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Japanese phonemes (was Re: The Monovocalic PIE Myth (was Germans have no /w/, ...))

From:Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Date:Saturday, June 12, 2004, 4:59
william drewery wrote:
> True. But I can't think of any voiced equivalent to > it. I'm guessing it's that restriction again.
The reason is that there's no voiced /h/, and voiced /h/ is very rare anyways. "f" simply DOES NOT EXIST in Japanese on a PHONEMIC level. Japanese has a pretty symmetrical *phonemic* inventory: p t k b d g s h z m n r w j With some degree of asymmetry in *distribution* in native roots: /p/ only occurs geminated or post-nasal /r/ never occurs word-initially /h/ never geminated or after a nasal in the same morpheme, almost never morpheme-medial (Sino-Japanese as well), there are a few exceptions to that last restriction /w/ only occurs before /a/ (ban on /wi/ and /we/ is moderately unusual, ban on /wo/ and /wu/ is pretty typical) /j/ does not occur before front vowels (hardly an unusual restriction), cannot occur after /w/ (again, not unusual at all) Only voiceless obstruents can be geminated /d/ and /z/ merge before /i/ and /j/ (in the standard dialect, some dialects preserve the distinction) No /au/, /ou/, /eu/, /iu/ within a single morpheme
> Interesting. Did tis happen in Spanish as well?
In initial position, something like that, yeah. /p/ -> /h/ -> null except before /w/ and /r/ (thus, fuego and Francia rather than *huego and *Hrancia)


Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Tristan Mc Leay <kesuari@...>
Emily Zilch <emily0@...>Japanese P-phoneme
Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>