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CHAT: Japanese "sh" (was: Re: CHAT: F.L.O.E.S.)

From:Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 3, 2004, 22:24
>Quoting Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>: > >> En réponse à Andreas Johansson : >> >> >> >Waitaminit! If 'sh' isn't apical, it can't be [S] as Christophe says, since >> >that's supposed to be apical. >> >> Doesn't "apical" mean "with the tip of the tongue"? If so, then [S] is >> certainly *not* apical. At least, I've never pronounced it that way (and I >> cannot! When pronouncing [S], the tip of my tongue is *down*, and it's the >> body of the tongue which is close to the palato-alveolar region) and I have >> no default of pronunciation. > >Checking my linguistics textbook, it appears to say that there are both apical >and laminal versions of [S]. The sound I use for Swedish /C/, German /S/ and >English /S/ is postalveolar apical fricative, near as I can tell.
I was going to respectfully disagree with Christophe on this one, but now we seem to be getting somewhere. If Christophe's [S] is the French "ch" as in "château", "chez", "chiot", "chose", and "chute", then I'll agree that it's akin to Japanese "sh". When I think [S], I think English and other Germanic langs, which, for me, have some postalveolar apicality, and that's *not* what's happening in Japanese. Having read Christophe's recent post about daily exposure to Japanese, I tried out an English [S] in Japanese "shi" positions, and it sounded distinctly like an American speaking Japanese. *I've* thought of Japanese "shi" and "hi" as different manifestations of [C]. "Shi" is the [C] I use for Chinese pinyin "x" (e.g. "xue2" /CyE/). "Hi" is the [C] I use for German ich-laut (e.g. "ich" /IC/). In other words, using non-precise phonetic language: "shi", you used the word "laminal"? Maybe that's it, at the alveolar ridge; "hi", center of the tongue against the full blown palate, and perhaps a little more air. Now, in the past, I wouldn't have thought of French "ch" as [C], and I still don't (though in certain environments, English "sh" for French "ch" sounds, again, like the evil American mangling the beauty of the French language). While I would describe English "sh" as a postalveolar apical, laminals also occur in my idiolect in speech, making it like Chistophe's "ch" (in the same way as, while [T] is "interdental", postdental works too). Looks like, since we were simultaneously juggling three or four languages with different phonemic values for these sounds, precise phonetics values have gotten confused. There, problem solved. My next goal: world peace. Kou


Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>
Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>