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Digest Deux

From:David Peterson <digitalscream@...>
Date:Sunday, November 4, 2001, 10:24
In a message dated 11/3/2001 3:04:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
fortytwo@GDN.NET writes:

> > No: In other words, they're fricatives. And English doesn't > > even have voiced consonants in most environments; how would you know? > > Um ... yes we do. Voiced fricatives, glides, and liquids are undeniably > voiced in English. Voiced stops are usually only half-voiced. >
Ha, ha! Oops! Yeah, voiced stops is what I meant. Oh well... I've lost. Also, voiced fricatives are only half voiced word finally. We had to prove this is my phonetics class, cutting out the first few periods of the [z] in "jazz" to see if it would render "jass" [dZ&s], and it did. <<I've been wondering about alternations like Abdullah/Abdallah for a while now (that is, the forms they take in non-Arabic languages alternate). I still don't quite understand, however. I realize that the in <Abdullah> is from the <-u> of <`abdu>, the nominative form complete with case marker; and that the <?a> of <?al-Lah-> drops after a vowel; but in modern usage, case markers aren't often used, so I'm left wondering if people actually pronounce the name as <`abdulLah>, or do they pronounce it like <`abdalLah>, which is to say the same as the phrase <`abd al-Lah>?>> If I could make a suggestion, I think it doesn't matter. No matter what short vowel you put in there, it'll end up sounding like a short [u] because of the [L] right next to it, since they both have velar constrictions. I'd wager my good hat that nobody is thinking /?Abdu al-lah/. And besides: Wouldn't the ending be the genitive [i]? <<Are there no long vowels in Hawaiian?  I was under the impression that there were.>> Nope. <<If a glottal stop is automatically inserted between like consonants, does that mean that au and 'au would become homophonous after a word ending in a?  Or does that only occur within a word?>> From what I've heard (samples on my Languages of the World CD's), no, so you can say "ke kanaka au" (that probably isn't anything semantically) and (this is guess) since the last /a/ would be realized as [@], it would graduate to [A] because of the following /a/ and it'd just be [kek@nAkAu]. <<What's a half voiced sound? Indeed, what is the English phonology _actually_ like, phonetically speaking?>> I'll venture a short explanation to draw other more learned citizens out. Cosonants are usually voiced intervocalically and word-finally. This is only "usually", however, since they can appear voiceless. The main key in telling the difference between voiced and voiceless stops in English is aspiration. Intervocalically and in non-stressed positions is the only place where you're likely to find some variation, and even then, some strings have been pulled, so that /t/ and /d/ are always [4] (alveolar flap), so that there is no distinction. /g/ is never voiced, apparently--only very rarely, and that has to do with the aerodynamic voicing constraint. So the two velar stops in English are [k] and [k_h]. When the issue of "half-voicing" comes up, what that means is that is that the sound starts out voiced, but ends up being voiceless, and this also has to do with the aerodynamic voicing constraint. Say in the word "bad". You'd expect something like [b&:d], but you end up with something more like [p&dt], where the consonant is initially voiced, but (and this happens especially utterance finally) when you come to the end, you tend to let the voicing go, and the end of the [d] ends up being more like a [t]. You can verify this with sound analysis software, such as PRAAT (the one I use). Other points of interest: (a) The voiced, inter-dental fricative in English is most generally realized as a voiced, inter-dental stop. (b) Voiced fricatives undergo devoicing in the same places as voiced stops. (c) Voiced laterals, glides and approximants all become devoiced next to voiceless obstruents. (d) All the front vowels tend to be lower than their cardinal positions. (e) /n/ is realized as a nasal tap in the same environments where /t/ and /d/ are realized as non-nasal taps. I don't think anything else I could say would apply to all varieties of English--and some of what I said already may not. Anyway, someone else can jump in now. Unless we don't want to talk about English phonetics. :)


Tristan Alexander McLeay <anstouh@...>half voiced (was: Digest Deux)