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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 >> list. > > 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 [jIN]. Which leaves me now wondering what really is the best way of showing diphthongs in ASCII? Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Matthew Kehrt <mkehrt@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>