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USAGE: Latin alphabet (Re: Chinese Dialect Question)

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Thursday, October 2, 2003, 3:05
On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 23:16:00 -0700, JS Bangs <jaspax@...>

>Oh, there's more consistency than you think. Consider: > >Consonants: > >p, t, k, b, d, g are usually equal to their phonetic values, or differ >only non-distinctively. E.g. English {p} often represents [p_h], but >aspiration isn't distinctive in English, and Spanish {b} represents [B], >but [B] and [b] are allophones in Spanish. > >f, s always represent at least [f] and [s], though some languages may also >use them for [v] and [z]. If {s} can have meanings other than [s] and [z], >it's [S], and usually this is conditioned by surrounding letters. > >Vowels: > >Vowels are more variable. If you strip away accents, all of the >following are true in every language I know: > >a is [a] or [A] >e is a mid front unrounded vowel >i is a high front unrounded vowel >o is a mid central/back vowel >u is a high central/back vowel > >Vowels may have values other than these, but they at least sometimes have >these values. > >I'm curious to see what inevitable exceptions people bring up.
To give an example from the list's official language :-), there's the Dutch "g", which in some dialects is [x]. A few other exceptions that I can think of: "u" is [y] in French (not a back vowel) and a sound traditionally represented as [9] in Dutch (sounds more like [8] to me; in any case, it doesn't seem to be a high vowel or a back vowel, and the long "u" is [y]). In Swedish, "o" is a high back vowel (taking the place of "u", which has moved forward). "s" is [S] in Hungarian (where [s] is spelled "sz"), and "d" is [z] in Vietnamese, but of course these two aren't IE languages.


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>