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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:25 pm 
Sanci
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A not insignificant number of English dialects pronounce what is /juː/ in RP and GA as some form of /iu/ -- such as /ɪu/ or /iːw/.

Question: what indefinite singular article do speakers of these dialects use before words beginning with such diphthong in their dialect? Is it "a" as other dialects use, especially mainstream and "orthodox" ones, or "an", as would the rule of using the indefinite singular article dictate (i.e. "a" if the next phonological word begins with consonants; "an" if vowels)? Or is it some alternation of the two, so people sometimes use "a" and sometimes "an"?

Examples: usual(-ly), unit(-y), unite(-d), unicorn, union, uniform(-ly), use/usage/using/used, unique(-ly), uvular, university, universe/-al(-ly), unitary/-ily, (? UK, US, UV, URL, U(-whatever) ), ewe, euphonic, euphoric(-ally), euphemism/-istic(-ally), Eucharist, Europe(-an), Euro, Eugene/-nia, euthanasia, eugenic(s), eudemon(-ia), Euclidean

=========================

I post this question because as a L2 English speaker I happen to use such a pronunciation. Recently I find myself unconsciously wanting to use "an" instead of "a" before such words since I've come to the US. I am one single L2 speaker so the linguistic rules I follow might not be exactly so generally true; that's why I'm asking native speakers and other L2 English speakers, and people who have knowledge, experience, or opinions about this.

=========================

Another question that is relevant is, would someone using /iu~iw/ (broadly speaking) distinguish any of these from another in pronunciation: you, yew, ewe (or, yule, you'll) ?

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Tone: Chao's notation.
Apical vowels: [ɿ]≈[z̞̩], [ʅ]≈[ɻ̞̩], [ʮ]≈[z̞̩ʷ], [ʯ]≈[ɻ̞̩ʷ].
Vowels: [ᴇ]=Mid front unrounded, [ᴀ]=Open central unrounded, [ⱺ]=Mid back rounded, [ⱻ]=Mid back unrounded.


Last edited by Seirios on Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:58 am, edited 8 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:36 pm 
Avisaru
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Can you provide an example word? I'm struggling a little to come up with an example, myself.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 11:05 pm 
Sanci
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Axiem wrote:
Can you provide an example word? I'm struggling a little to come up with an example, myself.


Sorry -- added.

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Always an adventurer, I guess.
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Tone: Chao's notation.
Apical vowels: [ɿ]≈[z̞̩], [ʅ]≈[ɻ̞̩], [ʮ]≈[z̞̩ʷ], [ʯ]≈[ɻ̞̩ʷ].
Vowels: [ᴇ]=Mid front unrounded, [ᴀ]=Open central unrounded, [ⱺ]=Mid back rounded, [ⱻ]=Mid back unrounded.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:23 pm 
Avisaru
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Where I come from, in South Wales, many people pronounce it as /ɪw/ or /ɪu̯/ (something like that). So words like use are realised as /ɪwz/ or Europe as /ɪwrʌp/.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:17 pm 
Sanno
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My strong intuition is that the pronunciation doesn't affect the 'an'/'a' choice, presumably because that rule is no longer fully productive. But I don't have an accent like that, so I can't say for sure. But I don't think I've ever heard things like "an unicorn".

However, in some dialects some [Iw] is original, so should never have triggered 'an'. It's thus conceivable that a dialect might have "a yew" but "an ewe". And I can sort of imagine some extremely rural dialect still having 'an ewe'. However, I don't actually have contact with those dialects, so I can't say whether that imagination is actually accurate or not.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:32 pm 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
My strong intuition is that the pronunciation doesn't affect the 'an'/'a' choice, presumably because that rule is no longer fully productive.

Really?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:37 pm 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
My strong intuition is that the pronunciation doesn't affect the 'an'/'a' choice, presumably because that rule is no longer fully productive. But I don't have an accent like that, so I can't say for sure. But I don't think I've ever heard things like "an unicorn".


