I would like to request a sample of a certain phonetic phenomenon in English. Is it the right place to make such a request? If so, what should the title of my post be? It's hardly a question so should I force it into the form of one? If not, would it be fine to ask a question about the phenomenon and add the request as an aside? Would it be fine to request that the recording be of a person unaware that their voice is to be used as an accent sample?

Added: What I'm interested in the most is a recording (or, if possible, several recordings) of the glottaly reinforced p. I would like to hear one for no other reason than a desire to learn as much about English as I can. I am sure I have heard it before, but I wasn't paying attention then, and my attempts to reconstruct the sound as I vaguely recall it haven't been successful. I'm sure I will want to ask some questions with my request, but since I don't know yet if my request is on topic on this site, I haven't tried to work my question out fully yet.

Added even more: This may not be clear from the previous added section. All my knowledge about phonetics is self-taught, without any guidance from an experienced phonetician, so even the most detailed description may not be enough for me. I would just like to hear the sound.

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    I'd never heard of "glottal reinforcement", so I Googled "glottally reinforced" and found this as the fourth item down. It has a recording on that page and pointers to others. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 18 '12 at 22:21
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    @StoneyB Thanks! I didn't think of googling this. – user18036 Sep 18 '12 at 22:26
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    Google will answer anything. Unfortunately, you can't trust it to answer anything correctly. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 18 '12 at 22:29
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    @StoneyB Would it were true. My Master's thesis would be so much easier to write then. Google doesn't seem to care about my subject at all. Nobody seems to care actually. – user18036 Sep 18 '12 at 22:32

I presume you need a recording specifically because your question cannot be answered otherwise. Then you can phrase the question thus, and suggest that a recording would probably be the best (or possibly only) way of answering it. Such a question would no doubt be welcome here.

But you might be surprised at what people can come up with: perhaps someone else has analysed this phenomenon you are interested in and written a detailed phonetic description in fine IPA—who knows?

Just post your question, with as many details and as much background as possible, and you'll probably be fine. People here usually look favourable on questions that show effort.

Added: I presume this glottally reinforced p is a feature of English? And you want to know how it is different from some other pronunciation of (the letter) p? So in which words does this sound occur?

If you are just trying to improve your pronunciation of this p sound in English, wouldn't it be better to just listen to several recordings of words with p that are widely available on the internet, like on Howjsay and Forvo? There are also websites where you can specifically practise your pronunciation of the consonants, and they will no doubt have some recordings. Then I am not sure what extra information you would hope to gain here, unless it is extremely detailed—then I think you should ask a detailed question, and it will be accepted.

So for me it is not yet possible to tell whether your question will be on topic or not. If you just want a recording of something, and it is not too basic, I would formulate your title as "how is the p in [words x, y, y] pronounced exactly?". It might be closed if people feel that it is too basic, I can't tell yet. But then, no kittens will die if your question gets closed, so I wouldn't worry about that. There is no punishment or anything (unless your post dozens of close-worthy questions a day).

  • Well, I'm actually more interested in the recording than in asking any questions about the phenomenon. I can surely come up with some questions, but I'm not sure I can think of ones that require a recording. My main question here is whether it is fine to ask for a recording and not ask any questions about it. OK, I will post here what I would like to post on the main page. – user18036 Sep 18 '12 at 22:07
  • @ymar: Why do you want a recording, then? Surely there is something you need it for? If you need it for something, but you can't record it yourself, then it is probably some kind of information you're after, isn't it? – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Sep 18 '12 at 22:08
  • I have posted some details in the question. – user18036 Sep 18 '12 at 22:17
  • @ymar: Updated my answer. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Sep 18 '12 at 22:28

This seems to me a perfectly valid question under the "Pronunciation (phonetics and phonology, dialectology)" rubric, and an interesting one, too; at least I found it interesting.

  • Thank you for the answer. The only thing that makes me wonder if it's OK is that it's not really a question but a request. And if it's OK, I will probably want to post more requests like this. – user18036 Sep 18 '12 at 22:32
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    What's a question but a request for information? --and for some matters, a recording is more informative than a second-hand description. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 18 '12 at 22:41
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    @ymar: So, what sort of request would this be? You'd ask a bunch of ELUers to recording themselves saying "Peter Piper picked a peck of properly pickled peppers" or something? (I, too, am rather interested, if not a bit confused.) – J.R. Sep 19 '12 at 0:21
  • @J.R. That would be a possibility, but I rather thought of existing Youtube videos. It would be good if someone gave a name of an actor, comedian, politician or some other kind of public figure, who consistently uses a certain pronunciation, and if the public figure were video-googlable so that I could listen to them and study their accent. – user18036 Sep 19 '12 at 10:07
  • Ah! If I understand you right, then your question might be something like, "I'm interested in learning more about [X] (say, the glottally reinforced p) - does anyone know a good example of a famous person who uses this prominently in his or her pronunciation?" If that's correct, it's a very interesting question, but some people might consider it a form of polling, which is sometimes frowned upon. It might not hurt to try; the worst thing that could happen would be downvotes and a closure. Just be very thorough when you frame your question – it stands a better chance when written intelligently. – J.R. Sep 19 '12 at 10:26

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