Diphthongs in ASCII (was: CHAT letter names etc)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, March 3, 2004, 13:43|
On Tuesday, March 2, 2004, at 04:39 PM, Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 02, 2004 at 06:26:47AM +0000, Ray Brown wrote:
>> [ai] is strictly two vowels.
> That depends on whom you ask,
Not if they're pronounced as tw syllables, surely? It's a feature known as
hiatus and does occur in natlangs; e.g. French 'maïs' (Br. maize, sweet
corn; Am. corn) is _disyllabic_. In phonetic transcription [ma'is] would,
I suppose, be clear enough; but stress is not phonemic in French and the
phonemic transcription must be /mais/ - but it ain't a diphthong.
> but you can always join them with a tie bar to
> indicate otherwise: X-SAMPA [a_i], CXS [ai)].
Yep - but I'm not sure what the tie-bar shows here. OK, if its [a_i] we
assume the [a] is syllabic and the [i] ain't. How do you distinguish
between rising and falling diphthongs? For example, [i_u}is ambiguous;
both [ju] and [iw] occur in Brit English dialects.
>> I would wish to put inverted breve beneath the 'i' to show that
>> it is non-syllabic, but can't, so I use [j] instead.
> In both CXS and X-SAMPA the IPA "non-syllabic" diacritic is represented
> by the sequence _^. So [ai_^] would be an exact equivalent of the IPA
> usage you describe.
Quite - [ai_^] is a wee bit kludgey IMO. That's what I mean by the
limitations of ASCII.
>> I was under the impression that this usage was fairly standard on this
> The use of [j] and [w] in diphthongs instead of [i] and [u] is fairly
> widespread, and not just on this list, but we don't do it because of the
> limitations of ASCII; after all, we have an all-ASCII system with the full
> expressive power of the IPA at our disposal.
Sort of. The recent spate of mails on reforming ASCII-IPA suggests to me
that not everyone is really happy with either X-SAMPA or CXS; we do our
best. Actually, though I tend to use [aj], [ej], [aw] etc., it is not
ideal. To represent "saying" as ['sejIN] is misleading, at least for the
varieties of English I commonly come across, as the second syllable ain't
Which leaves me now wondering what really is the best way of showing
diphthongs in ASCII?
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760