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USAGE voicing and aspiration (was: "Transferral" verb form in LC-01)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Friday, June 28, 2002, 5:50
On Wednesday, June 26, 2002, at 09:33 , Tim May wrote:


> I made the stop in all fricative-stop clusters voiced too, because I > can't tell the difference in my own speech unless it's aspirated (so > it's a matter of orthography, mostly). I think at least some Celtic > languages do this.
You mean like Welsh _ysgol_ = "school" and _Sbaen_ = "Spain"? Yes, the sounds [sk] and [sp] are always written _sg_ and _sb_ in Welsh, where the plosive is regarded as a devoiced allophone of /g/ and /b/ respectively, and not - as in English - where they felt to be de-aspirated allophones of /k/ and /p/. In other words, whereas English regards the voiced~voiceless distinction as fundamental and aspiration as something that accompanies the voiceless plosive in certain environments, Welsh regards unaspirated~aspirated as the fundamental distinction. Welsh initial voiceless plosives are more strongly aspirated than is usually the case with English speakers. When an a voiceless plosive occurs medially after a stressed vowel, it is geminated with strong aspirate release, e.g. the /p/ in _hapus_ (happy) is noticeably different from the /p/ in English 'happy'. hapus ['happ_h1s] (north Wales) or ['happ_hIs] (south Wales). Oddly, however, although /t/ behaves exactly the same way, e.g. _ateb_ (answer) = ['att_he:b], and the distinction between /t/ and /d/ is exactly like that between /p/ and /b/, the combo [st] is always written _st_ and not, as one might expect, _sd_. Ray.