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Paucity of Phonemes (was Re: Thagojian phonology...

From:Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>
Date:Saturday, February 26, 2000, 19:37
Nik Taylor wrote:

>"Daniel A. Wier" wrote: >> Of course two natlangs, Rotokas and Hawaiian, draw close to this paucicity >> of phonemes... > >I've heard of "a Brazilian language" with 10 phonemes, but the source >gave no name or phonemic inventory.
I think you mean Mura, though this has 11 phonemes; 8 consonants and 3 vowels. The inventory is as follows: Consonants: p t k ? b g s h Vowels: i a o This is a bit unusual with the absence of distinct nasals. Boreanesian also lacks phonemic nasals. Nasals do occur though, but as allophones that result from supersegmental nasality. The inventory itself is also moderately small. 15 consonants and 4 vowels: Consonants: /p/ /t/ /t[/ /k/ /b/ /d/ /d[/ /g/ /L/ /s/ /x/ /l/ /j/ /3/ /w/ Vowels: /i/ /u/ /@/ /a/ where; /t[/ and /d[/ are laminal denti-alveolar, /L/ is a lateral fricative, /3/ is a consonantal version of /@/ (schwa - or more specifically a raised and centralized close-mid back vowel). Two more sounds appear though; /?/ and /h/. But these are prosodemes rather than segmental phonemes. As mentioned [+/-nasal] is another supersegmental feature. -kristian- 8)