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Boreanesian /3/ (was Re: Paucity of Phonemes...

From:Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>
Date:Sunday, February 27, 2000, 8:21
Thomas Wier wrote:

>Kristian Jensen wrote: > >> Nik Taylor wrote: >> >> >Kristian Jensen wrote: >> >> where; /t[/ and /d[/ are laminal denti-alveolar, /L/ is a lateral >> >> fricative, /3/ is a consonantal version of /@/ (schwa - or >> >> more specifically a raised and centralized close-mid back >> >> vowel). >> > >> >What? How can /@/ be pronounced as a consonant? >> >> Easy! Consider English /r/ and then the American English retroflexed >> vowel in words like 'bird' and 'heard'. English /r/ could be seen as a >> consonantal version of the retroflexed vowel. > >That's true, but that doesn't change the fact that /@/ (as opposed to >[@]) can't be a consonant. /@/ in most dialects either has no allophones >at all, or can alternate only with another vowel, [V], but in no case that I know >of can it be allophonically a consonant. Moreover, /r/, /r=/ and /@/ are >all separate phonemes, with only the first, a retroflex approximant, being >nonvocalic (approximants are technically neither vowels nor consonants).
I'm not sure what you are trying to tell me, but perhaps you have misunderstood something. I'm assuming you are commenting about something you _though_ I said about Boreanesian /3/ being an allophone of /@/. If so, then that's _not_ what I said. Boreanesian /3/ and /@/ are separate phonemes (hence the use of slashes). When I wrote that /3/ was a 'consonantal version of /@/', I was drawing an analogy between the two just like one could draw one between /j/ and /i/. I wasn't stating that they were allophones of each other. Note also that Boreanesian /@/ is (and I repeat) more specifically a raised and centralized close-mid back unrounded vowel. Yes, its close to a schwa, but its not quite there. I chose the symbol /@/ merely because it would be more convenient than writing say /i-/. You snipped a couple of things from my last post as well cause I could have sworn I mentioned that English wasn't a very good example. I mentioned Danish /r/ as a better parallel to Boreanesian /3/. Note that Danish /r/ is uvular in syllable initial-position but a pharyngeal semivowel in syllable-final position. So in syllable-final position, Danish /r/ is _analogous_ to the low back unrounded vowel [V]. Similarly for Boreanesian, syllable-final /3/ is _analogous_ to the vowel /<raised centralized close-mid back unrounded>/. In both Danish and Boreanesian, its more appropriate to distinguish semivowels from approximants -- something the IPA has ceased doing. The midsagittal passage is not that narrow in Danish syllable-final /r/ and Boreanesian syllable-final /3/ as it would normally be if they were approximants. Functionally, they also differ from approximants in that rather than functioning as obstruents in the phonological system, they function clearly as sonorants. These sounds are clearly semivocalic -- adding to appropriateness of drawing an analogy between them and vowels. I suppose that instead of saying that /3/ was a consonantal version of /@/, I should have said that /3/ was a _semivocalic_ version of /@/ (a raised and centralized close-mid back unrounded vowel). Better yet, I should have stated that /3/ was a semivocalic version of _/i-/_. I hope I clarified things a bit more. -kristian- 8)