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Re: voiceless nasal consonants

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, December 20, 2004, 15:42
On Saturday, December 18, 2004, at 09:24 , # 1 wrote:

> I was just talking to someone changing each voiced consonants for the > voiceless equivalent (b=p, g=k, d=t) and I thought about the fact that I > didn't know how was pronounced voiceless nasals. > > after I remarked that I don't even know and I've never heard about a > language using such sounds.
Voiceless nasals do occur in English, but only as allophones of the normal voiced ones; for example, in the words _small_ and _snail_ the /m/ and /n/ are de-voiced after the initial /s/.
> Does someone has knowledge about a tongue using voiceless nasals?
I'm told that intial |hn| in Icelandic is voiceless [n_0], and it is thought that Old English |hn| was the same sound. I have also been told that Burmese and some native American languages posses voiceless nasals - but I know no details. Some books/ sites say that Welsh |mh|, |nh| and |ngh| are voiceless nasals; they are not. They are /m/, /n/ and /N/ followed by /h/.
> I've been able to pronounce some but I've been unable to pronouce clearly > a > difference between voiced and voiceless labiodental, retroflex, palatal > and > velar nasals > > So I imagine voiceless nasals must be billabial or > "dento-alveo-postalveolar"
Not necessarily so. Any nasal sound can be pronounced voiceless.
> Are there natlangs where it exists?
Yes, see above. There was some discussion about this on Conlang in November - look in the archives. Ray =============================================== =============================================== Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]