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Natlang Help: Do you know of a language that...

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Thursday, October 2, 2003, 5:30
I have an idea for a possible paper topic for school, but I need to look at
languages other than English.   What I'm looking for are languages that:

(1) Allow coda voiced velar consonants (e.g., [g] and [N]), and
(2) Make a distinction between tense and lax non-low vowels (so, /e/ vs. /E/,
/i/ vs. /I/, /u/ vs. /U/, /o/ vs. /O/).

Do you know of any natlangs that do this?

The ones I thought of either devoice final voiced consonants, or don't have a
tense/lax distinction (though German does allow final velar nasals.

Anyway, to give you an idea, English distinguishes all of the following: bid
/bId/, bead /bid/, bed /bEd/, bade /bed/ [bejd], then should /SUd/ and shooed
/Sud/ (there's probably a few sets with all those vowels, but I can't think of
one off-hand).   However, it never distinguishes (just looking at coda's
now): /-eg/   vs. /-Eg/, /-eN/ vs. /-EN/ (or /-&N/, depending on which vowel you
have), /-iN/ vs. /-IN/, /-Ug/ vs. /-ug/, /-UN/ vs. /-uN/ (we might not even
have [-uN] or [-UN] anywhere), or /-ig/ vs. /-Ig/.   This last one is more
controversial since, as an English speaker, it's simple to distinguish between these
last two (big /bIg/ vs. league /5ig/), but there don't appear to be any
minimal pairs, and I, for one, can't think of a word that's *not* a proper name
that ends in [-ig] other than "league" (can anyone else?).

My theory is that voiced velar codas nullify the tense/lax distinction
because they raise the F2 and lower the F3, effectively lowering high vowels, and
raising lower vowels (though this doesn't seem to be pertinent for low vowels).
 Obviously, though, I'd like more data to look at than English.   So, if you
can think of any languages that fulfill the above-mentioned qualifications,
let me know--I'll be forever grateful!



James Campbell <james@...>
Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Estel Telcontar <estel_telcontar@...>