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Phonetic scripts and diphthongs ...

From:Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Date:Thursday, July 15, 2004, 17:48
It occured to me that, as far as the Latin script is concerned, even
orthographies that are otherwise adhering closely to a 1-to-1 phoneme-grapheme
mapping, phonemic diphthongs are typically spelt with digraphs. The cases I can
think of where diphthongs are written with a single letter (surely, that ought
to be a "mongraph"? :) ) seem all to be ones where the orthography goes back to
a time when the present diphthongs were monophthongs (English comes to mind).

The reason, I guess, isn't really profound - being compound phonemes, they get
compound graphemic representation. But the same applies to affricates, and
single letters for affricates are all over the place; English supplies 'j' for
/dZ/ (a case where IPAoid phonemic representation is _farther_ from the 1-to-1
ideal than the much-maligned English orthography). Anyone's got any thoughts as
to the possible causes of this apparent asymmetry?

Or is it just an accident of the development of the Latin script? Early Latin
had no affricates, and not exactly a superabundance of vowel signs to assign it
its diphthongs. When affricates arose, phonological history condemned them to be
represented by single characters, like 'c'.

What about other phonemic scripts? How do Indic scripts go about indicating
diphthongs, for instance? Affricates?



j_mach_wust <j_mach_wust@...>