As is well known in physics circles, mass, energy, momentum, charge, quantum color, quantum flavor, baryon number, lepton number, parity, and probability density are all conserved, and cannot be created or destroyed in normal (non-
Instead, let us consider phonetic conservation. That’s right, those flimsy little surface forms that have almost no consequence in linguistic theory. They are conserved. Let us consider two examples.
First, when a Bostonian “pahks his cah in Hahvahd yahd”, the missing /r/’s are not lost. Instead, they evaporate, aerosolizing and floating up into the æther. They travel with the prevailing dialect currents and precipitate down in Texas and other places, where people “warsh” clothes, dishes, and cars, and cook “squarsh”. In this case, the /r/ is not only conserved, but relatively untransformed and easy to identify. By plotting the prevalence of words like “pahk” and “cah” and “warsh” and the less-
Our second example may be somewhat less obvious to those who are not familiar with phonetic evaporation and precipitation, but the evidence is no less firm or clear. I contend that the occurrence of pronunciations such as /jumən/ for “human” of /justən/ for “Houston” lead directly to pronunciations like /nju/ for “new”. In this case the connection is perhaps muddled by those who do not realize that laws of conservation do not preclude transformation. In this case, /h/’s in initial /hj/clusters assimilate to the following /j/. Of course, /j:umən/ is even sillier-
Many native speakers don’t particularly like these pronunciations. The underlying reason for this is that they recognize the lack of phonetic balance in such words. Whether /r/-
I will have to save the full details of my most important evaporative/
All that’s left is for the Nobel Committee to establish a Prize for Linguistics and award it to me.
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