Friday, 15 October 2010

negotiating

Thanks to Flloyd Kennedy for drawing attention to this Australian cabaret turn, in which Andrew Hansen pokes fun at the way Julia Gillard, the Australian PM, pronounces the word negotiate.

Where most people say nɪˈɡəʊʃieɪt, Ms Gillard says nɪˈɡəʊsieɪt (or with Australian vowels more precisely nəˈɡʌʊsiʌɪt).

In LPD I give both possibilities, prioritizing ʃ. EPD, ODP and the OED do the same. The Oxford Concise gives only ʃ. I think we would probably all agree that the s form has overtones of exaggerated formality, perhaps prissiness. In some cases I suspect it may also be a spelling pronunciation.

For the other words mentioned by Andrew Hansen, in LPD I prioritize ʃ in every case, giving the s variant for appreciate and substantiate, but not for propitiate, initiate or differentiate.

Everyone has ʃ in ocean, never s; but in oceanic some do have s. Most people have ʃ in the middle of species ˈspiːʃiːz, but in speciation -si- is perhaps commoner than -ʃi-. So stress has something to do with it.

(And by the way why does pronunciation have -si- rather than -ʃi-?).

I’m not sure that I can unravel all the historic and synchronic factors involved here.

30 comments:

  1. Formality and prissiness? Here's one who doesn't agree. Though it might, through rapidity and imperfectness of speech, sometimes come out with [ʃi], [si] is what I aim for in "negotiate". It might come out [sj] or [ʃj], too. The same goes for "associate", "enunciate" etc.

    Chambers recognises both [s] and [ʃ] in these words, though it specifies [si'eiʃən] in "enunciation", "pronunciation" and "renunciation". (I translate Chambers's notation into IPA)

    Woud someone be speaking overformally and prissily, who used anything other than [ʃi'eiʃən] (or [nˌ] if you want) in "negotiation", "association" etc.?

    BTW what do I type and in what order, so as to get a ˌ sign to appears under an n?

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  2. speciation, pronunciation: it's not just stress but dissimilation (or whatever the synchronic equivalent for the term is), I'd say. Saying s…ʃ is easier than ʃ…ʃ.

    oceanic: I'm one of those who have an s here. Probably because without being aware of it, I see it as a direct latinism, not an English formation from the latinism ocean. Just as I have monetary with an ɒ, not as in money.

    I find negot- with an s much less "precious" than apprec-, even to the degree that I might say nɪˈɡəʊsieɪt but əpriːʃɪeɪʃn̩ with the two ʃ. That's probably for no reason. (Relatedly, I think I tend to say issyoo but tishoo. Or tishyoo? Have to ask my wife.)

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  3. Richard Sabey: Unicode diacritics FOLLOW the base letter. The combining syllabicity mark is U+0329. Check out my page http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/ipa-unicode.htm .

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  4. Funny, I can't hear the difference between [s] and [ʃ] in "negotiate" (at least not in that video, comparing Gillard with the selection of other people). But then again, I'm a native speaker of a language without /ʃ/.

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  5. rishida.net/scripts/pickers/ipa is very useful for entering IPA characters including combining ones.

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  6. In LPD I give both possibilities [for 'negotiate'], prioritizing ʃ. EPD, ODP and the OED do the same.

    But note that the original OED entry (1906) gave ʃ only.

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  7. So, Richard, are you saying that you don't recognize Chambers's recognition of both [s] and [ʃ] in "associate", "enunciate" etc. but only of [si'eiʃən] in "enunciation", "pronunciation" and "renunciation"? Or the implied assertion that [ʃ] is a "standard" variant in the -ate forms but not in the -ation forms?

    I have no difficulty at all with that, and like Lipman, my first thought was of synchronic dissimilation in the -ation forms, though on reading him I see it could have been of diachronic non-assimilation in the -ate forms! But dissimilation is its own synchronic equivalent, and I think most people think synchronically about the relationship between the -ate forms and the -ation forms and therefore feel there is some dissimilation going on in the derived forms.

    Similarly in LPD John recognizes -ˈnʌnʃ- / -ˈnʌntʃ - for 'enunciate' (the recognition of which recognition I do have difficulty with!) and 'enunciation' but not for 'renunciation' or of course 'pronunciation'. For 'associate' his preference poll for British English is -ˌsəʊs- 69%, -ˌsəʊʃ- 31%, and for 'association' -ˌsəʊs- 78%, -ˌsəʊʃ- 22%, which figures show an astonishing resistance to both progressive and regressive dissimilation.

