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THEORY: L & R (was Re: THEORY: language and the brain [Interesting article])

From:Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 1, 2003, 19:41
John Leland wrote:
> > On Japanese having "r but no l" while other Asian languages have only "l" > my observation (and my impression is that more qualified experts agree) is > that this distinction is largely a matter of the way the languages are > romanized. Listening to Japanese pronounciation the sound romanized > as r is more like l at least in many contexts.
I've noticed that mostly just before /a/. I've also sometimes heard "r" sounding almost like [d,] before /i/ and /u/. Common Kassi, the ancestor of Uatakassi, had a distinction between /l/ and /r/ (a discovery I made only a month or so ago), but the Classical language had collapsed those into one phoneme with three allophones, [r\] after the dental consonants t, d, n, s, z, [K\;] (voiced geminated lateral fricative) for /l:/, and [l] in all other contexts. In turn, later descendants have split the phoneme into three new phonemes, /K\/, /l/, and /r\/. All of them have limited distributions. For example, in Old Ivetsian, /K/ (voiceless lateral fricative - /K\/ had become devoiced) could only be used between vowels. It later merged with /S/. /r\/ can only be used between vowels (in which case it's derived from Classical /zl/) or after dental consonants. /l/ can be used anywhere except after /s/, /z/, /n/. Thus, /l/ and /r\/ are distinguished only intervocalically or after /t/ and /d/ (/tl/ and /dl/ are derived from Classical /kl/ and /gl/, clusters which were later recreated by subsequent sound changes).
> Several Asian languages > (including Korean and Japanese)seem not to treat l and r as separate > sounds--for which reason my Korean and Japanese students have great > difficulty distinguishing the spelling use > of r and l in English.
Reminds me of a bad joke I heard once: Q: What do Japanese people do when they have an erection? A: They vote!
> Hangul in Korean has one character for the r/l > sound which can create odd results. In transcribing English loanwords they > also use the same character for b and v
Korean has no /v/? Odd. I have a Korean song on my computer, and they clearly use a form [vevi] which I *think* is an adaption of the English "Baby" (since it's followed by an English line every time, "Funny how all dreams come true"). Perhaps that's a hypercorrection? -- "There's no such thing as 'cool'. Everyone's just a big dork or nerd, you just have to find people who are dorky the same way you are." - overheard ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTaylor42