Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: [X] vs. [x]

From:Paul Roser <pkroser@...>
Date:Friday, March 26, 2004, 16:02
On Fri, 26 Mar 2004 08:06:04 -0500, John Cowan <cowan@...> wrote:

> Are there any languages in which [x] and [X] actually contrast > phonemically? The IPA's use of distinct letters (as opposed to > diacritics) suggests that it is so, but I've never encountered one. > Languages with an /x/ seem to render it as either [x] or [X], one > form usually being preferred. >
In addition to Yupik, Inupiaq, Nivkh, and Kabyle (Berber) that Danny mentioned, the Siberian language Itelmen and many, if not all, of the Caucasian languages make a distinction between velar and uvular fricatives, and a few also have pharyngeals as well. Burkiqan Agul (sp?) has, if I recall correctly, velar, uvular, epiglottal, and pharyngeal fricatives, which is probably the most distinguished by any one language. Some NW Pacific languages also have /x/ vs /X/, including Tlingit, which also has ejective fricatives, so /x/, /x_>/, /X/, /X_>/ (and I think they call all be labialized as well, so a total of eight dorsal fricatives). Haida contrasts either /x/ and /X/ or /x/ and /H/, depending on dialect. I dimly recall a couple of Tibeto-Burman and Central American languages having this contrast, but I'd have to go do some digging to be certain. Can't think of any sub-Saharan African languages with this contrast, but I'd bet there's at least one or two. Bfowol


Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>