what is it?  F1 moves from quite high to lower (so we've got something moving from low to high) and F2, such as it is, is moving from roughly neutral to higher (so we've got something going central-to-front). So that's how I transcribed it. Notice the F2 starting frequencies, even in the /h/, are nowhere near as low as there were in the first vowel of this utterance. So a central, low, fronting diphthong, rather than a back, low, fronthing dipthong. If you need that degree of specificity.

[b], IPA 102
Lower-case B
Voiced plosive (clear voicing, lowered amplitude, and nothing above the voicing bar). All formant transitions point down into it (i.e. down into the plosive and rising out of it), so this must be a labial.

[ɹ̩], IPA 151 + 431
Turned R + Syllabicity Mark
On the other hand, the F3 here is well below 2000 Hz, and seems to ahve a minimum extremum at about 1700 Hz. Can only be /r/. And given its position between a plosive and a nasal, really can only be syllabic.

[n], IPA 116
Lower-case N
Anothyer nasal. This one is a little harder to read than the previous one, since the pole is fainter, but it seems to start sort of high and lower to about 1500 Hz into the following vowel. So this is likely another alveolar--nothing really to suggest anything else.

[eɪ], IPA 302 + 319
Lower-case E + Small Capital I
The F1 is sort of low again, so this is kind of high. The F2 goes from below 2000Hz to just above, so I think this is an [eɪ].

[ʃ], IPA 134
Nice, loud noise, very broad band. Some shaping into formants, but really too loud to be anything but a sibilant. The noise isn't loudest in the highest frequencies, so unlikely to be [s], and dies sharply below the F2 range, typical of [ʃ].

[ə], IPA 322
Nice short little vowel. Very short, considering it presumably is undergoing final lengthening. Also low energy and indistinct formant-wise. So probably reduced, and therefore unstressed, and therefore not worth wasting a lot of time on figuring out.

[n], IPA 116
Lower-case N
Final nasal. Too long and strong to be an obstruent of any kind. The no transitions in the preceding vowel may suggest alveolar, but then again it may not.  But almost probably a nasal rather than some kind of approximant, given the abrupt change in the upper frequencies. But given the phonotactics and prosody of this last couple of syllables, really there's no choice to be made here.