9 thoughts on “Bonus Episode 4: Let Me ‘Buoy’ Your Spirits

  1. Thanks for your explanation of the differences between Standard English and American English in this respect.

    One issue though: ‘w’ is generally considered to be a semivowel rather than a consonant. The other example of a semivowel is ‘y’ in words like ‘yes’ (but not in words like ‘rhyme’ where it is a full vowel). It acts like a consonant only in terms of its position in the syllable, not in terms of its sound. The same semivowel sounds in Spanish are written with the letters ‘u’ (such as ‘cuanto’) and ‘i’ (such as ‘caliente’), indicating the true (semi-) vowel nature of these sounds.

    • Don,

      Thanks for the note about semivowels. As I note from time to time, I am not a professional linguist, but a semivowel like ‘w’ is in fact a consonant – is it not? By definition, it is a vowel-like sound that functions as a consonant in a particular word. I think that’s right – but let me know if I am wrong.

      Kevin

      • I think it just comes down to the way different people choose to define consonants/vowels. (I’m not a professional linguist either).

        I guess the question is – is a consonant defined by the type of sound, or by its location in the syllable? My feeling is the former, but I guess you are going with the latter.

        In Spanish ‘bueno’, I can’t get myself to call the ‘u’ a consonant, even though it is playing exactly the same role as the ‘w’ in English ‘dwell’.

        • Thank you for the fascinating podcast. Very entertaining and educational.
          As for the word “bueno”, I thought it was pronounced “boo-eno”. Like a ventriloquist pronounces the word “we” by saying “oo-ee” really fast. But I don’t speak spanish and am just guessing.

  2. Hello! I’m an English teacher from the USA living in Korea. I absolutely love your podcast. I’m only on episode 5 right now but hoping to catch up soon. One of the things that I like about your podcast is that it explains in great detail and explanation why the way things in English as they are. I hope to share some of these things with my students so that they know that English actually isn’t just a bunch of abstract rules but rather has specific, and interesting, reasonining explaining its varied structures. You’ve also piqued an interest in me to pursue some form of linguistics as a graduate student in the future. I think you’re a great historian. Thanks for sharing the product of your hard work so succintly in your podcast :)

  3. but hoping to catch up soon. One of the things that I like about your podcast is that it explains in great detail and explanation why the way things in English are as they are. I hope to share some of these things with my students so that they know that English actually isn’t just a bunch of abstract rules but rather has specific, and interesting, reasonining behind its varied structures. You’ve also piqued an interest in me to pursue some form of linguistics as a graduate student in the future. I think you’re a great historian. Thanks for sharing the product of your hard work so succintly in your podcast ;) (edited some typos)

  4. Interesting history of “buoy” and I like how you stress that there is no “right way.” Thanks!

    On a side note you really ought to get some sort of honorary linguist degree for this podcast, or at least credits toward one. I know you are not one, but you very easily could be.

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