threaten, frighten - small j palatization (pronunciation)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by kidika, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. kidika

    kidika Senior Member

    Península Ibérica
    Castellano de Castilla
    Hello there!

    Does anyone know why words like threaten and frighten have a small upper j phonetic symbol in the dictionary? What does it mean? How is it pronounced?:confused: I thought I knew some phonetics, but apparently I need some updating. I know how and where /j/ appears and how it is pronounced, but I can´t figure out what that tiny j is doing in words like the ones above.

    I apologise if this is the wrong place to post this question. Please feel free to move it to wherever it should be.

    Thank you very much.

    Edit: I´ve found this thread
    Apparently that is the phenomenon that occurs here, or similar. So I´ve reopened it, in case someone is interested in this topic.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  2. WombleK

    WombleK Senior Member

    English - British
    The /j/ is part of the dipthong /aj/ - pronounced like the word "eye".
  3. kidika

    kidika Senior Member

    Península Ibérica
    Castellano de Castilla
    Well, not really. The sounds in eye are /aI/ , which by the way, are not the ones that WR shows for that entry:cool:
  4. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    It's an error in reproducing the syllabic n symbol on a webpage. It should be a short vertical line under the center of the n, not a little j above and to the right.

    Syllabic n is an n pronounced without a vowel. The n sound is like a vowel in that it can be prolonged until you run out of breath.
  5. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    Ok, now that I've read the posts in the other (hilo), I was serious about palatalization being marked with a tiny j up there, but the example with 'threaten' doesn't make any sense. I guess that it's really a typo, screwing up the fact that it is a syllabic [n], as Forero said.
  6. kidika

    kidika Senior Member

    Península Ibérica
    Castellano de Castilla
    I guess you´re right Forero. But since it seems like a very straightforward sound, one that comes naturally when you don´t pronounce the schwa, it doesn´t need to be transcribed, I should imagine. Thanks for you input:thumbsup:

    Duvija, I just hope they correct that mistake in the English-Spanish dictionary.

    Anyone out there? :p
  7. Agró

    Agró Senior Member

    Alta Navarra
    even [ˈiːvn̩]

    Unfortunately, that naughty small mark moves right when copied-and-pasted:mad:.

    Anyway, nothing to do with palatalization.
  8. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    Oh, wait. It depends if you want a broad phonetic transcription, or the narrow one. When the n is the nucleus of a syllable, and therefore syllabic, it should be transcribed (at least for the benefit of people who work on syllable structure, like myself).

    mātṝṇām (tiny example from Sanskrit, I sent to another forum).
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012

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