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Phonology gaps (was: Language Sketch: Gogido)

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Friday, August 29, 2008, 23:32
On Tue, 26 Aug 2008 01:20:26 +0200, Andreas Johansson wrote:
>Quoting "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...>: > >> In the case of Okaikiar, I'm not consistent. It has [t] and [d] in >> allophonic variation, likewise [s] and [z], but there's no [g], only >> [k]. I suspect this is massively unrealistic. > >There are languages, most famously perhaps varieties of Arabic, that have /t d >k/ but no /g/ or [g]*. Given this, having a voiced allophone of /t/ but not of >/k/ doesn't seem surprising in a language that doesn't distinguish phonemic >voice.
Actually, I'd say it does. When there's a "gap" concerning /g/, it's usually because the */g/ has gone somewhere. It's this way in Arabic (> /dZ/), and also Finnish ( > /j/, /v/, null etc.) Or the gap could've been there for a *long* time, but if Okaikiar [d] is simply an allophone of /t/, I'm fairly sure that possibility can be ruled out. It might be possible that *[g] > /k/ but I've never herd of any examples of that kind of a thing. Phonation changes tend to be rather all-or-nothing; German /v/ > /f/ without /z/ > /s/ is one counterexample I kno but that might just as well be a chainshift with labials (ie. /v/ pushed by /w/ > /v\/.) More clear-cut is Mongolian /p b t d/ > /ph p th t/ but no /k g/ > /kh k/. Or, at least, no /g/ > /k/, I've no idea if /k/ > /x/ went thru an aspirate or not. It's in any case in the wrong direction from what we want, nor a merger... ....which reminds me, at which end should we expect aspirate gaps to fall? I can't think of a single example with /f/ in place of expected /ph/, but a handful with /kx/ or /x/ in place of expected /kh/, which seems a little backwards at first glance. (Mongolian aside, this occurs at least in various southern Bantu languages.) Okay, let's see, distinguishing aspirates requires reaching a higher subglottalic pressure than in tenuis stops... and perhaps, with a smaller (more posterior) oral cavity to pressurize, reaching a certain pressure difference requires more finer-tuned pulmonic action. But who's to say /kh/ and /ph/ need an equal amount of extra pressure? Or maybe that's just it; a similar extra diaphragm gesture will produce much more aspiration for /kh/ than /ph/, which is then prone to be interpreted as /kx/? I dunno really, I'm just winging this. :) John Vertical


Michael Poxon <mike@...>