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Re: Tones to make up for lack of phonemes

From:Paul Kershaw <ptkershaw@...>
Date:Sunday, December 28, 2008, 16:20
----- Original Message ----
From: Matthew Turnbull <ave.jor@...>
> They could make bilabial (for lack of a better word) fricatives though. > How ever, I believe that the main problem most animals have with > "talking" is that they can't control the air pressure exerted by their > lungs on their vocal cords...
Presumably, though, from a fictional conlang perspective, the issue would be what sounds could be made by an evolved sentient creature with a vocal cavity designed to make sounds. For instance, sentient cat like creatures with bipartite lips appear in science fiction and fantasy (e.g., the Sisters of Plenitude in Doctor Who), but when they talk, they don't generally have trouble with bilabial stops. Realistically, they ought to; at best, they should be depicted with a lisp (/b/ should be [β], /p/ should be [ɸ]). The original question was over what sounds could be made with anything with a mouth (and, presumably, evolved enough to have sufficient articulatory complexity). Without knowing the full range of possible vocal cavities and articulatory structures, I don't think there's a definitive answer. -- Paul