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Re: German _ch_ (was: Heavy Metal Phonation)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 14, 2004, 19:26

On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 07:59:01 +0100,
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:

> On Tuesday, July 13, 2004, at 01:38 , Philip Newton wrote: > > [[x] vs. [C] in German] > > > Hm, difficult question. I don't think the question on whether [x] and > > [ç] are separate phonemes has been definitively settled, but they may > > not be. > > They are often considered as allophones: the normal sound being [C] > (ich-laut) , but [x] (ach-laut) being used after back vowels. However, > there are some awkward factors, e.g. the diminutive suffix -chen is always > [C@n], even after back vowels, cf. these constrasts: > Kuhchen [ku:C@n] ~ Kuchen [ku:x@n] > Tauchen [tauC@n] ~ tauchen [taux@n] > Pfauchen [pfauC@n] ~ pfauchen [pfaux@n]
As a native speaker of German, what I can say to this is that forms such as _Kuhchen_ and _Frauchen_ with -chen following a back vowel are colloquialisms not fully accepted in literary German, and that their development is fairly recent. Until well into the 19th century (and in the literary register effectively until today) the suffix -chen triggered umlaut as it still does in formations that have been established for longer, e.g. Brot + -chen -> Brötchen. This rule meant that -chen *never* followed a back vowel, and thus, the |ch| in it was always pronounced [C]. (The -chen diminuitives of _Kuh_ and _Frau_ would have been _Kühchen_ and _Fräuchen_, respectively, though I have never heard any of them.) Only in fairly recent colloquial German, formations with non-umlauting -chen became current. Most German grammars still treat [C] and [x] as allophones of a single phoneme, though minimal pairs like _Kuhchen_:_Kuchen_ demonstrate that they are contrasting phonemes in those varieties that have non-umlauting -chen; what we see here is apparently a phonemic split currently happening. Greetings, Jörg.


j_mach_wust <j_mach_wust@...>Heavy Metal Phonation