Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: the Most Consonants in a row?

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Thursday, September 15, 2005, 10:59
Rodlox R wrote:

>> Reply-To: veritosproject@GMAIL.COM >
>> Subject: Re: the Most Consonants in a row? >> Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 10:07:34 -0700 >> >> Some Eastern European langs have like 5 or 6, but they usually have >> schwas and stuff. > > > schwas are okay. > > if I might ask, what consonants were they?
They're not - they're vowels! The schwa is the mid central vowel, written [@] in CXS and as an inverted lowercase e in IPA. It is probably the most common vowel in English. The 'stuff' is syllabic consonants (e.g. /r/ and /l/ often function as the nucleus of a syllable in many languages, but so can many other consonants, for example [n] is syllabic in most pronunciations of 'nation' /'nejSn=/). If you are going to allow 'schwas and stuff', then the question "What's the most consonants that can neighbor one another?" is as meaningless as "How long is a piece of string?" Indeed, even if you do not allow schwas or any other epenthetic vowels, but do allow syllabic consonants, the question still remains meaningless - or at least the answer is "as many as you like". ======================================= Paul Bennett wrote: [snip]
> I'd argue that the |v|s could be syllabic too, if pushed.
Certainly [v] can be syllabic.
> Doesn't stop them being consonants, though --
Indeed, not.
> although we're in territory where "vocoid" might be a more useful > term than "vowel".
Exactly!! A syllabic [v] is a phonological consonant but a phonetic vowel or vocoid. It is unfortunate that the terms 'vowel' and 'consonant' are often used - sometimes, alas, indiscriminately for both phonological and phonetic features. (They are also, of course, commonly used by non-linguists to describes certain letters of the alphabet - even more confusing :) In order to avoid confusion, the American linguist Kenneth Pike proposed the terms _vocoid_ and _contoid_ to denote _phonetic_ values, reserving 'vowel' and 'consonant' for phonological values. Regrettably IMO his suggestion has not been adopted by everyone - and confusion continues. These terms were discussed at some length not so long ago on the Conlang list - go search the archives :) Thus if Rodlox was asking how many (phonological) consonants there can be in any string of sounds, the answer is simply as many as you like. A more interesting question is how many contoids can be adjacent to one another. There is clearly a limit here. -- Ray ================================== ================================== MAKE POVERTY HISTORY


Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>