Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?
Famous last words. It looks as though I shall have to come back , if only to clear up a few things.
Originally Posted by 5jj
Before I start, I'll make two points:
1. This thread is supposed to be about whether fire and fee are a minimal pair. As far as possible, I've tried to colour points not directly related to that in blue.
2. I think that most of what I have to say applies to most varieties of English, but in what follows I am speaking only of the varieties/dialects spoken in mainland Britain and, unless stated otherwise, of that BrE dialect described by John Wells in his LPD (2008.xix); he calls it 'a modernized version of the type known as Received Pronunciation, or RP'. This is, broadly speaking, the same dialect as Roach et al describe in their EPD (2003.v); they call it 'BBC English'. Incidentally, if you are interested, I would describe my own accent as slightly less refined than that of Wells (whose own accent is not that outmoded form known as 'Refined RP).
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This is getting silly. Are you seriously presenting a person's lecture notes which do not state that triphthongs are not phonemes as evidence that they are phonemes?
Originally Posted by lsah3
I am not too sure what this has to do with the fire/fee question, but even if it were relevant I would not accept a Wikipedia article as authoritative - I might have written it myself only five minutes before.
Wikipedia also says:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
English in British Received Pronunciation (monosyllabic triphthongs with R are optionally distinguished from sequences with disyllabic realizations)
I really don't see the relevance of this to the fire/fee question.
John Wells says on his page
Originally Posted by John Wells
There are also the sequences to be heard in words such as fire, power
, which some people analyse as triphthongs
: they are represented by the diphthong symbols as in price, mouth
Censorship is far worse than childish, in my opinion. I normally abhor it but, if you make unjustified claims like that in future posts, I may overcome my abhorrence.
Originally Posted by lsah3
My Analysis? I have spent a rather dull afternoon going through my (admittedly small) library of books on Phonetics/Phonology. I've looked at books by the Ashbys (M and P) Abercrombie; Celce-Murcia, Brinton & Goodwin; Collins & Mees; Kelly; Ladefoged; Roach, and Wells. None (= not one) of them includes triphthongs in their lists of BrE phonemes. Only O'Connor (1973.222) thinks that triphthongs may be phonemes, but he specifcally mentions fire as a sequence of /aɪ/ and /ə/, not a triphthong. .
According to your analysis.
Whether one considers a triphthong to be one or two syllables does not change the fact that triphthongs are not phonemes in British English
, so 'fire' and 'fee' cannot be a minimal pair.
No. They aren't.
It turns out that if you want them to be phonemes, they are. If not, they aren't.
They are indeed, but that is part of what phonemes are. /ʧ/, /ʤ/ and the diphthongs are regarded as phonemes in English because most native speakers think of them as single sounds An objective phonetician would not treat them as single sounds. As far as I know, there is not a single symbol for these sounds in IPA. On the other hand, the blends /tr/ and /dr/, which may well be thought of as phonemes in some languages, are not phonemes in BrE. 'Phoneme' is a phonological, not a phonetic, term.
Take a look at this: phonetic-blogDOTblogspotDOTcomSLASH2009SLASH12SLASHtriphtho ngs-anyoneDOThtml , particularly this quote:
Originally Posted by John Wells quoting Peter Roach
To add to the difficulty, there is also the problem of whether a triphthong is felt to contain one or two syllables. Words such as ‘fire’ or ‘hour’ are probably felt
by most English speakers (with BBC pronunciation) to consist of only one syllable, whereas ‘player’ /pleɪə/ or ‘slower’ /sləʊə/ are more likely to be heard as
and hear as
are pretty subjective.
It does indeed. Unless you can cite some authoritative sources to refute the following statements, there is nothing else to be said:
That pretty much ends the discussion.
1. In most varieties of English, the vowel(s) in the word fire are (depending on the way you analyse them), a triphthong or a diphthong followed by a schwa. They may or may not be r-coloured.
2. Triphthongs in BrE are not considered to be phonemes.
3. In many varieties of English, fa/fee, fie/fee and fa/fie would be acceptable minimal pairs; fire/fee would not.
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