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IPAlindromes I

Mary Shapiro
Truman State University

You are all familiar with the concept of the palindrome: words and phrases that are spelled the same when reversed: Madam, I’m Adam; A man, a plan, a canal, Panama; etc. In this month’s game, we stick with the English language, but trade in traditional orthography for the IPA, introducing the concept of IPAlindromes, whether phonemic or phonetic (and, occasionally, requiring a bit of a stretch, allowing for idealization of dialects, idiosyncratic variations, etc., just as the traditional palindrome ignored word spacing, punctuation marks, capitalization, etc.).

For example, right rear tire /rajtrirtajr/ may be considered a phonemic IPAlindrome (assuming that we agree to treat the diphthong as a single unit), but not a phonetic one, as only the second /t/ would be aspirated (and the first would likely be glottalized).

A dose of soda, on the other hand, could be a phonetic IPAlindrome, but not a phonemic one because of the asymmetrical consonant-final preposition. (In casual speech, I personally would be most likely to delete that consonant, flap both instances of /d/, and schwa liberally, yielding [əɾosəsoɾə].)

Determine which of the following phrases may be phonetic IPAlindromes, phonemic IPAlindromes, both, or neither:

  1. Let’s tell!
  2. Meet a team.
  3. Rocks scar.
  4. Rock a car.
  5. Do I? Popeye wooed.
  6. Sheila’s mom’s a leash.
  7. I gulp Tut’s plug-eye.
  8. I pee some mussy pie.
  9. Might zip; is time.
  1. We kissed egg, get sick, ew!
  2. Shall I sign a nice eyelash?
  3. Cheapskate takes peach.
  4. Test node nine; don’t set.
  5. See, pony, we know peace.
  6. Own knife? Fine, no.
  7. Carry tea rack.
  8. Leave steak, Kate’s veal
  9. “Now we bowl, Luke!”—
    “Cool, Obiwan!”

Complete the puzzle and send your solutions to the editors of SpecGram by July 15th, 2012 and you could win a SpecGram magnet of your choice. The correct solution and winners, if any, will be announced in the upcoming August issue.

Fifty Grades of AAdvertisement
SpecGram Vol CLXV, No 1 Contents