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Germans have no /w/, Marking of Resonants, racist use of RL languages in Star Wars movies

From:Emily Zilch <emily0@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 8, 2004, 9:28
{ 20040608,0046 Joe } "Germans have no /w/.  <w> is /v/(and <v> is
/f/).  It's often quite hard to pronounce a letter you don't have.
Hence Germans find it hard to pronounce [T], [D], and [w](just as some
English-speakers find it hard to pronounce [x].  I was once watching a
travel programme where someone tried to simulate [x] by shouting when
he got to it, and inserting an [h].)"

Strangely, my roomie, who is a Deutscher, has no trouble with [D], [T]
or the other usual suspects such as [r\].

However, she chekhovs frequently, i.e. randomly pronounces [v] as [w].
She never errs by saying, for example, [ vIcIz ] "witches" but very
frequently says [ wEr\i ] "very" or [\= ] "vinegar".

BTW I can't seem to figure out how to represent the vocalic consonants
like [ l= ], [ r\= ] properly. The former is in "little" [ lI.r'l\= ] -
there I've divided the syllables to clarify what is, in my idiolect
again, the flap-r pronunciation of the dental stop followed by
'syllabic [ l ]' - & the latter in, um, "vinegar". Above. Also with
divided syllables.

So - how do I properly display syllabification since periods are used
to mark some retroflex consonants, I believe, & how also do I mark
syllabic resonants like [ m ] [ n ] [ l ] [ r\ ]?

Incidentally, issue of marking resonants as syllabic is particularly
cogent when dealing with certain languages of New Guinea whose surface
representations show, say, typical five- to seven-vowel systems but
whose underlying phonemes require only ONE vowel plus vocalic forms of,
say, [ y ] & [ w ]. For someone who struggled to understand the
theoretical system of PIE's earlier stages, it helped a LOT to see such
systems in RL (real life).

Nota bene: for those who are not familiar, theories of earliest PIE
periods recommend a single vowel, usually marked as [ e ], with a
similar system of multiple surface realisations depending on stress
(i.e. later phonemicised into a two- or three-vowel system of [ e ] [ o
] ~ [ e ] [ o ] [ a ], depending on your theory) and later consonantal
loss (i.e. vowel insertion &/or lengthening phonemicised due to loss of
the "laryngeals" or [ H_1-3 ]), plus the syllabification of resonants.
Some of this has only become evident in the most recent work on *PIE of
the stage preceding the Hittite split and others are just plain theory,
but now I can at least *believe* it is possible since it demonstrably
happens in living (RL, no offense meant o fellow conlangers) languages.

In fact, I believe one of the languages in question was used in Star
Wars for the language of the Ewok. I remember learning - to my disgust
- that they just stole the languages of 'appropriate' "primitives" to
create a realistic feeling for the movies. Sandpeople, anyone? & then
they just made it offensive to EVERYONE with Jar-Jar Binks. I believe
that he speaks Eastern Maroon Creole or perhaps a closely related
dialect - I'm not a student but I've had some exposure plus the reports
to go on - and he matches in stereotype in appearance & idiot behaviour
the worst Americans have shown about blacks - ever see any of those old
Bugs Bunny episodes with the "darkie" tripping over his own lips? Ugh.
I see that in my head every time he comes on screen.

But (perche usuale) I digress. Deeply.



Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>