    And you are onto something with issyoo but tishoo or tishyoo, Lipman. Provided that by tishoo you mean nose-wipe and by tishyoo you mean the figurative type composed of lies. Not that my stab at [sj] would necessarily be any better than [ʃʃ] for the 'tissue' of lies. I'm quite sure I differentiate between the literal and figurative uses of the Latinism 'ocean' to boot! I say 'oceanic trench' with [s], but have [ʃ] in 'the oceanic pressure of the depression that's keeping me at the bottom of the mid-Atlantic trench'.

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  8. On the American side, m-w.com prefers /ʃ/ to /s/ in negotiate, appreciate, species, speciation, but gives /ʃ/ only for substantiate, propitiate, initiate, oceanic. NID3 prefers /ʃ/ to /s/ in appreciate, substantiate, initiate, species, speciation, but gives /ʃ/ only for negotiate, propitiate, oceanic. Since these two come from the same editorial tradition, this may reflect changes in AmE over time, or simply a widening of scope.

    The independent AHD4 prefers /ʃ/ to /s/ in species, speciation, but gives /ʃ/ only for the other six words. I myself have /ʃ/ in all eight of them.

    AmE generally has /ʃ/ only in issue and tissue, of course, and lists the /s/ pronunciations as British or "chiefly British", which probably means that a few Anglophiles of a certain age in New York and Boston say /ɪsju/, /tɪsju/ when they remember to do so. :-)

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  9. By the way, I was taught Australians say nəˈɡəʉʃiæɪt rather than nəˈɡʌʊʃiʌɪt.

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  10. Could the /s/ in pronunciation be a reflex of the fact that the /c/ is [s] in the root? Whereas in "species" and "ocean" it's [ʃ] in the root.

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  11. So why 'speciation' etc with s rather than ʃ, Ryan? What struck me in my earlier musings about 'oceanic' etc was the frequent failure of the derivations to conform to the root. Certainly stress and formality have something to do with it, and even I thought other kinds of markedness such as I have mentioned. I think one formof markedness may indeed be preciosity, as with John Cowan's smiley Anglophiles and their exemplars (not excluding me).

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  12. Talking about "preciosity" - I don't have the dissimilation there. I say preshous but pressi-osity or pressyosity in spite of the second s. Either the dissimilation works only in favour of s, or (rather) it's the English vs latinism thing again.

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  13. How extraordinary of you, Lipman! 'Preshiosity is already dissimilated! I prefer to leave it that way.

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  14. We sould discush thish after a glash of whishkey or two onshe.

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  15. But your speshiosity has given me a thought. Although we may suppose that the sh is from [sj] and the dissimilitude merely fortuitous (ˈspiːsɪz or ˈspiːsiːz sounds to me a bit like a spelling pronunshiation, and I see OED doesn't recognize it), I feel sure I have on occasion heard real-life dissimilation in fiːʃiːz. Or perhaps its ASsimilation to spiːʃiːz!

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  16. I think "formality and prissiness" is a bit harsh in the case of nɪˈɡəʊsieɪt. However, if you'd been talking about ˈɪsju: for "issue", I'd have had to agree. Go figure, as they say.

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  18. I think I would be inclined to say /'ɪsju:/ only in the set phrase "without issue".

    But what's interesting is that /'ɪsju:/ is by no means confined to U-RP or old-fashioned RP, as, for example, /sju:t/ for "suit" would be. I've heard /'ɪsju:/ from people with quite non-RP English regional accents.

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  19. s from street is pronounced s and sometimes ʃ

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  20. I would assume that the word pronunciation is normally /s/ instead of /ʃ/ because the associated verbal root pronounce likewise always has /s/. Since nominal renunciation is tied to verbal renounce, I expect that it too will favour /s/ for the same reasons.

    However, my personal impression is that enunciation is seldom linked to a rather uncommon verb enounce (normally enunciate) in the typical native speaker's mind, and so I can believe that there is variation in pronunciation in that case.

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  21. @ Glen Gordon: Hmmm...I've never heard enunciation with /ʃ/, but then again that isn't a word I hear too often. I certainly would never pronounce it that way in any case. I don't see why anyone who came across this word would pronounce the c in it differently than how they would pronounce it in pronunciation, which in my experience is always /s/. I'm American though (which I've mentioned too many times).

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  22. Of course, many (most?) people actually think that the word is pronounciation (with /aʊ/) and they pronounce it and spell it that way until they are corrected by a spell checker. I used to be one of these people until quite recently and sadly I'm a NS of English. So the words enunciation and pronunciation (pronounciation) would have sounded quite different from each other for a different reason, although I may have even had /aʊ/ in enunciation, and possibly spelled it that way, as well. As I said, though, that word's not as common and I probably used it very little if ever. Of course this is quite off topic, but it reminded me of that.

