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Re: Vowel quality // was My new IPA resource

From:Morgan Palaeo Associates <morganpalaeo@...>
Date:Sunday, July 21, 2002, 2:50
Roger Mills wrote, quoting myself:

> >1. The /}:/ vowel as in "who", is that labialised, i.e. [}_w:]? > > It's undeniable that /}:/ shares a quality with [o_w] that I can > > only describe as 'melodic', and I'm guessing that this quality > > is equatable with labialisation. > > According to the descriptions at [}] > is "close central rounded" (barred u, the rounded counterpart of barred i). > So I assume that that [_w] represents a [u]-like offglide/diphthongization?
Not at all ... [_w] indicates labialisation, not an offglide. According to my attempts to put together all the patchy fragments of information I can painfully extract from the web and other sources :-), [o_w] is the Irish "oh" whereas [o] is the Scottish "oh" or the Australian "awe" ... they are two pure vowels with the same position on the quadrilateral but different because some muscle or other in the tongue is contracted in one case and not in the other, without affecting height or front-backness. I understand labialisation [_w], rhoticity [`] and palatisation [_j] to all refer, when applied to vowels, to the contraction of muscles in the tongue in such a way that height and front/backness is not changed, yet the quality of the vowel is audibly different. For example palatisation is a sort of "spreading sideways" of the tongue. For the same reason that all colours can be classified as combinations of the three primary colours plus intensity, so every vowel can be classified as a combination of how much various muscles in the mouth are contracted. The limitation of the vowel quadrilateral is that it's a projection into two dimensions (three if you include roundness) of multidimensional information. One dimension for each muscle, more or less, which is more than three. If any of this is wrong, I really would like to know the correct terminology. Adrian.