Re: !Ui phonemes
|From:||Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, October 22, 2002, 21:07|
Paul Roser wrote:
>On Tue, 22 Oct 2002 17:16:08 +0000, Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>
> >An article in the Oct 19th-25th issue of The Economist (page 48) mentions
> >Khoisan language called "!Ui" as having 140+ phonemes, which's rather
> >than the ~110 I've heard for other Khoisan languages. Is this reliable?
> >what ARE these dozens of phonemes? How many are humanly possible?
>It depends on how they are counting phonemes - in the UPSID list !Xoo
>Khoisan has (iirc) roughly ~145, including some 80+ clicks and a 5 (?)
>vowel system that is further multiplied by voice quality distinctions
>(breathy, creaky, pharyngealized, breathy pharyngealized (AKA strident),
>etc), and from the limited info I've seen on !Ui (I assume this is the same
>as !Gwi ~ !Gui ~ |Gui - can't remember the correct click) it has a click
>inventory easily as big as !Xoo's.
If it's any help, according to the artilce !Ui is a "cousin" of !Xoo.
>How clicks are counted, or even how phonemes are counted, is another
>question entirely, and I know that And has certain views on this topic
>which I am in sympathy) that one ought to specify the environment one is
>counting phonemes in, eg prevocal/word-/syllable-initial or syllable-final.
If I'm getting And's point correctly, one 'd get multiple sets of "phonemes"
for each language, none of which's size is directly comparable to a
traditional phoneme count. So, AFAICT, accepting And's idea would leave the
statement "!Ui has over 140 phonemes" vacuous, rather than factually wrong
and to be replaced with a statement "!Ui has [a certain number] phonemes".
Am I missing something?
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