Hiatus within words
|Date:||Monday, October 30, 2000, 17:10|
It's been brought to my attention that some
languages, e.g., Turkish, have no "hiatus." Thus
one Turkish vowel cannot be directly followed
by another vowel inside a word without an
inserted consonant or glide of some kind.
English may have hiatus, but maybe not all speakers.
Given the tendency of English vowels to diphthongize,
the common insert will be a [w] or [y] of some sort.
Thus for many "poet' will be [po(w)et] and "leo" may
become [li(y)o]. If -a- is the first element, the chance
of hiatus rises, but some may put in a glottal stop.
An [h] is another possibility, even [r] in some dialects.
And some insertions may even go across word
boundaries. Kennedy was ridiculed as calling
Cuba "Cuber" [kju.b@r] -- but what he was doing
took place only when another vowel followed.
Thus his "..Cuba can..." would not have the intrusive
[r] but his "..Cuba is..." would have it.
Is it considered that English has hiatus? My works
on languages often seem to ignore the issue. Is
there any list of those langauges that do not allow
hiatus? I presume all the Turkic languages fall in
that category, but it seems assured that there will
Many languages do seem to have hiatus, but I have
no idea how many. It seems to exist in many words
in Spanish, for example, though in other words
diphthongization takes place. Hiatus is a major feature
of Esperanto, where following vowels are always
kept separate -- even "au." However, I have never
heard the idea challenged as such. Other projects, if
I recall correctly, did modify the Eo. rule, but this
seemed to be done to make the result "more natural,"
not necessarily easier to pronounce.
Many artlangs are rich in vowels. Whether they
have hiatus is often not addressed. Many artlangs
do seem to have it. Tolkien seems to have used
it, Ursula Le Guin as well. Some people seem
to count languages with it as "more musical." I do
not note it in Klingon.
Hiatus is common in many Pacific languages,
where it often contrasts with the glottal stop. But
spellings do not always tell the story. How many
of the scores of languages listed by Mark with "dua"
for "two" ( http://zompist.com/numbers.shtml )
actually pronounce it as two syllables?
Indonesian "sosiologi" clearly has five syllables:
[so.si.o.lo.gi] with hiatus between i and o.
Best regards to all, LEO
Leo J. Moser