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Re: more English orthography

From:Marcus Smith <smithma@...>
Date:Thursday, May 18, 2000, 6:08
Nik Tailor wrote:

>Marcus Smith wrote: >> This gap should make you suspicious. Another thing that should make you >> suspicious it that only the alveolar obstruents cannot be palatalized. Why >> not >> and is there a connection? Absolutely! Palatalization may only occur
>> the vowel /a, o, u/, not before /e, i/. You can have, for example, kya,
>> kyu but not *kye, *kyi. Alveolar obstruents are palatalized before /i/: s
>> S, t -> tS, z -> dZ, d -> dZ before /i/. The reason is an obvious >> assimilation. > >Historically, yes, but from a *synchronic* perspective, they are >distinct phonemes.
I used to be of the same opinion as you, but have since changed my mind. I have met a few native Japanese speakers who prefer to write <sy>, <ty>, etc rather than <sh>, <ch>, etc because of the parallel to <ky>, <py>, etc. This could very well be an influence of kana, but it could also show that they are think of them as the same "type" of consonant. Also, I've been worn down to an extent: I've never seen a description of Japanese that separated [S] and [s]. Indeed, with new borrowings, forms like /ti/ (e.g.,
>tiimu) and /tSe/ (e.g., cheen) are possible, seeming to indicate that >they have ceased to be analyzed as /tj/, etc.
I've only done work on this with a single native speaker (Intro to Phonetics course, two years ago), but the vowels in borrowed words are not usually the same as the ones in native words. My consultant used [I] and [E] in borrowed words, [i] and [e] in native. There was a bit of variation on this, usually pronouncing a native word with [I] or [E], rarely a borrowed word with [i] and [e]. But that was only one speaker.
>/S/ and >/s/ are both single units, one does not say */Sj/, so it makes no sense >to call something that is obviously a single phone *two* phones. You >could say that in native words, /S/ is *underlyingly* /sj/, but in terms >of surface phonemes, it is not.
Looks like another difference in our phonological training coming into play. Menominee has quite a few examples of 3 underlying phones reducing to 2. Marcus