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Incognito
Topic Rating: +1 (1 votes) 
2012/12/04
4:21am
Raffee
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Do you pronounce this word with a sounded 't', or no? My dictionaries say 'no'. I think it may be due the strong vowel before the 't'. But, they also don't show a sounded 't' for the variation /ɪnˈkɑ:gnətoʊ/. If the "strong vowel" theory is not correct, how is the word any different from 'ditto', for which the dictionary shows the sounded 't'. Or maybe that's a typo.

Oh, now that I mentioned 'typo', let me ask another question.

One of my dictionaries shows the pronunciation of via.gra ( obviously, with the '.' as an anti-censorship measurement) as /vaɪɚgrə/, that is with an 'r' in the first syllable. I'm pretty sure that this one is a typo, isn't it?

2012/12/04
5:36am
Glenn
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I'm not sure what you mean by a "sounded t." The dictionaries I consulted show the same t sound for both incognito and ditto.

As for /vaɪɚgrə/, I can't speak about the British pronunciation, but that rhotic schwa notation strikes me as a likely typo. It doesn't even make sense in the context.

For American pronunciation, it is /vaɪˈægrə/.

2012/12/04
10:38pm
RobertB
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A sounded t , I supposed, would be like t in Spanish or Italian ? Google-Translate can sound out that distinction pretty well, for incognito or any words having t. What does a dictionary do to show a sounded t ?
Perhaps the breathy muted t is one of the distinguishing features of English.

2012/12/06
2:45am
Raffee
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By sounded 't' I meant, 't' pronounced like a quick /d/. 

My dictionary shows a sounded 't' with a little line curved upward, under it. (Like a crescent facing up.)

2012/12/06
6:11am
Glenn
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I would call that sound a "flap t." From an articulatory standpoint, it is an alveolar tap. In American English, it is an allophone of the phoneme t.

Speaking fluidly, I would pronounce the t of incognito as a flap t variant as in letter (Am.E.). However, when I use this word, it is often in an emphatic position. In that case, I am likely to pronounce the t as the unvoiced aspirated allophone.

Jim went to the party, but he went incognito. (aspirated)
Cheryl had an incognito rendezvous while on vacation in Greece. (flap)

The more natural reading in American English is with the flap t. Perhaps the use of aspirated t version is a vestige of "schoolboy Latin", and the use of flap t a sign of waning familiarity with elementary Latin.

Similarly, as a beneficiary of schoolboy Latin, I would be likely to aspirate the t in "errata."

2012/12/06
9:50am
RobertB
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How illuminating !
I guess Americans have the choice between flap and aspirated for ditto, water, incognito, but Brits will go straight aspirated, no?
But there is no choice with these:
Tin -- aspirated
Sting -- unaspirated
String -- aspirated

2012/12/06
12:40pm
Glenn
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There are lots of regional pronunciations, both British and American, that would use alternative articulations for the phoneme /t/. One that we haven't discussed in this thread occurs in several regional pronunciations: the glottal stop. (Note: the addition of parentheses represents an optional schwa before a syllabic consonant. The IPA raised schwa doesn't seem to work.)
button /bʌt(ə)n/ in some regions [ bʌʔn̩ ] little /lɪt(ə)l/ in some regions [ lɪʔl̩ ] metal /mɛt(ə)l/ in some regions [ mɛʔl̩ ] bottle /bɑt(ə)l/ in some regions [ bɑʔl̩ ] ditto /dɪtoʊ/ in some regions [ dɪʔoʊ]

The vowels may be realized differently in the different regional pronunciations, but the point is about the /t/ pronounced as [Ê”].

I'll give you tin as an aspirated t, and sting as an unaspirated t. Don't get me started on the pronunciation of /tr/ and /str/!

2012/12/06
4:42pm
RobertB
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Well start already, start away.
Why should string not be t-aspirated?
The glottal is fairly common with button, little, bottle. But I never heard it with metal, ditto, incognito. A theory suggests itself there: people use the glottal, a barely suggesting sound, if audible, with words that are most common and easily recognizable in their circumtances, and otherwise use stronger articulation. No?

2012/12/07
4:03am
Glenn
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To keep it simple, I will agree that in /str-/ and /tr-/ the /t/ phoneme is aspirated.

It's just that when you start talking about aspiration, you open the can of worms for a full discussion of the phonetic articulation details. By beginning to discuss aspiration, you have to point out other aspects of the phonetics of the /t/ in /str-/ and /tr-/. This /t/ is not at all the same as the /t/ in tin or sting. The /r/ wreaks havoc on the /t/. Because the articulation of the /r/ is further back in the mouth from the /t/, the /t/ assimilates this placement from a bit to a whole lot. As a result, the /t/ becomes palatalized (moves a bit toward the palate) or assumes a palatal articulation (is articulated fully on the palate).

It is easier to describe the fully palatal articulation. This is not uncommon, and often unjustly mocked. Imagine truck spelled *chruck. Imagine string spelled *shchring. This palatalization is always significantly there when you introduce the /r/, but to varying degrees.

truck /trʌk/ pronounced as [t̠ʰrʌkʰ] or even [t͡ʃʰrʌkʰ] string /strɪŋ/ pronounced as [s̠t̠ʰrɪŋ] or even [ʃt͡ʃʰrɪŋ]

The point is that discussing aspiration demands discussion of other messy articulation details, and the /t/ of truck and string is not the same as either the /t/ in tin or the /t/ in sting.

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