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Re: The Language Code (take 4)

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Monday, June 16, 2003, 15:51

This is *not* the beginning of an English Pronunciation Thread. If you
insist on turning it into one, I cannot be held responsibile.

On Saturday, June 14, 2003, at 07:40  AM, And Rosta wrote:

> Dirk: >> e logical > > typo: should be 'engineered'(!)
Fixed it.
>> English: Tn Pt*p++24,9(c)v(c) Wntar-- Mi++f+dt2a3c2n2 Sf++bsvoargn >> Lc++d+1000000+ > > To get English down to 9 vowels requires a degree of ruthless parsimony > that would be highly controversial. At a purely descriptive level > (i.e. in the Code's spirit of providing a flavour of the language > rather than an analysis of it), I would say English has 19-22 vowels > (for my accent; 19 definites + 3 marginals). Student textbooks and > modern British dictionaries would use 20. That figure of c.20 better > reflects the typological eccentricity of the English vowel system > & the fact that it is responsible for most dialectal variation.
20 vowels?! Are they all distinctive? I agree that 9 vowels is too few (I don't remember where that came from), but I can only get 13, including diphthongs (14 if I include [O], which I don't have natively). Of course, my dialect is rhotic, and I don't treat coda-r as forming a diphthong with a preceding vowel nucleus.
> I know you mean it only as a casual example of the use of the code, > but it illustrates one of the problems of typological comparison -- > how surfacey are the descriptions of each language? (Too surfacey, > and differences get overstated; not surfacey enough, and differences > get understated.) > > --And. > > [to preempt someone asking what the vowels are, here they are: > I e & V Q U i: u: A: O: aI OI eI aU @U I@ e@ 3: > the 3 marginals: U@ i &:
For the sake of comparison, I have: [I E & V A U i u aI OI eI aU oU] Of course, the nucleus of words like 'bird' present a problem; if [r=] is admitted as a vowel to accomodate these words (rather than a deeper analysis of vowel + [r]), then there is no good reason not to include [Ir, Er, Ar, Or] as diphthongs, and the number of distinctive vowels goes up to 18 for me as well. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "I believe that phonology is superior to music. It is more variable and its pecuniary possibilities are far greater." - Erik Satie


And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
BP Jonsson <bpj@...>English vowels (w@z: Re: The Language Code (take 4)