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Re: NATLANG: o 0? re: consonant clusters

From:Tristan <kesuari@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 10, 2002, 9:01
Nik Taylor wrote:

>Christophe Grandsire wrote: > > >>Yes indeed. Which shows how strange English is, which keeps untouched clusters >>like /sk-/ and /st-/, but simplified clusters like /kn-/, /ks-/ or /gz-/, and >>still does synchronically :)) . >> >>
But! But! That's because /st-/ is easy to pronounce, but /gz-/ isn't! (There, a definitive statement!) Gah, just you wait until someone decides the /@/ is a terrorist plot to confuse us all or something. Then we'll all be talking of gzells and the like, so fear not.
>:-) It is odd. But, I suspect that at least part of the reason is that >/sk/ /st/ /sp/ is more common than /kn/, etc. was. If we dropped the >/s/, there'd be *lots* of ambiguity, whereas simplifying, e.g., /kn/ to >/n/ only created a few homophones (night/knight, know/no, knot/not, >knead/need being the only ones I can think of, and the last of those is >only homophonous because the GVS also messed with the pronunciation). > >Of course, we could also have gone the Romance route of adding a sound, >/st/ -> /@st/ or /s@t/ perhaps. >
Yeah, but English has such a thing for nice, short words. I look at our bathroom scales and it has 'not legal for trade' on it, and then the translation into French which is full of multi-syllable behemoths that you'd think it was German apart from the fact that it looks French (and it doesn't have quite enough long words quite long enough). And anyway, any schwa you add I can take away. On a vaguely related note, if you create a syllabic consonant and then you make it no longer syllabic but rather the combination of a schwa and the consonant, is the schwa more likely to go before the consonant, or is this just me making assumptions? Tristan


Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>