Well, referring to my previous post, the pronunciations of words beginning with /ɪw/ would be used with an, not a. So 'an unicorn' would certainly be heard and would sound something like /ən ɪwnɪkɔːn/.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:13 pm 
Sanno
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Jonlang wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
My strong intuition is that the pronunciation doesn't affect the 'an'/'a' choice, presumably because that rule is no longer fully productive. But I don't have an accent like that, so I can't say for sure. But I don't think I've ever heard things like "an unicorn".


Well, referring to my previous post, the pronunciations of words beginning with /ɪw/ would be used with an, not a. So 'an unicorn' would certainly be heard and would sound something like /ən ɪwnɪkɔːn/.


Really? Huh. I've honestly never encountered that, and I do know some Welsh people. But if you say so. And it's "an" for both traditional /ju/ and /Iw/?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:31 pm 
Avisaru
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Seirios wrote:
Examples: usual(-ly), unit(-y), unite(-d), unicorn, union, uniform(-ly), use/usage/using/used, unique(-ly), uvular, university, universe/-al(-ly), unitary/-ily, (? UK, US, UV, URL, U(-whatever) ), ewe, euphonic, euphoric(-ally), euphemism/-istic(-ally), Eucharist, Europe(-an), Euro, Eugene/-nia, euthanasia, eugenic(s), eudemon(-ia), Euclidean


I can't say I can recall any instance of someone using "an" with any of these, except someone mispronouncing "ewe" thinking it should be pronounced the same as "ew". I also haven't particularly noticed the /iu~iw/ change you've noted, but I don't have a particularly good ear for phonetics.

(Noting such as a speaker of GA, smack dab in the Midwest)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:19 am 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
Jonlang wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
My strong intuition is that the pronunciation doesn't affect the 'an'/'a' choice, presumably because that rule is no longer fully productive. But I don't have an accent like that, so I can't say for sure. But I don't think I've ever heard things like "an unicorn".


Well, referring to my previous post, the pronunciations of words beginning with /ɪw/ would be used with an, not a. So 'an unicorn' would certainly be heard and would sound something like /ən ɪwnɪkɔːn/.


Really? Huh. I've honestly never encountered that, and I do know some Welsh people. But if you say so. And it's "an" for both traditional /ju/ and /Iw/?


No, those Welshies, like myself, who use an initial /j/ (so it sounds more like /jɪwnɪkɔːn/ ) will use 'a' and not 'an'. The same people who say /ɪwnɪkɔːn/ are also likely to drop initial /h/ before a vowel, resulting in 'an' being used, so you'd hear "an house" instead of "a house" as /ən aus/ (or something similar).

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:49 am 
Smeric
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KathTheDragon wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
My strong intuition is that the pronunciation doesn't affect the 'an'/'a' choice, presumably because that rule is no longer fully productive.

Really?

This confuses me as well, unless I'm simply misunderstanding the statement, because for me, the choice between a and an is absolutely based on pronunciation and is productive in the sense that I have no confusion about which one to use with which word, even if I have never seen the word before. If asked to add an indefinite article to the following Japanese traditional musical instruments (shō, ichigenkin, shamisen, atarigane, ryūteki, yamatogoto), I am sure we would get the same results. So perhaps I have just misunderstood you?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:49 am 
Smeric
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It may be that Sal's idiolect has begun to lose the rule, and he's overgeneralising.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:22 am 
Sumerul
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clawgrip wrote:
KathTheDragon wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
My strong intuition is that the pronunciation doesn't affect the 'an'/'a' choice, presumably because that rule is no longer fully productive.

Really?

This confuses me as well, unless I'm simply misunderstanding the statement, because for me, the choice between a and an is absolutely based on pronunciation and is productive in the sense that I have no confusion about which one to use with which word, even if I have never seen the word before. If asked to add an indefinite article to the following Japanese traditional musical instruments (shō, ichigenkin, shamisen, atarigane, ryūteki, yamatogoto), I am sure we would get the same results. So perhaps I have just misunderstood you?

Same thought here.

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