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The Combos [hj] [hw] and [gw] in Conlangs

From:LeoMoser( <acadon@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 1, 2000, 2:22
Some sounds in Conlangs are rather rare in
natural languages. The combinations [hj]
[hw] and [gw] are hard to track.

In-re HJ:

The sound [hj-] is presumably rather rare
in the world's languages. It would not, of
course, be in those lacking an [h] and then
not in all of them by any means. I would
presume that it is not in any of the Slavic

Many English speakers have [hj] in many hu-
words, like Hugh, humor, human. But it
seems rare otherwise.  Japanese seems to
have it, with romanizations with {HY-} but I'm
not sure how  these end up pronounced in
certain parts of Japan. It is in some Chinese
"dialects" but not Mandarin. I've seen analyses
of German that imply that the -ch of "ich" is
in some regions close to [hj].

Can any of you cite languages that make
regular use of [hj] or close approximations?

In-re HW:

The initial hw- plays a prominent role in Ursula
le Guin's Kesh. The [hw-] sound is very common
in some dialects at least of English -- if one
takes {WH} to be such.

Maori is one of the few other languages to
write a {WH}, but the history is different
there and actual pronunciation seems to

Chinese has many words in {HUA} {HUO}
etc. those these differ a bit in that the {H}
may be [x], not [h]. Korean seems to have
some form of [hw-]. Artlangs that mimic
East Asian languages will often have such

What other natural or constructed languages
make use of [hw-] or have (more or less)
similar sounds?

In-re GW:

The [gw-] sound appears to be more common
than either of the above. It seems to be in most of
the Romance languages, for example. Chinese has
it (in the unvoiced/unaspirated form). Korean
seemingly has it too. Probably not in Japanese,
despite "guai" (condition) etc.

I presume that [gw-] is not in any of the Slavic
languages, nor in German. It may be (rather
marginally) in Indonesian and/or Swahili. I
don't seem to find it in most of the languages
of the Indian sub-continent.

This would imply that [gw-] may not be very
common beyond the western European area.

Am I missing something? I would guess
that some of the other major languages of
the world have it.

I find none of the above in Klingon.

Any comment, info, appreciated.

   Leo J. Moser