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Phonomic & Phonetic writing [was; pseudo welsh etc]

From:Barbara Barrett <barbarabarrett@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 21, 2002, 12:58
Barbara Babbled
> > I stand ready to be > > corrected on this but although I've come accoss languages that > > distinguish in minmal pairs /a/ and /@/ I've found not that pair /a/ and > > /æ/ in this way - seems to be a matter of accent.
> Peter Penned > Ok, but how does your pseudo Welsh system transliterate them?
Barbara Blithers; First I've been corrected, and as I should have remembered from my anglo-saxon runic studies <hits head with mallet for penance, Anglo Saxon did differentiate between "a" and Ash. But back to Peter's question; my pseudo welsh system doesn't. As they're the same phoneme in the system there's no need too; although I should have made this clear by noting a = /.ae ~ a/. Remember that transcription systems are phonemic, not phonetic. (That difference between phonetic and phonemic has been eloquently discussed in the (OFF LIST) ASCII IPA thread). If you wanted to use the system and be able to differentiate between [.ae] and [a] then then you could use the letter Ash or an ae digraph to do so. Back to phonemic vs phonetic; English spelling for example makes no allowance for the three "a" sounds that are used in various accents or between dark and light "l" even though most accents use both sounds. The reason is because there are no words that uses these sounds as minimal pairs so they're the same phoneme and can be represented by single letters, so /a/ = [.ae]~[a]~[@] and /l/ = [l]~[.~l]. likewise when /.tS/ /.dZ/ /S/ or /Z/ precede a vowel they're always palletized (eg [S^j]) but not palletized if final or precede a consonant stop (eg [S]) so although english uses 8 different sounds here they may be represented by only 3 letters/digraphs; ch, j, sh (there's no consistent spelling of /Z/ in english). One of english's oddities is that [D] and [T] do form minimal pairs, but as these are rare, they're both represented by the digraph "th" (I know of accents where [T] and [D] are said as [t_[ ] and [d_[ ] or as [f:] and [v:] so that's SIX sounds to one digraph!). Personally I'm aware that I vary my pronunciation; "Past" for example if I'm being precise of formal is [p@:st] if I'm casual or lazy it's [p.aest] and if I'm rushed it's [past] but phonemically they're all /past/. For another more extreme example; At this moment, for an SF tale, I'm trying to develop a trade talk (pidgin). The various species articulate sounds in different ways. One has a split upper lip, one has prehensile lips, and another two have ridged lips, and one of these has no vibratory articulation so all sounds are unvoiced (like whispering); so the sounds of the other species language are not possible for each other. But they all have bi-labials so BL/V3 is one syllable in the trade language even though the BL can be any bilabial or labio dental - that's 15 distinct sounds in the IPA but only one phoneme and thus only one letter, (and the letters are syllabic like Katakana; the vowels have a range too which is why the notation is V3 rather than a specific vowel); the humans say [p^ha:], the Raowl (cat like) say [.|B@:] and the Shshiche and Theet (reptilians both) say [m^] and [.|o.OE:] respectively, but in writing as they're the same phoneme-pair it's all written as the same syllabic letter ; BL/V3 I think that one of the ways one *might* spot a constructed language is finding 2 or more letters (phonetically distinct) that are the same phoneme and could have been represented by a single letter. Why do I think this? Well my experience of linguists is that they are tempted to accurately reproduce the *exact* sounds of their language and create transliteration rather than transcription systems for their writing systems, whereas real life writing systems differentiate between phonemes and are never phonetically exact; always transcription never transliteration. But a linguist who's studied writing systems as a subject in itself, or has done field work noting down obscure languages (a discipline where phonetic transliteration must eventually be rendered as phonemic transcription), however would not make this error. Forewarned is forearmed so be careful folks. Barbara


John Cowan <jcowan@...>