[DWJ] 'that damned hook'?

Elizabeth Evans er.evans at auckland.ac.nz
Sun Apr 15 20:16:28 EDT 2007


 Minnow:

>That seems more likely, via S'm Pauls, which again we already have with
us.
Not S'n Pauls, for some reason: is the "m" noise easier than the "n"?
Babies get to "m" first, I think, so maybe it is.

Charlie:
I think it may be something to do with the ease of that particular
tongue
movement, from 's' to 'm' (as an alternative to 'n'). Cf. 'sandwich' -->
'samwidge'. But bilabials are certainly amongst the first consonants to
be
learned by babies - hence the gratifying (to those so addressed) fact
that
so many of them say 'Mama' or 'Mummy' as their first word. Daddies trail
a
long way behind, being merely alveolar.


It's 'm' rather than 'n' because it's agreeing with the following
consonant P. Both 'm' and 'p' are bilabial consonants (a nasal and a
voiceless stop), so it's easier to form both sounds at the same place in
the mouth rather than to move from the alveolar nasal of 'n' to the
bilabial stop of 'p'. (See, undergraduate Linguistics does come in
handy!)

Regards
Elizabeth.



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