Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default /n/ to /m/ rule?

    It seems to me that a phonetic rule for one word is not particularly helpful. /n/ is the pronunciation in all the other words I can think of with /f/ following a post-vocalic /n/.

    I wrote those words in another thread in response to one of lauralie2’s posts:

    Allophones are predictable: they occur in obvious phonetic environments. For example, Banff (place in Canada) has two pronunciations, Ba[n]ff and Ba[m]ff. If you were a linguist hearing this language for the first time, how would you write down the word, with an <n> or an <m>? That is, which phoneme would you choose, /n/ or /m/? The answer is in the phonetic environment, predictability: both [m] and [f] are pronounced with the lips. The two sounds [m] and [f] share articulatory features. That's the 'obvious phonetic environment' I mentioned above. The word is Banff, with an /n/. The phonetic rule: /n/ is pronounced as [m] before /f/ in the word <Banff>.

    Since then, I have looked up Banff in John Wells’s Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd edition, 2008). He gives the pronunciation for both BrE and AmE as /n/ (with a superscript /t/, with /m/ (with a superscript /p/) as a variant. He uses a symbol to denote that the variant is ‘derived by rule’.

    I still don’t think that a phonetic rule for one word is helpful. Can anybody come up with any other inf words in which the /n/ is pronounced /m/? Or is there something else that I am missing?
    Last edited by 5jj; 04-Feb-2011 at 10:46.

  2. #2
    raindoctor is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Swahili
      • Home Country:
      • Kenya
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    179
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /n/ to /m/ rule?

    information (imf); s and p (smp)

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,793
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: /n/ to /m/ rule?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I still don’t think that a phonetic rule for one word is helpful. Can anybody come up with any other inf words in which the /n/ is pronounced /m/? Or is there something else that I am missing?
    I agree, but it's not just for one word.
    'Information' can be pronounced 'imf...' (perhaps influenced by anticipation of the /m/)

    But this also applies to the bilabials, /p/ and /b/
    Here are some examples. I won't worry about IPA, since it's the n/m distinction that's being made (and I'm not saying everyone makes this switch):
    input -> /imput/; inpatient
    Canberra -> /Camberra/; Cranberry -> cramberry; in between; in books;

    You might be missing that Banff is a proper name, and if the original Mr or Mrs Banff said it was Bamff, or Bampff, then that's what it is.
    This intrusive /p/ can also occur in /compfortable/ and similar words.

    Learners: the above are not recommendations.

    PS: Oops, I note "information" has been given. Er ... "informal"

Similar Threads

  1. is there any rule about this?
    By doingresearch in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 27-May-2010, 06:10
  2. Is there a rule?
    By Anne59 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 31-Mar-2008, 14:11
  3. rule about
    By **C@RL$$** in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-Mar-2008, 18:49
  4. What is the rule?
    By Mahi in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 17-Jul-2007, 11:18
  5. Is there a rule for -ed
    By thunderandlightning in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 22-May-2007, 08:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •