Another topic that emerged during the discussion of transcription conventions for cleft palate speech at the Oslo ICPLA conference this summer concerned nasalized plosives. As we said in yesterday’s post about denasals, if we wanted to denote fully nasal stops (i.e. where airflow was exclusively through the nasal cavity), then we would use nasal symbols. So, what does the following represent? [ɡ̃]
These combinations were not explicitly mentioned in extIPA, but Grunwell and Harding (1996) do list them. They describe them as voiced plosives that have a small amount of air leaking into the nasal cavity while sufficient air is building up to result in audible plosion.
This leads us back to the problem of transcribing apical- versus molar-r in our earlier posting Aaarrrr – part 1. Should we transcribe phonetic aspects that we cannot hear? In other words, if the air leaking into the nasal cavity is so slight that we cannot perceive nasal resonance (only see it instrumentally, perhaps), do we need to transcribe it? If it’s so slight that the resultant plosive sounds normal, what is the purpose of the above transcription?
If, on the other hand, nasal resonance is perceptible, then surely what we have is a prenasalized stop? These are quite common in natural language, and varying amounts of prenasalization seem to occur, as shown in transcriptions by the use of small superscript nasal symbols, to full sized ones: [mb, mb]; indeed, stops that are both pre- and postnasalized occur: [mbm].
As before, we welcome comments from researchers into cleft palate as to whether there is a need for the nasalized plosive transcription.
Grunwell, P. & Harding, A. (1996) A note on describing types of nasality. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 10, 157‐161.