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Re: THEORY; Allophones

From:Adam Raizen <araizen@...>
Date:Saturday, April 10, 1999, 22:53
Vayyikhtov Steg Belsky:
> > On Tue, 6 Apr 1999 17:01:02 +0200 Adam Raizen <araizen@...> > writes: > >In Modern Hebrew, I don't think that [b] and [v], [p] and [f], [k] and > >[x] are only one phoneme (respectively) anymore, even when they're > >spelled with the same letter, at least not anymore than [f] and [v] > >are > >still one phoneme in Modern English. I'm sure that Israelis think of > >them as different sounds, and with the loss of dagesh hhazak it's not > >even very predictable which will occur without going into a lot of > >very > >esoteric historical morphology that has little application to the > >modern > >language. Not only all that, but also there are a lot of foreign words > >coming into the language which don't have those as one phoneme. As for > >minimal pairs, I can think of [Sabat] "Saturday" and [Savat] "struck" > >(striked?, in the meaning of French "a fait gre`ve") where they used > >to > >be the same phoneme. If they're not already separate phonemes, they're > >well on their way to becoming them. > > > Well, that minimal pair doesn't really work, since _shavat_ is vowelized > with a _qamatz_ and not a _patahh_ - the [b] in [Sabat] is caused by a > dagesh-hhazaq from the _patahh_, while the /b/ remains a [v] in [Savat] > because it's a third-person past in binyan _qal_, pattern > _C{qamatz}C{patahh}C_. [Sa:vat]....or [SOvas] in Common Ashkenazic. >
The qamatz-patah distinction is made in Biblical/Tiberian Hebrew. However, in Modern Hebrew, there's no distiction between qamatz and patahh, neither in pronunciation nor even in its effect on the rest of the word. (i.e., everyone says /jEtsivut/, "stability", and not the technically correct /jatsivut/, with a patahh and a dagesh in the tsadik). In Modern Hebrew, there's also no distinction between a letter with a dagesh and one without, except for the letters bet, kaf, and pe, and in those letters there's no distinction between the dagesh hhazak and dagesh kal. Therefore, between [Savat] and [Sabat] in Modern Hebrew, there's no distiction between the first vowel in each word; only the middle consonant is different, and there it's the quality (not the length) that's different, with nothing else in the word causing the distinction.
> Although you do have a point. A book i read about the history of the > Hebrew language gave the example of the minimal pair [l@hitxabe:r] "to be > connected", from the root HhBR, and the Modern word [l@hitxave:r] "to > make friends (with)" from the word _hhaveir_. If Israelis spoke > phonologically correct, both words would be the same, with a [b]. > Also, the minimal pair [b@roS] "in the front", _b-rosh_, and [broS] > "cyprus tree", with an elided _shva na`_. >
No doubt that Modern Hebrew is in a state of dramatic change, and arguments could be made either way. I think, however, that it's pretty much beyond dispute that Hebrew is at least headed that way, unless there's a major change.
> > -Stephen (Steg) > "yisraeilkidhm! uz sudnihkhoorat wa'^lesna^ahya-a wa'waz nga'ush > ^miplatz^fraa:nkihnstiin!" >
-- Adam Raizen