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THEORY: German final -g (was: THEORY: no more URs!)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Sunday, May 26, 2002, 19:00
At 3:39 pm -0500 25/5/02, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>Quoting Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>:
>> It is a darn >> sight easier to have a rule which says that final {d}, {b}, {g} are >> pronounced the same as final {t}, {p} and {k} than it would be having to >> learn which words ending in {d} kept the {d} when you add endings and which >> changed the {d} to {t}. > >But in German, final orthographic <g>s are not predictably pronouned >as [k]: the suffix -ig is usually pronounced as [IC], as [+continuous].
Not in southern Germany or Austria! But I did not say that final {g} is pronounced [k]; I was careful to say that final {g} was pronounced as {k} would be - I should, I suppose, have made it clear I meant final {k}. I know practice varies over the German speaking area - in some parts they pronounce, e.g. _Tag_ [t_ha:x] in others [t_ha:k]. ------------------------------------------------------------ At 10:37 pm -0400 25/5/02, John Cowan wrote: [snip]
>That is an artificial rule of the standard language, a compromise >between the North, which pronounces all final /g/ as [k], and the >South, which pronounces all final /g/ as [C ~ x].
I hate having to disagree with John, but while we lived in South Wales we had several German students stay with us; they all came from Swabia, Bavaria or Austria (i.e. the south) and without exception pronounced final -ig /Ik/. (They also pronounced initial {s} as [s] and not the [z] given text books!). Indeed, Anthony Fox in "The Structure of the German Language" says: "In most cases the alternation of /g/ and /k/ are comparable to those of the other plosives (e.g. _Tak_ with /k/, and _Tage_ with /g/), but there are special forms involving the suffix -ig. There are important variations here; Southern German accents treat this suffix regularly, so that the alternation here is between /k/ and /g/ (_wenig_ ~ _wenige_; /venIk/ ~ /vniIg@/). Standard North German accents have different forms, however, with final -ig being pronounced /Ix/ (phonetically [IC]). The alternation here is thus between/x/ and /g/: /venIx/ ~ /venIg@/. For many North German speakers this alternation is not restricted to this particular suffix, ans /x/ is found alternating with /g/ in any root following a front vowel, as in _Krieg_ (/krix/) ~ _Kriege_ (/krig@/), _Weg_ (/vex/) ~ _Wege_ (/veg@/), etc. But these pronunciations, though very common in the North, are probably to be regarded as falling outside the 'standard' accent." Certainly as far as southern German speakers are concerned, my own experiences concur with Fox. Ray. ======================================================= Speech is _poiesis_ and human linguistic articulation is centrally creative. GEORGE STEINER. =======================================================


Frank George Valoczy <valoczy@...>
John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>