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troubles with IPA vowels (was: Leute)

From:J. 'Mach' Wust <j_mach_wust@...>
Date:Friday, July 23, 2004, 15:06
On Fri, 23 Jul 2004 11:02:28 -0000, Christian Thalmann <cinga@...> wrote:

>> I note you're using [a, A] rather than the more common [&, a]. Why >>is that? > >My "ä" is the same as the first part of the diphthong /aj/ >in Swiss German, French, English etc, which is always >written as [aj] rather than [&j].
I'd say (northern) German and English (RP or GA) have [aI], French has sometimes [Aj] (not as a diphthong), but Züritüütsch has [&i]. At least this is one of the features of Züritüütsch which is easiest to remark for me, and not only when they speak dialect, but also when they speak standard German. You'd phonetically spell Züritüütsch words like _Räägel_ (from the name Regula) or _fääze_ (to rain very few) with [a:]? That's unusual, but well, the phonetic transcription is not as strict as we'd wish. To me, they'd be [r&:gl, f&:ts@].
>In fact, the /E/ phoneme of Swiss German often sounds like [&] to me.
Whereas, in fact, I often wonder whether the /E/ phoneme of Bärndütsch Swiss German isn't rather an [e]. The sound is quite the same as the one in English _pet, bed_ (quite different from both standard German or French /e/ and /E/), and so the problem of it's representation is the same as well: Some'd represent it with [e], others with [E].
>We might just be talking about very different dialects.
It's not only that, I fear, but also that we have different concepts of the IPA sounds because we know different languages. That's a problem of the IPA I don't know how to handle. Everybody's interpretation of the IPA, and especially of the IPA vowels, is conditioned by the languages he's learned. Apart from the unpracticable theoretical descriptions (for consonants, they may still work, but not for vowels), there are only references such as the ones given by Philip Newton ( ), which are as well conditioned by the languages of the people who spoke them. Have you listened e.g. at that [9]? It sounds rather like some kind of [@`].
>Some Bärner write things >like "wörklech", which might make sense phonetically, but >obscure the underlying German roots. ZT shouldn't make the >same mistake.
Instead of "würklech", that is. This happens, though it's more typical of Lucerne, I'd say. You call it a mistake? For sure, it's not a mistake of the writers, but rather of the writing system that offers two different signs for almost the same sound, a confusion that goes up to the IPA level where we have [2] as well as [Y]. Could it be that this distinction is a relict from the time when there were no diacritics yet?
>Is the distinction between [y Y] and [u U] phonemic in >Bärndütsch too? I thought only [i I] were distinguished >in writing, anyway.
/hYt:/ 'today' vs. /hyt:/ 'skins', /Sut:/ 'kick' vs. /SUt:/ 'rubble'. In writing, /u, y/ might be marked with a dot below, according to Marti. g_0ry@_ˆs: j. 'mach' wust


Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>