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Re: Tallefkeul: tones and whatnot

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Thursday, August 29, 2002, 7:24
En réponse à Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>:

> > Tairezazh is somewhat more weird in regard to nasals; there's minimal > pairs > for initial n- and m- (eg _nek_ "spaceport" and _mek_ "yellow"), but in > all > other positions there's only one nasal phoneme, the pronunciation of > which > depends on the surrounding sounds - the "neutral" allophone, found > between > to vowels, is dental. To increase confusion, all non-initial nasals > are > spelt |n|, even in inflected forms; _tshenek_ means "most yellow", > f'rinstance. >
Niceness :)) . Maggel has strange nasals too. It has basically 4 nasal phonemes /m/, /n/, /J/ and /N/. Those are present initially, between vowels or finally. But as soon as they touch a consonant they lose their identity and assimilate. And even then it's complicated, as /m/ leaves the group there ;)) . The thing is that for assimilation purposes, /n/, /J/ and /N/ behave identically and assimilate in the same way, while /m/ assimilates differently. The nasals assimilate in position (and voice, but that's collateral damage and is so simple I don't even mark it even in the phonetic transcription I use for Maggel) with the consonant they are in contact with. But there is a limit to their possibilities of assimilation (they cannot "stretch" too far from their original place). Both for /m/ and for /n///J///J/ the limit is at the same place: the labiodental position. /m/ can assimilate to the labiodental position (becoming [F]), but not any further in the mouth. Instead in those cases a [p] or [b] phone appears is inserted between the nasal and the other consonant. In the same way, /n///J///N/ can assimilate until the labiodental position, but not any more in front. In those cases a [t] or [d] phone is inserted instead. Note that as you can see, in the labiodental position the distinction between /m/ and /n///J///N/ disappears as they all assimilate to [F] there.
> They > >are > >used to more complicated clusters too. What about the opposite of |a > fre|: > >first: |a mile| [@ mbreId]: last ;))))) > > One day or another, I'm going to understand how [mbr] is easier to > pronounce > than [mr].
Well, personally I don't find it easier. I've never had any difficulty pronouncing clusters like [mr], [nr], [lr], etc... But Maggel's rules of assimilation are pretty strong, and [r] is alveolar, so [m] cannot assimilate that far. So a [b] is necessarily inserted. Anyway I find that it serves its purpose: |mile| pronounced *[mreId] wouldn't have looked strange enough ;)))) . And slightly later, I'm going to start pronouncing the "p"
> in > words like "tempt". >
I never have, and probably never will, unless doing it on purpose. I usually only pronounce the nasal, not the inserted stop (and sometimes even assimilate the nasal to the alveolar position of /t/). Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.