This 30th collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-
The word Grandfather is commonly shortened to Grandpa, which is sometimes spelt ‘Grampa’. Give articulatory reasons explaining this spelling.
This is because ‘Grandpa’ is typically pronounced [græmpɑ]. As such, the spelling reflects the way the word is pronounced.
In saying Grandpa, speakers would end the first syllable Grand on a /ð/ voiced syllable then start ‘pa’ with another voiced syllable /p/. One lessens the effort whilst saying Gram, lips are pursed and ready on /m/ to pronounce /p/.
The phoneme /nd/ is retracted to /m/. This is also known as retractive assimilation.
There is retroactive assimilation. The /p/ sound is made with the lips in a closed position so the /n/ and /d/ phonemes become a single voiced consonant /m/.
The purpose of producing m, then p, is to shorten /nd/ to become /m/.
In Grandpa, the stress is on ‘pa’ and since ‘p’ is a plosive bilabial consonant, the force of the release is very strong, making it a distinct sound. Hence ‘m’ can be used to replace ‘n’ since they are both nasal and the difference is minimised since the focus of pronunciation is on ‘p’.
‘m’ is of the same tongue position as ‘ae’, horizontal and in the middle so its’ easier to move to than ‘n’ and ‘d’. It is also rounded and prepares for the rounded stop, P.
This is due to the intrusive /m/ principle based on the phonological rule of place of articulation when if a word is pronounced quickly enough, the articulators will tend to merge.
More to come...