USAGE: Finnish and English vowels (was: Adapting non-Latin scripts)
|From:||John Vertical <johnvertical@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, May 25, 2006, 10:50|
> > Digress:
> > We actually tend to view most of ours as sequences of multiple
> > vowels - only the 8 monofthongs are seen as independant phonemes.
>Umm... So does that mean a word like /kAt/ you'd consider to rhyme
>with a word like /pA:t/?
No. The first has one /A/; the second has two. Nor would /pAAt/ rhyme with
/pAkAt/, since this has two syllabes; the other has only one. So it's a
trade-in of phonemic length for phonemic syllabicity. Here's a neat minimal
All three are audibly different, but what exactly is going on is a bit hard
to describe. Besides duration, tonality and laxing also have some part in
(An epenthetic [?] can however be used as an easy alternativ.)
> > A syllabe-final glide interpretation works too, but then at least
> > an additional schwa must be positioned.
>(I also thought there's a set of diphthongs
>/ie/, /y2/, /uo/, which I can't see how you'd interpret them as
>having syllable-final glides.)
That's where that additional schwa comes in: /i@ y@ u@/. Long vowels will be
/ij yv\ uv\ e@ 2@ &@ o@ a@/. It's something of a cheat, but it works, and
makes the system a nice regular 4x8 block.
(The rare [iy ey] can be explained as front-harmonic allophones of /iv\
ev\/, usually [iu eu]; this, however, might require that roots with only /i
e/ must still underlyingly possess either front or back harmony...)
-I should stress that this system is my own invention and would probably be
scowled on by professional Finnish linguistics.
> > From *our* POV, an analysis of English as /i i: e ei & A A: Ai Au
> > o o: oi ou u u: @/ (7 basic vowels + combinations) of course works
> > just fine, but you might protest...
>[Mark J. Reed wonders:
> > Well, you can of course use whatever phonemic symbols you want,
> > but assuming even an approximate phonetic connection, I can't
> > imagine what phonemic distinction you are capturing via /A/ vs
> > /A:/.
>[I assume John was referring to the vowels commonly transcribed as
>/V/ as in "come" vs /A:/ "calm". That is a perfect length
>distinction in Australia (albeit with a low central vowel), and I
>could easily see how a Finn learning English would use it even for
>American or British sounds.]
You are right; that is the distinction I was going for. FWIW, my (Finnish)
/A/ is actually a central [a\] regardless of length...
> > Ah, that does make sense It didn't occur to be because, given the
> > phonemic status of /@/ in his list, I don't see a need for a
> > separate /V/ phoneme; the "stress" feature takes care of that, and
> > it's already necessary for other distinctions in English...
>For American English, perhaps, but "hiccup" ["hIka_"p], with /V/ in
>an unstressed syllable, is a good exception to that rule for
>Australian English, and I think some/most/all British English.
>(But then, his list I think was American, or at least rhotic; there
>is no equivalent of the vowel /3:/, unnecessary in American English,
>but necessary for Australian and RP ... although then it's to
>distinguish "hurry" /hVri/=[ha_"r\i] from "furry" /f3ri/=[f2:r\i],
>which I suppose you could do in a somewhat abstract way with only
>/A/ and /@/. It'd be funny to consider /@/ a long vowel, though.)
And again, that's exactly what I was doing. I gess I could also consider
adding /@:/, but that would leave /@/ as only occuring in unstressed
syllabes. For phonetic reasons, I'll rather merge it with /@:/ than /V/.
Sounds like a better match to my ears.
Yet another possibility would be to use a syllabic /r/ there.
> > BTW, I dout regularization would suffice to solve all problems of
> > English...
>No-no, that's not what I meant. I was suggesting we the Latin
>alphabet could be used to phonemically spell the English language if
>we completely redid the orthography.
Yeah. That works. Of course, without a central regulating body, it'll never
actually break into usage... I suspect English orthography won't get any
major revamps until it's already broken down into a full-grown language
family a few centuries from now. I hope to get at least minor fixes in
before that, however.