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This is exactly what I think too, so I'm happy not to
be the only one !

It is evident that depending whether you're male or
female, upper, mid or lower class, having a flu or a
cough, living in a city, in the country or abroad,
younger or older, lazy or not, excited or not, healthy
or sick, living in 1953 or 2003, just coming from the
dentist's or chewing a gum, or whatever, you may
pronounce the same word a thousand different ways, and
yet in most cases you still will get understood.

So this is an endless and useless quest, phonology
being the most external part of the language. When an
engineer wants to build a car, he doesn't spend five
years thinking of the paint colour of it, or on the
exact form of the rear mirror.

--- Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> OK, now don't get offended.  This is my devil's
> advocate position.  I'm looking for some refutations
> of my expressed opinion.
>
> Granted, pronunciation can be interesting, but I'll
> never understand the seeming obsession with trivial
> nuances that seems to grip some linguists.
> Pronunciation is nearly irrelevant when it comes to
> fulfilling the primary purpose of language;
> communication.
>
> Two people walk into a restaurant.  One orders
> "frahd
> chikin pleez" and the other orders "vroit jigun
> pliss"
> and the both get the same meal delivered to their
> table.  The power of language lies in the fact that
> nuances of mouth noises are utterly irrelevant, so
> why
> are so many people seemingly obsessed with something
> so irrelevant?  You say "I am going to the
> government
> meeting", pronouncing each letter clearly and
> distinctly and I say "I'm gonta da gummit meedn" and
> everybody understands us both.  It seems rather like
> obsessing over whether the speaker has blue eyes or
> brown eyes.  It's not relevant to the primary
> purpose
> of language.
>
> Thus all systems of phonetic writing are so much
> wasted labor good only for documenting _today's_
> pronunciation of a particular ethic group residing
> in
> an area of 6 city blocks.  Day after tomorrow, or in
> a
> different 6-block area, those distinctions are
> obsolete or meaningless.
>
> That's my devil's advocate position.  Anyone care to
> defend the reason for studying mouth noises? :)
>
> << Puts on fire proof suit :) >>
>
> --gary


=====
Philippe Caquant

"High thoughts must have high language." (Aristophanes, Frogs)

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