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On 8 Nov 2011, at 11:53, Padraic Brown wrote:

> --- On Mon, 11/7/11, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> From: R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: Re: [CONLANG] the importance of English spelling reform (was: Re: [CONLANG] Spelling reforms, schmelling reforms
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Date: Monday, November 7, 2011, 3:06 AM
>> On 06/11/2011 22:35, Padraic Brown
>> wrote:
>>> --- On Sun, 11/6/11, R A Brown wrote:
>>> 
>>>>> Only a linguist would really know or care that
>> "long
>>>>> A" is actually a) not a long vowel at all and
>> b) a
>>>>> dipthong.
>>>> 
>>>> It is not a diphthong in all English dialects;
>> there
>>>> are some, on both sides of the Atlantic, I
>> believe
>>>> (certainly in Britain), that have single pure
>> vowel
>>>> here.
>>> 
>>> Right! I was speaking here in particular about the
>>> situation in the US.
>>> 
>>> What English dialects say /ga:t/ for gate)?
>> 
>> No one.
>> 
>> I assumed from the context that Roman was referring to the
>> _English_ "long-A" which he says is a diphthong - as,
>> indeed, it is in RP and in the south-east England and in
>> other places.
> 
> Indeed -- and it now strikes me that you're refering to the "other" long A
> /e/, as in aitch. Or indeed gate! 
> 
>> But it is not a diphthong in all varieties of English.
>> "Gate" is [ge:t] generally in Wales, in northern England
>> and
>> the Scottish Highlands.
> 
> I think some Irishes as well. Could be wrong there.

I believe these are connected, northern Englishes, specifically those of the north west, are influenced by Welsh and Irish. I have a feeling that the north east is probably influenced by Scottish accents / Gaelic. Is there any evidence of /e:/ in Nordic languages, perhaps to account for Yorkshire dialects?

> 
>> I am sure it also occurs in most
>> (all?) the Lowland dialects (but I find the Lowland
>> dialects
>> a minefield when it come to phonology).
> 
> But a minefield of lovely sounds!
> 
>> Of course I should add that among younger generations in
>> some of the above regions one would also hear [ge:?].
>> 
>> I have seen it claimed on this list before that the [e:]
>> pronunciation does occur in parts of the US - but I have
>> no first hand knowledge of that.
> 
> Actually, I have heard it. Mostly in pop singers. I don't *think* it is the
> same phenomenon. I think it's just a tightening of the vowel, not a
> reflection of Welsh or Lowland Scots! I've never heard a normal (or even
> an abnormal) person talk like this.
> But then again, pop singers do all kinds of odd things with their 
> pronunciation and voice.

Much of the time, as well as imitation, it's just bad technique. So much clarity can be lost when singing sounds rather than speaking them, unless you take classical lessons (*pretension alert* such as my fine self) words just get lost. The case here, I believe, is that the /eɪ/ is losing the /ɪ/ so /beɪbi:/ becomes /bebi:/, either due to the singer "not bothering with it" or "bothering with it but it is lost". I'm not sure quite what I'm doing to force an /eɪ/ over an /e/, but it feels like I'm raising my tongue all the way to the roof of my mouth rather than almost all the way up, as if I was going for a /j/

> Everyone wants to sound like the last great
> star, so I think there is a lot of immitation and perhaps some exaggeration
> of whatever the last pop star sounded like.

The problem is, sadly, not enough exaggeration of the phonemes :)

/r/ for /ɹ/, /ɑ/ for /a/, etc

> Maybe six months ago! For
> example, the recent trend for everyone to sing in a husky voice and 
> slurring their words. I suppose it's supposed to sound cool. Myeh. Maybe
> it did for about 15 minutes some time in the last century when it first
> happened. Anymore, it's just another of the same.

For us it seems to be "singing like Amy Winehouse", even if you're male. Although Paloma Faith is good, but mainly because she's as mad as a fruitcake :)

> 
>> Ray
> 
> Padraic