Oakenshield unflappable

For previous discussion of this theme, regarding how much I love the way Mr. Armitage says the word “little,” go here. Re-reading that, I want to mention that I did find an example of him using the glottal stop for the “t” consonant, but a careful listen reveals that even then, he still doesn’t velarize the final “l.” He says “little” around 0:25.

Anyway, the thing I wanted to talk about again briefly was the squee I experience when I hear Richard Armitage say particular words. In this case, the word is “fighting,” as at about 0:21, when Thorin asks Bilbo, “Done much fighting?” and the way he pronounces the “t” (voiceless alveolar stop) in that word.

This is another instance where Mr. Armitage (unsurprisingly — I’m not saying he should) does not engage in the kind of intervocalic alveolar flapping, or synchronic lenition (“weakening”) of the “t” that would be typical in much of the United States. In the previous example, he was confronting the pronunciation of the geminate (double consonant) “t.” Here, the question is the pronunciation of the voiceless alveolar stop or “t” when it is not in Auslaut (coda), as when it occurs before the suffix “ing.”  Many U.S. speakers here would exchange the “t” for an alveolar flap; this lenition is said by linguistic specialists to increase the sonority of the consonant. Mr. Armitage emphatically does not do that — we still hear the plosive quality of the stop as it would be heard in Auslaut (at the end of the syllable). There are also implications here for the related form of the preceding vowel (a long “i”) — it can’t move toward a diphthong as fully as it would in the mouths of many U.S. speakers.

All of which is to say — love how he says that word. Or more prosaically — thank you, Richard Armitage, for having a British accent. Sigh ….

~ by Servetus on November 4, 2012.

30 Responses to “Oakenshield unflappable”

  1. Sighing along with you. There have been discussions of words that his admirerers most love to hear him say…

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  2. I notice things like that, too as I have a love for words. I particularly love the way Richard speaks and the word “fire’ is said in such a sexy way as to make me, and I don’t often use this word, squee whenever I here him use it. In Lords of the North I love how he says Uhtred’s love interest’s name, Giselia. I would love to hear him say my name like that! ~sigh~

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  3. He’ll have to engage in intervocalic alveolar whatsit for the Black Sky movie, won’t he? I finished listening to LoTN some days ago (since then I’ve started listening to disc 1 again..Please someone tell me that I’ll be able to stop listening to it eventually? And continue reading Sunne in Splendour? I’m way behind in my reading!) but I’m too embarrassed to reveal which word I loved to hear him say the most! It ends with “s”. 🙂 It sent shivers running up and down my spine..

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  4. *SIGH* (it was a big one) I have never broken it down like you do (love it by the way – linguistics kills me), but the combination of that voice and accent is lethal for me! I have to admit, I’m dying to see how it will sound wrapped around mid-America.

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  5. The combination of his voice and that accent gets me EVERY time! *sigh*

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    • I wonder how we could differentiate between those things. Also writing this down as something to think about although I’m not sure how to address it analytically.

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  6. I find the way he says “excite”, “excited” or “exciting” to be, well, exciting. He says it as Guy while discussing his upcoming nuptials with her father (she is in bed recovering from the wound received from him as the Nightwatchman.) I have also heard him say it as himself in interviews, but would have no way of analyzing why I find it so interesting. Something to do with the x and c, I think. This subject would make a great blog or tumblr project all by itself.

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    • Thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you. Part of it is possibly that he articulates the xc so distinctly — ek siting — so he gets a lot of mileage out of the “s” sibilant which just screams “tongue” ?

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  7. His voice is like good tranquilizer-relaxing but not soporifc 😉
    I particulary love the sound of his”K”

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  8. I am a sucker for a british accent. There are many of his words or phases that I like. I think my favorite is don’t, not sure why I just like it. There is just something about Richards voice.

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    • I think I’ve talked about that one before — that diphthong long “o” (which you’d never hear in N. Wisconsin, lol) 🙂

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  9. What. That’s mine. I love to hear him say what. And in the trailer: What of it? So. Very. British. Sigh.

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  10. His voice, accent and pronunciation are a potent combination. The way he pronounces all those old Saxon and Danish words in LOTN gives me goosebumps. Delicious.

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  11. I can see that I have neglected this theme too much over the last year. Will have to get on the stick.

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  12. You are one funny bugger. Love reading this blog.

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  13. […] I think the second or third line, Darryl says, there’s a pretty noticeable, almost aggressive intervocalic alveolar flap (something, we’ve noticed, that Richard Armitage doesn’t do — he either […]

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  14. […] a glottal stop in the Anglophile Channel interview? He was swallowing his “t.” This tendency (and its opposite, the refusal to commit the American alveolar flap) is something I’ve been […]

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  15. […] and “Pegotty.” On Richard Armitage’s (non-) relationship with the alveolar flap, here, and the posts that link to that […]

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