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Re: [X] vs. [x]

From:Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>
Date:Friday, March 26, 2004, 13:38
From: "John Cowan" <cowan@...>

> Are there any languages in which [x] and [X] actually contrast
> 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.
Yupik and Aleut (from Inuit-Aleut), the isolate Nivkh, and Riff and Kabyle (from the Berber branch of Afro-Asiatic) have all these as phonemes: /x/ /X/ /G/ /R/. All these but Nivkh also have labialized forms of these four. Inuktitut has /G/ and /R/, and some dialects even have /N/ and /N\/ (the latter in other dialects is an allophone of /N/ before /q/ and /R/). Riff and Kabyle developed velar fricatives from weakening of non-geminate velar stops in Common Berber (/k/ /g/ /k_w/ /g_w/); voiceless fricatives in Inuit-Aleut languages might result from gemination of voiced fricatives, but I'm not sure about that.