Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

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@...> >wrote: > > >An article in the Oct 19th-25th issue of The Economist (page 48) mentions >a > >Khoisan language called "!Ui" as having 140+ phonemes, which's rather >more > >than the ~110 I've heard for other Khoisan languages. Is this reliable? >And > >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 >(with >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? Andreas _________________________________________________________________ Unlimited Internet access -- and 2 months free! Try MSN.


And Rosta <a.rosta@...>