Saturday, 29 September 2007

Phun with Fonetics

Phlegm. That many consonants and you know something's got to be wrong. But I would take my bronchitis, and gladly, if it meant the full and proper acknowledgement of those consonantal clusters. Time and time again, I hear the phonetic glories of "phlegm" reduced to - ho hum - "flem". (This, a pronunciation so pervasive that my first born niece, in sicklier and less literate days, believed that she was coughing up "flame". This would have been perfectly charming if she'd been a dragon, but altogether dangerous given that she's not.)

Phlegm is a subject close to my heart. In my lungs, to be precise. For a limited time only. So I am seizing the chance to militate for a fully fledged articulation of all those consonants. "Ph" is /f/, plus aspiration, then there's a "leg", then an /m/. I suggest a glottal stop between the "leg" and the /m/. One, two, three, repeat after me: f-puff-leg-m!

Next week: Rasp sputum and the Fall of the Russian Empire.

7 comments:

TimT said...

Do you advocate phlogging those who phlought this phonetic rule, or should we simply bear the phloughting phlegmatically?

TimT said...

Have a revivifying cup of T.

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