Glossonomia, Conversations on the Sounds of Speech is a podcast by Eric Armstrong and Phil Thompson. Each week we talk about a different vowel or consonant sound in English.
Episode 44: Diacritics Part 2
In Part Two of this series on Diacritics, Phil Thompson and Eric Armstrong discuss the intricacies of diacritic symbols and what they mean when applied to vowel and consonant symbols of the IPA. The guys follow along with the list of diacritic marks on the Wikipedia page for the International Phonetic Alphabet. The episode begins at laminal diacritic, which Wikipedia classifies as part of the “articulation diacritics”, and continue on to discuss “co-articulation diacritics” and “suprasegmentals”.
Episode 43: Diacritics Part 1
Though Phil and Eric had intended to cover all the diacritical marks in the IPA in this podcast, they just couldn’t do it. In fact, Eric’s recorder stopped recording after 45 minutes, though they kept talking for 15 more minutes... so this is merely an introduction to diacritics, not an exhaustive review of all of them. For reference, the boys work their way through the symbols following the order that the wikipedia article on the International Phonetic Alphabet’s section on diacritics takes, so you might want to follow along.
Episode 42: square and start
In this episode, Phil and Eric tackle two of the “centering diphthongs” (aka the r-colored diphthongs in rhotic accents), square and start. Much of the episode is spent tackling the very subtle possibilities of vowel quality where these lexical sets might be realized, and the fun that one can have tweaking those possibilities—smoothing, breaking, more or less rhoticity, more open vs. more close nuclei or codas. FUN!
Episode 41: Schwee & Schwoo
This week we delve deeper into the topic of weaken vowels that behave similarly to schwa /ə/, namely the weakened forms of the /i/ and /u/ vowels [usually realized as somewhere in the range of [i̽] or [ɨ], [ʊ] or perhaps [ɵ], sometimes known—controversially—as “schwee” and “schwoo.” We even chat about weakened diphthongs and what that might mean for speakers (“schwoe” and “schwhy,” anyone?). Phil and Eric also chat for quite some time about Geoff Lindsay’s blog post on the topic of “Schwee”.
Episode 40: Consonant Clusters
We’re tackling strings of consonants in this episode! Phil and Eric talk about clusters of consonants and how they “work” for us. Eric refers to J.C. Catford’s book A Practical Introduction to Phonetics quite a bit!
Episode 39: choice
Phil and Eric managed to do an episode on the Lexical Set choice this week, in spite of Phil’s never-ending cold and Eric’s dogs (who wanted to go out when they were in, and in when they were out...) Phil talks a bit about the history of the set, we talk about its representation in the IPA and we tackle odd variations, including the classic New York choice - nurse (near) merger.
Wit and Wisdom from Two Amiable Souls
Aimed largely at theatre professionals—actors, directors, coaches, students and teachers alike— but chock-ful of useful and fascinating information of interest to speech pathologists, educators and interested members of the general public, Glossonomia is a fantastic podcast. Eric and Phil's combination of erudition, creative geekery, and general amiability mean there's never a dull moment. I hope this podcast catches on with a wide audience, including students of phonetics and linguistics, who could glean something valuable from the hosts' empathetically humanistic approach to the sounds of speech. I never cease to joy in the appearance of a new podcast. My only complaint is that they don't come out with new episodes more frequently!
I absolutely love this podcast! It's rather like being back in a grad school class... without the threat of an exam. Phil and Eric handle the subject matter with warmth and humour and do so in a manner that I believe will appeal to both the casually interested amateur and the voice professional. Please continue the great work!
Listening to Eric and Phil talk about Phonetics is like going back to graduate school in the best possible way. Mssrs. Armstrong and Thompson manage to walk the very fine line between detail and accesability. Their in-depth exploration of the various sounds, phonetic markers, and language history is invaluable to my personal studies and to my classroom teaching. As Phil mentions in episode 5, there is a tendency for Speech teachers to use the IPA as some kind of stentorian authority; or, in other words, as a way of saying "this is the right and only way to make this sound". Glossonomia's thoughtful and intelligent discussion of sound action inspires a meaningful exploration on the many ways a sound can be produced, allowing for greater freedom in choosing sound actions. I look forward to this every week, as do many of my students.