Solution for June 2004

"You played that song again."

Lower-case J
[j], IPA 153
Well, I don't know if this is a separate moment or not, but the first few glottal pulses in this thing are greater in amplitude (or the bandwidths of the formants are wider, or something) than in the transition/vowel thing. So segmented it. The F1 is quite low, as F1s go, and the F2 is up above 2000 Hz, up in [i] territory. Coming before a vowel or something, I follow IPA common practice and transcribe it as an approximant.

Barred U
[ʉ], IPA 318
I'm not sure if I've ever used this symbol before in my own voice. I'd ordinarily transcribe this vowel as a barred-i or something, but I'm pretty sure it's rounded or rounding, partly in deference to the underlying rounding I usually lose for /u/, but also in anticipation of the following bilabial. F1 is still low (high vowel), round(ing) but not at all back.

Lower-case P + Right Superscript H
[pʰ], IPA 101 + 404
Well, there's a gap of some kind, although it looks like there's some low-frequency noise coming from somewhere. But the release it too sharp not ot call this a plosive, so I choose to ignore that low frequency stuff. The release (at 325 msec or so) is sharp and, well, plosive, followed by some high-energy aspiration and a 75 msec VOT. Aspirated. As for place, the transitions suggest labial, or round, especially the F4 during the aspiration.

Belted L
[ɬ], IPA 148
Okay, I transcribed this in the spectrogram as a dark l, which it is, but it's also vastly voiceless (due mostly to the aspiration of the preceding plosive), so as long as I was playing with my new Unicode markup database, I figured I'd go for yet another symbol I'm not sure I've ever used before. Belted-l represents a voiceless lateral approximant and/or a voiceless lateral fricative. More than one person has argued that there is not and cannot be a contrast between those two things, so this symbol seems to have avoided the IPA's attempt to disambiguate its approximant and fricative symbols. Now, how do I know there's anything here at all. First, there's the matter of the aspiration, which seems both long and loud for just plain aspiration. Second, the F3 in the release is at about 2750 Hz, which is distinctly higher htan the 2550 Hz it is in the vowel. Which for me is enough evidence of an [l] as I'm likely to get. Positing a dark /l/ (or a [w], I guess) here will also allow me to explain the otherwise weird displacement of the transition into the following vowel rather than having it happen all at once on the release of the plosive. TMSAISTI.

Lower-case E + Small Capital I
[eɪ], IPA 302 + 319
Well, abstracting away from the transition for a second, we've still got something that's pretty obviously a diphthong. It ends in a high front semi-vowel definitely, and th efirst part of vowel looks like the F1 is difinitely in mid-range rather than high or low, so we're looking at either [eI] or [oI]. I'm hoping that an [oI] the F2 would stay lower longer, just because the target would be lower, but I'm not positive.

Lower-case D
[d], IPA 104
Well, another one of these mushy gappy things, this one looking more voiced than other one. The F3 transition is kind of ambiguous, as is the F2, but the F2 transition clearly 'stops' before it gets too far below 1800 Hz, suggesting an alveolar locus. But....

Eth + Raising Sign
[ð̝], IPA 131 + 429
...the quality of the voicing changes abruptly just after 600 msec. There's a few pulses of (weak but regular) voicing, and where a good sharp alveolar release should be, there's a couple pulses worth of mushy stuff. Which suggests a fricative release. And the only reason for a /d/ to a have a fricative release is if there's a fricative in there somewhere.

[æ], IPA 325
I've always been bothered by the spelling of 'ash', since it's the 'English' spelling/calque of aesc. Which brings up another point. I use the symbol names from Pullum & Ladusaw (1996). The IPA does not have official names for most of its symbols. Unicode very carefully names each of its symbols, with long descriptive names that are meant to be avoid as much ambiguity as possible. I think they call this 'Latin small letter ae' or 'Latin small ligature ae'. I'll keep using 'ash', after P&L, much as I hate it. Anyway, we've got something that approaches very low for a vowel (high F1) round about 750 msec or so, but the F2 indicates something not at all back. I'm wondering how often I see that falling F3 thing during my /ae/s. I thing I see it a lot, but I'm not sure.

Lower-case T
[t], IPA 103
Ah, gaps. This one seems to be slightly pre-glottalized, or at least comes at the end of something with very low pitch. Now that I look at them again, the transitions are a little ambiguous, which is a good indicator that 'alveolar' is as good a guess as anything else. That and the glottalization, which is more prominent/common with alveolars than other places. There's a hint of a release at about 900 mseec up at top of the spectrogram, which I took to be indicative of plosion.

Lower-case S
[s], IPA 132
Meanwhile, after all that plosion, there's some herkin' fricative going on. Very long, quite high in amplitude, very broad band and concentrated in the highest frequencies. Very typical of [s].

Script A + Tilde
[ɑ̃], IPA 305 + 424
Well, the nasalization is not represented by the usual zero, bur just by the general fuzziness of the formant structure. Which is not helped by the high frequency F0, but there you go. The F1 you can see is about as high as it can get, and the F2 is about as low as it can get and still be F2, if you follow me. So this is a very low, very back vowel. But, unlike my Canadian colleagues, not round. How you can tell that I have no idea, since I don't have [ɒ] for you to compare it with. (Hmm, on my browser, in my preferred font (Gentium) this symbol isn't popping up. It's turned-script-a, or supposed to be.).

[ŋ], IPA 119
Well, there's definitley a change in amplitude, along with the wiping out of F1, both pretty typical of nasals. It doesn't look at all velar (compare the velar transitions for the following consonant), but this is where top down knowledge of ENglish will come in handy--bilabial [m] is unlikely here, and [n] would likely flap in this environment.

Barred I
[ɨ], IPA 317
Short vowel, F2 closer to F3 than F1. If I had to call it a real vowel, I'd have called it small-cap I, but given the H pitch accent on the preceding vowel and then length of the following, I'm betting we should see this as stressless, if not reduced, regardless of what we think it's supposed to be.

Lower-case K
[k], IPA 109
Well, you can't get any more velar, and front velar at that, than this. Mostly voiceless gap, with a short VOT.

[ɛ], IPA 303
Well, this looks like another [ae]. It's hard to tell exactly waht the F1 is doing since it looks like it's headed straight up in the picture, but you can also see the bandwidth fuzzing out on you (an indicator of nasality which obviously I missed the first time around when I did the transcription), so it could be doing just about anything. Well, anything mid-to-low and not at all back.


Lower-case N
[n], IPA 116

Transitions aren't helpful again, and there isn't enough information in terms of poles to tell what's going on. There's definitely something long and voiced here, probably sonorant judging by the regularity of the voicing, but beyond that I have no idea. In the absence of a better guess, pick the alveolar.