Markos wrote:I think Pster and I are just having some fun, but the serious point is that both iotacism and American shwaism do conflate several (but not all) vowels, exchanging phonemic clarity for euphony. In both cases it is more easily tolerated by native speakers than second language learners. My point is only that pronunciation, like language in general, should only be described, never prescribed or proscribed. I think that is what Pster means by getting real, and I think, from your previous posts, that you agree?
Yes, No, and I don't know.
Yes, we are having fun.
No, I don't agree that one should not prescribe. Meaning emerges in part from regularity. In all honesty, I'm fairly reactionary about language. We should, as best we can, adhere to the dominant rules. It is quite incorrect to reason from the observation that language changes over time to the view that the linguistic norms somehow lack normative force. People who poopoo linguistic norms are either James Joyce, Don Quioxte, or just too lazy to pay attention. People who can't distinguish between a restrictive "that" and a non-restrictive "which" are almost always the same people who are terrible listeners. The same holds true of pronunciation. I had four hours of second language class today and I'm sick and tired of trying to understand people who can't put in the effort to distinguish hard g's and soft g's among other things. I'm not talking about you of course Markos. Just speaking generally.
I don't know exactly why I titled the thread the way I did. I think I just wanted folks to give honest answers.