A U.S. linguistics expert couldn’t hear Tom Lukiwski pronouncing a ‘d’ on a video in which he says he said “NDP horde” but some believe he said “NDP whore”.
The video surfaced on Thursday of the Moose Jaw MP’s election night victory speech last month. In it, Lukiwski refers to Saskatchewan Party MLA Greg Lawrence as he speaks of the boundary redistribution that affects Lawrence’s Moose Jaw Wakamaw constituency.
Some have said they believe Lukiwski referred to a provincial candidate “an NDP whore”.
Speaking with News Talk Radio on Thursday, Lukiwski denied using the word, insisting he said “NDP horde”.
To get a linguistics perspective, the CJME Morning Show turned to an expert in the U.S. – given that he would have an unbiased opinion on Canadian politics.
“I did not hear a ‘d’,” Dr. Timothy Habick said.
“That doesn’t mean that the speaker didn’t attempt to produce a ‘d’ but there was no ‘d’ perceptible to my ears.”
Habick is a specialist in linguistics and linguistic analysis of communication content, and has been the owner of a research company which has been operating for more than 20 years. He has been qualified as an expert in linguistic analysis and has given testimony at trial and depositions.
Habick says there are acoustic analysis that can be done, which might be able to show a “trajectory that indicates that the ‘d’ was on its way to being formed but didn’t get there”.
Habick hasn’t done such an analysis on the Lukiwski video, adding that anyone – not just linguists – would have difficulty hearing the ‘d’ on ‘horde’.
“Speakers mispronounce words all the time. They just intend to say one word and another one comes out – this is very common.”
Habick noted that the grammar used by Lukiwski adds to the argument that he was saying “whore”, although it may have just been done in error.
“From a grammatical point of view that a native speaker of English … what is the likelyhood that he would produce a phrase such as ‘an NDP horde’? It would seem to me that a native speaker of English would refer to a group of people that it already identified with the definite article ‘the NDP horde.'”
Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten has written to Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose asking for Lukiwski to be removed from her caucus. Ambrose has responded with a statement saying that she accepts Lukiwski’s explanation that the comment was misheard.