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  23. Hi, I didn't know where to write and I probably realise that this is off-topic, but can anyone please explain to me the issue of intonation and tell me what the pitch is and how it functions in phonetic transcription of British English?

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  24. Phil: "Hmmm...I've never heard enunciation with /ʃ/"

    Neither have I, as far as I'm aware, but I was building on mallamb's comment above: "Similarly in LPD John recognizes -ˈnʌnʃ- / -ˈnʌntʃ - for 'enunciate' (the recognition of which recognition I do have difficulty with!) and 'enunciation' but not for 'renunciation' or of course 'pronunciation'."

    "Of course, many (most?) people actually think that the word is pronounciation (with /aʊ/) and they pronounce it and spell it that way until they are corrected by a spell checker. I used to be one of these people until quite recently and sadly I'm a NS of English."

    Yes, and my bane is my uncontrollable urge to say or type longetivity instead of longevity, corrupted by the word longitude.

    These crazy mistakes illustrate why I don't feel that any of us as foreign speakers should be ashamed for making mistakes. It's "to err is human", not "to err is foreign".

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  25. vp,
    Saying /'ɪsju:/ in the set phrase "without issue", or indeed in any legal context, would not be an /ˈɪʃuː/ for me. I still think it's a matter of where things come on my scale of preciosity: judicial issues in a summing up, for example, would be at one extreme, and having "issues" about such issues would be at the other. An ˈɪʃjuː would for me bit a bit more thoughtful, and therefore somewhere in between!

    If only it were possible to factor these issues into John's preference polls in LPD. He has "British English: ˈɪʃuː 49%, ˈɪsjuː 30%, ˈɪʃjuː 21%. In American English always ˈɪʃuː." That seems to me like an awful lot of ˈɪsjuːz. It seems to me there would be far fewer ˈtɪsjuːz if he had a poll for 'tissue'. I think that 'tissue' is less likely to be formal or precious, or legal, as perhaps in my example earlier of 'a tissue of lies', and more likely to be commonplace, like any old all-purpose tissue paper.

    The way I put it earlier was that I thought ˈtɪʃuː was more likely to mean a variety such as a nose-wipe and ˈtɪʃjuː or ˈtɪʃʃuː to mean the figurative type composed of lies. I thought this was because ˈtɪʃjuː or ˈtɪʃʃuː are almost as precious as ˈtɪsjuː. I adduced in support of this my parallel use of [ʃ] in "the Latinism 'ocean'" (by which of course I meant "the Latinism 'oceanic'", referring to Lipman's idea of degrees of latinism), to mark it as an informal hyperbolic use in a figurative sense when I use the expression 'oceanic pressure' of depressive illness, as distinct from the literal (i.e. technical, parallel to legal as above) sense in 'oceanic trench', for which I have [s].

    But I can't agree that /sju:t/ for "suit" is confined to U-RP or old-fashioned RP. I am not U-RP, and just old, rather than old-fashioned, and for me 'suit' too behaves in conformity with the spectrum I have been discussing. Again I have to mobilize the judiciary: what about 'lawsuit'? 'Suit' follows sjuːt for me. I don't think I have things following suːt much at all. But suits of clothes are commonplace, so I am more likely to call them suːts. I never wear a sjuːt/suːt these days. I can't remember when I last bought a new suːt. sjuːts don't suːt me, anyway (though the verb doesn't consistently do that for me: it must be the context here). They're not ˈsjuːtəbl for people who don't get out much. Definitely ʌnˈsjuːtəbl, I would say.

    I really am not imagining all this. Again here is the LPD preference poll for British English: suːt 72%, sjuːt 28%. In American English always suːt. That's an awful lot of U-RP or old-fashioned RP speakers

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  26. I think I have /'ɪs.ju/ as the underlying representation of "issue", though this comes out as ['ɪʃu] except in very careful speech (much like "kiss you" comes out as ['kɪʃu].

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  27. But it hardly ever does come out as ['kɪʃu], army. The reduction doesn't seem to be able to go as far as in the single word ['ɪʃuː]. It can be ['kɪʃʃuː] or ['kɪʃjuː], just as in 'issue', or ['kɪʃʃʊ], ['kɪʃjʊ], which do not overlap with 'issue' for me because I don't reduce the uː in that.

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  28. I've just (12Nov10) come across an overlookt note of a remark I ment to make about why some people like to say /nɪgəʊsieɪt/ avoiding esh. Sure it's dissimilation alright but it's also, if not usually, derived from preferring in the first place not to have two eshes in 'negotiation' because in that it tends to suggest the drunken speaker's inability to avoid turning esses into eshes.
    Cheers!

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  29. JWL,
    Are you entirely sober?

    If not it's the bad company on this thread.

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