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Re: Phonological terminology question

From:Garth Wallace <gwalla@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 18, 2003, 2:27
Danny Wier wrote:
> From: "Garth Wallace" <gwalla@...> > >>I'm also a little unclear on how epiglottal and pharyngeal consonants >>are a pharyngeal fricative a choking sound? Because that's >>what I get when I try it. > > > Oh God, these took me forever to master. I'm sporadically studying Hebrew > and Arabic, so I had to figure these out. I had to look around for a > detailed description of what goes on with a pharyngeal consonant. > > What happens is that the throat muscles above the glottis (that's where the > pharynx, treachea and esophagus meet) contracts at the sides, a type of > "gurgling" sound that also causes a backing of adjacent vowels, which also > become "pharyngealized" (Maltese "gha" with a stroke through the "h" is a > pharyngealized /a/). There is no such thing as a pharyngeal stop (that would > be painful!), just the two fricatives in Arabic, voiceless and voiced.
Ah, so it's less of a "choking" sound than a "hocking up phlegm" sound. Got it.
> It's very easy to miss the mark and produce uvular fricatives. If you can > close off the throat and produce a stop, that's uvular, not pharyngeal. > Incidentally, modern Hebrew gives the sound of "heth" as a uvular voiceless > fricative (IPA chi) and "ayin" as glottal stop.
> Not only Semitic languages have the pharyngeal consonants, but other > non-Semitic languages in the Afrasian language/phylum: Egyptian (but not > Coptic), the Berber languages, and the Cushitic languages, including Somali > and Oromiffa. And these consonants also appear in other families, usually > with larger, more "exotic" consonant inventories: Northeast Caucasian (i.e. > Daghestani), Khoisan and Salishan are just a few examples. And Tech (here we > go again...). > > Now the epiglottal consonants, which are extremely rare (I know of no > natlang with them), most likely involve a "choking" type of sound. They > occur as voiceless stops (IPA glottal stop with stroke), voiceless fricative > (IPA small capital H) and voiced fricative (IPA reversed glottal stop with > stroke, or voiced pharyngeal mark with stroke). I have NO idea how these are > actually produced, and they seem uncomfortable just thinking about them; I > have a pretty sensitive neck-throat region.
Those mystify me. I have no idea how to control my epiglottis.
> However... I've seen a symbol used by Sergei Starostin in his reconstruction > of Proto-North Caucasian: that would comprise both NW Caucasian which > includes Abkhaz and Kabardian, and NE Caucasian which includes Chechen and > Daghstani languages like Avar and Dido, the language not the singer. This is > the IPA glottal stop (resembles a question mark) with a small horizontal > stroke or tick, the epiglottal stop. That could be an epiglottal stop or > some sort of pharyngeal ejective, a scary sound indeed!
It makes my throat sore just thinking about it.


Danny Wier <dawier@...>