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lateral fricative (was: Láadan and woman's speak)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, May 22, 2000, 18:55
At 2:18 pm -0500 21/5/00, Matt Pearson wrote:
>Ray Brown wrote: > >>Herman Miller replied: >>>I've always liked the sound of lateral fricatives. I used a voiceless >>>*palatal* lateral fricative in one of my Elvish languages. >> >>To which at 2:01 pm -0500 20/5/00, Matt Pearson replied: >>>Tokana also has this sound. Actually, it's more of a postalveolar >>>lateral fricative (same point of articulation as English /S/). >> >>That's the Welsh "ll" which I've also heard in Zulu & Xhosa (two of the >>Nguni languages). But I think that Herman is saying he also used a palatal >>variety, not that the Welsh one is palatal (which it most certainly isn't). > >>From what I've been able to determine, the Welsh/Zulu voiceless >lateral fricative is alveolar and apical (closure made at or near >the tip of the tongue, like /l/).
I remember a thread on this a year or so back when Mark Line was involved. The Welsh _ll_ is certainly not made with the tongue in the same position as I have it for /l/. For the latter sound my tongue is definitely central with gaps on both sides for air to pass round; where the tip of the tongue is depends whether I'm pronouncing a 'light l' as in 'leaf' or 'dark l' as in 'field'. But the Welsh /K/ is never made with the tongue in that position; it is always pressed against one side of the mouth, i.e. a laminal, not an apical, sound. But according to Mark, many people do this when pronouncing the English /l/ and there is, according to him, no significant difference between the /l/ they produce and the /l/ I produce.
>The Tokana voiceless lateral >is *post*alveolar and laminal (closure made with the body of >the tongue).
Closure is also made with the body of the tongue in saying the Welsh voiceless lateral which, as I noted above, is thus also laminal. Whether the body of the tongue is pressed against the right or left side is not important - FWIW my tongue is always pressed against the left side - and air is forced out through the opposite side, hence the friction. It sounds IMO more like someone with a speech defect trying to say /S/ or /s/, rather than any _l_ sound. Indeed, your description above and what you wrote on 20th May: "Tokana also has this sound. Actually, it's more of a postalveolar lateral fricative (same point of articulation as English /S/)" - suggest very strongly to me that the Tokana lateral fricative is essentially the same as the Welsh one. I feel I can hold forth with some authority regarding the Welsh sound - I learnt the sound in Wales itself some 30 years ago, where I lived for 22 years. But I cannot speak for the Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele) lateral fricatives the same way. You may well be right about them; the only thing I can say is that when I stayed at the Cape about 2 and half years ago, the Xhosa {hl} sounded to me very similar, if not the same, as the Welsh sound; but I could be mistaken about that. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================