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23 April 2006

to allophones I've loved before...

OK, admitedly, I'm procrastinating, watching "Inside America's Military Academies" on "The Military Channel" because (a) I'm fascinated that I even get such a channel, as I am at trainees saying things like "...this is not like the video game!" and (b) it's Ginapalooza's new fantasy that I become a civilian hottie language instructor in Monterey at the D.L.I. and hook up with a Navy man looking for a good woman and all that. By the way, me in basic training? I'd be kicked out so fast for complaining so much, jeesh!

As this program runs in the background I've been surfin da internets and multi-tasking, so imagine my shock when I came across this here shocker about [w] and [v]. Experts have decided that The Swedish language now has another letter so it's just madness.

I'm really having trouble with imagining a 'Lundqwist' from 'Swerige'. Are [w] and [v] allophones*, and if so, what is the underlying form, or are they just separate phonemes? I'm thinking it's the former, but I will need to turn to my theoretical heavies for confirmation. Because I won't be able to sleep or do the work I must attend to until I conduct some Sunday side research on this matter. Conspiracy theorists will blame the American president that it's THIS particular letter, and I bet those scholars unpacking issues of language shift and/or maintenance are all giddy.

On a practical note, I'm a bit concerned how this discovery will influence my future IKEA purchases. When I put my "Wikkasnorken" duvet cover or "Wili" flower pot or even my "Wek" knife set into my oversized blue plastic IKEA shopping bag, how will I cope? I guess I'll have to get a double portion of the luscious meatballs to calm my nerves. But wait, I think I already OWN IKEA items with 'w' in their names. Does this mean these names were Previously Not Board-Approved Swedish But Are Now OK? Help!

Comments? And while you're commenting, do you say "Eye-KEY-uh" or "eee-KAY-uh"? I say the latter, most likely because I my first IKEA's on the Continent and I didn't even know one might say "eyeKEEuh" but then again, I prefer room temperature drinking water so I'm crazy like that.

*one of several phones from the same phoneme. Like in Engish, [p-aspirated] and [p] are from /p/, occuring in complementary distribution and all that. Meaning they are not considered totally different sounds, like they may be in other languages. At least I think that's what 87 years of grad school has left as linguistic theory residue on at least one lobe of my brain.