Saturday, May 16, 2009

Does it count as unvoiced if the whole word is whispered?

Needless to say I've been excitedly tracking Grace's acquisition of various sounds as she learns to speak and I've been waiting anxiously to hear her first unvoiced consonant.

The other day, we came to a fine page in a book with the following text:

"The PIG is driving the tractor... putt-putt-putt..."

The putt-putt-putt is supposed to be a tractor sound (there are round poofs of smoke which illustrate the rhythm going out of the tractor tailpipe).

Grace finds this page highly entertaining, enough so that she echoed back:


It was the first time I ever heard a clear "P" from her, so I was very excited. But then I realized she had whispered the rest of the word (a shouted whisper).

Oh well.

If you're curious, Grace's consonants so far are roughly as follows...

Grace's sound, roughlyPhonemes she uses the sound for (in rough "English-y" notation)
d/t/ and /d/
b/b/ and /p/
ʒ (zh)/s/, /z/ /ʃ/ (sh),/tʃ/ (ch) /dʒ/ (j)
ɹ (some version of it)/ɹ/ (r) and /w/
funny sounds
p/p/ in a whispered tractor sound
r* (coronal trill)Used consistently for what a duck says -- I have no idea why
[ʙ] (bilabial trill)Used joyfully and frequently for silliness
r̼ (linguolabial trill)Used joyfully and spitfully for silliness

*Katharine things this might be [ʀ] (uvular trill), which would make some more sense of it since this at least has her tongue somewhere close to the position needed for a "quack" sound (velar plosive)


Ryan said...

It totally counts, especially since she has probably done a few repeat performances since then.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere recently I read about the articulatory differences between whispering and ordinary devoicing. I can't remember what they were, only that there are some.