twicker tweet

Today’s (Halloween) Zits, with a big “Aww” response from Jeremy:

Unlike trickle treat (reported on here in a 11/27/14 posting), which has a syllabic r (in casual-speech trick or) misheard as a syllabic l (so that trick or is misidentified as trickle), twicker tweet is entirely a matter of production (rather than perception), with [w] for English approximant r [ɹ̠] in child phonology.

Three real-life appreciations of childish twicker tweet:

Adults of Reddit, how did you decide to have/not have kids? redveinlover: All my life I said I wanted no kids. Until Halloween of my 26th year, when a little boy in a Pooh costume came to my door and held out his little plastic pumpkin and said “Twicker tweet.” (AskReddit link)

Notch__Johnson: Man I remember when all costumes were those plastic masks with a little slit to breathe and a rubber band that always broke so you had to hold it up to your face when you rang doorbells and yelled a muffled “TWICKER TWEET!” (VWVortex link)

Bilgefisher: I’m not a big Halloween fan. Had my light off, but I bought candy because of my sweet tooth. Little kid knocked on the door in a incredible hulk costume. I had to give him candy. I may be a stick in the mud, but how can you turn down a little kid. twicker tweet. (The Fast Lane link)

On the approximant, from Wikipedia:

The [voiced] alveolar approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the alveolar and postalveolar approximants is ⟨ɹ⟩, a lowercase letter r rotated 180 degrees…

The most common sound represented by the letter r in English is the postalveolar approximant, pronounced a little more back and transcribed more precisely in IPA as ⟨ɹ̠⟩, but ⟨ɹ⟩ is often used for convenience in its place. For further ease of typesetting, English phonemic transcriptions might use the symbol ⟨r⟩ even though this symbol represents the alveolar trill in phonetic transcription.

[postalveolar approximant:] Often labialized. May also be a labialized retroflex approximant.

It’s the labialization that’s preserved in kids’ simplification of the labialized retroflex postalveolar approximant to the bilabial approximant — preserving the labial gesture while finessing the retroflex and postalveolar gestures.


2 Responses to “twicker tweet”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    The English ⟨ɹ⟩ is a most unusual sound in the world’s languages. I think Spanish in some parts of the world may use it to realized the “erre” phoneme. One language I’ve heard in recordings does appear to have an English ⟨ɹ⟩ – the west African language Yorùbá. Do you know of any others?

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