Re: Japanese P-phoneme
|From:||Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, June 12, 2004, 8:06|
Emily Zilch wrote:
> While it is controversial in terms of its acceptability to native
> speakers, some linguists prefer to state this as a single phoneme.
> Historically it was originally just /p/: in certain environments, this
> /p/ remains in modern Japanese (geminated or post-nasal) but has been
> weakened to /h/ initially, lost intervocalically
That certainly is a possible interpretation. A very tiny number of
compounds have /nh/, and there are a number of recent loans with
ungemintaed non-postvocalic /p/, but in native words, that would be a
very reasonable interpretation. Thus, we'd have only two fricatives /s/
and /z/, and even greater symmetry in phonemic inventory.
> 1. OJ *opo "great, honorific" > Middle J ofo > MJ [ ou ] (that's how a
> vowel of long duration is written, i.e. /o:/; long e is [ ei ] /e:/)
Actually, /ei/ and /e:/ are still distinguished in many western
dialects, although, as far as I know, /ou/ and /o:/ are merged in all
> In some Ryuukyuuan (Okinawan) dialects, /p/ is maintained in all
Yep. But, Ryukyuan is generally considered a distinct language.