Re: Diphthongs in ASCII (was: CHAT letter names etc)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, March 4, 2004, 20:15|
On Wednesday, March 3, 2004, at 08:52 PM, Christophe Grandsire wrote:
> En réponse à Ray Brown :
>> Not if they're pronounced as tw syllables, surely? It's a feature known
>> 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.
> Just use the syllable break mark: /./: /ma.is/.
But that will imply a _phonemic_ contrast with /mais/, which is incorrect
in French. The only correct phonemic transcription surely is /mais/.
>> Yep - but I'm not sure what the tie-bar shows here.
> That we have a single diphtongue rather than two separate vowels.
I know that!! What my example below was trying to show is that it doesn't
tell us whether the diphthong is rising or falling. With some it's fairly
obvious, e.g. [a_i]. But as I show below, [i_u] is simply ambiguous. And
if I'd written the diphthong in some of the old rural south English
dialect in 'gate' as /gi_@t/ it might well be assumed to be rising whereas,
in fact, it's a _falling_ diphthong.
> The problem is that not all diphtongues are strictly rising or strictly
> falling. IIRC a few weeks ago there was a discussion that Finnish
> diphtongues sounded like separate vowels to Italian speakers because
> Finnish diphtongues are level, i.e. both vocalic parts have equal weight.
..which must surely beg the question whether they are true diphthongs at
> The difference between [a_i] and [a.i] being that one is one syllable and
> the second is twoAgreed - and where we have two syllables, both vowels are pronounced. But
in such a diphthong, the speaker begins with [a] and then moves _towards_
[i] but usually stops short of reaching it in actual speech where it may
be realized as [a_e] or [a_I]; there is, with a true diphthong, no doubt
that we have one syllable.
> (and usually [a_i] is shorter than [a.i]).
Yes, if the initial is short. But [a:_i] is not at all unknown in natlangs
where, indeed, it may contrast with [a_i]
> My Maggel also features level diphtongues, so the [a_i] notation fits
>> Which leaves me now wondering what really is the best way of showing
>> diphthongs in ASCII?
> It depends on the nature of the diphtongue in the language.
Which is all very well for phonemic transcription, but surely the whole
purpose of _phonetic_ transcription is to give a transcription that is
unambiguous independent of the phonemic structure of the language.
On Wednesday, March 3, 2004, at 05:26 PM, Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 03, 2004 at 01:44:12PM +0000, Ray Brown wrote:[snip]
>> To represent "saying" as ['sejIN] is misleading, at least for the
>> varieties of English I commonly come across, as the second syllable ain'
> Well, you can always mark the syllables explicitly: ['sej.IN].
Yes, that OK in the phonetic transcription, but a phonemically it must be
/'sejIN/. Um - I guess it's OK since in the context of English
phonotactics it's clear enough.
> Which leaves me now wondering what really is the best way of showing
> diphthongs in ASCII?
> Whichever way will be easiest understood by your audience, of course. :)
That's what I'm trying to find out :)
On Wednesday, March 3, 2004, at 02:19 PM, Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Much no-one here seems to be familiar with this system, but several books
> read writes the weaker part of a diphthong as a superscript. Since ^X
> superscript X in JXS, it follows that it can be used for writing
> too. Eg, your [iw] vs [ju] can be rendered as [i^u] and [^iu]
> respectively in
> JXS. Doesn't look distractingly good, but unlike the glide convention it
> with any vowel sign.
Yes, true - but I agree it doesn't look distractingly good. While [i^u]
might be understood by our fellow list members as some eccentric way of
showing a diphthong, I not sure [^iu] would be. What would be helpful is
to have a symbol which side was the syllabic vowel and which the
I guess we'll just muddle along writing either [ai] or [aj] ad_libitum ;)
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760