Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: /k/ in i.t.a.

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Friday, November 12, 2004, 23:44
Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 12, 2004 at 04:24:04PM -0500, Pascal A. Kramm wrote: > > On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 11:58:24 -0500, Roger Mills <rfmilly@...> wrote: > > > > >Fronting of velars before front V is also seen in the German ach-laut > > >vs. > > >ich-laut; both sounds presumably represent the same _phoneme_ /x/ > > >though > > >they are phonetically quite distinct. > > > > No, they don't represent the same. Exclusively "ch" in "Bach" represents > > /x/, while "ch" in "ich" always represents /C/. > > You're misunderstanding. No one is arguing that the *pronunciation* > varies > between [x] or [C] depending on environment. Roger's statement was that > he believes the underlying phoneme to be the same.
> > I don't know enough about German to know if he's correct.
I don't either, but that's what I've always heard from people who do, or ought to, know. But what
> would be required for him to be *incorrect* is more than the fact that > they sound different. The most direct indication that they're separate > phonemes would be examples where the two pronunciations aren't in > complementary distribution.
Yes. Are there any German words of the shape [FRONT vowel i,e,ü,ö,ä etc] followed by the VELAR [x]?. Conversely, are they any words of the shape [BACK vowel u,o,a] followed by the PALATAL [C]? I don't think so, aside from the one or two exceptional forms cited in the recent discussion of the diminutive suffix "-chen" [-C@n], which, I gather, does occur exceptionally after a few words with back vowel. As I understand it, back vowels are supposed to umlaut (> front) before this suffix; but one or two counterexamples involving a single grammatical particle, and a morpheme boundary, do not prove that the sound is contrastive elsewhere in the language. It seems most likely IMO that "-chen" simply has adopted a stereotyped pronunciation with [C] regardless of what precedes it.


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>