triphthongs (was: Bisyllabic or Disyllabic?)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Friday, August 11, 2000, 6:24|
At 6:19 pm +0200 10/8/00, daniel andreasson wrote:
>> > Though I wonder, are there such things as triphthongs?
>> I know they have them on Gotland, an island off the Swedish eastcoast.
>> Can't provide you with any actual examples but it sounds a bit like
>> /geaUd/ (to make something up) or something, where all the vowels
>> form a single syllable.
>Indeed. Although typologically not as common as V or VV nuclei,
>they do show up somewhat frequently. Old French <beau> was
>just such a triphthong,
Yep - Old French had quite a few triphthongs.
>and some interpret the combinations in English
>words like <fire> as them also. (This last varies by dialect, however.)
It does, and where it occurs it's an odd triphthong - it so it is - in that
the vocalic nucleus comes first anf they are, allegedly, two semivocalic
codas [aI@] with the [I@] both being semivocalic. I'm inclined myself,
however, to regard this a disyllabic when all the sounds are pronounced,
ie. [aI-@]. In practice IME in non-rhotic dialects in Britain, it either
becomes [a@] or even [A:] or, not infrequently quite clearly disayllabic
But triphthongs occur in Australian English. They occur in Portuguese and,
indeed, in many languages tho, as Daniel said, not as widespread as
But - I've never seen mention of tetraphthongs. Do they occur in any
natlang? Are they indeed even theoretically possible?
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]