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Re: laterals (was: Pharingials, /l/ vs. /r/ in Southeast Asia)

From:Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 23:20
Javier BF wrote:
> But the choices made are arbitrary.
*shrug* I never said it was *perfect*.
> E.g. the symbol > for Czech r^, which of course transcribes a sound > that is contrasted with [r] in a known language, > was finally dropped
I don't know anything about the Czech r^, so I can't comment on that.
> But, _phonemically_, it is thought of as of a > kind of "sh". In Swedish, English "sh" is adapted > by means of their "hsh". So a phonemic transcription > as [S] would do perfectly well. The special symbol > only tells you the _articulatory_ (i.e. _phonetic_) > difference.
Actually, a phonemic transcription as /S/. :-) But, the thing is, although the general principle is to only have distinct characters for distinctions made phonemic, that only applies to sounds that are articulatorily similar. The Swedish [x\] is not articulatorily similar to either [S] or [x]. However, I do agree that it's odd that it wasn't simply written as [S] and [x] with a tie-bar indicating co-articulation. As I said, it's not a perfect system, but nothing is.
> The difference is in the _sequencing_ of the > closures. In a lateral, the central closure is > kept all the way while the lateral release is > being produced and only when the lateral is > 'finished' the central closure is released. In > a central plosive with lateral release, you first > release an amount of air centrally and release > an amount of it laterally.
Incorrect. That would *not* be a lateral release! Lateral release is, by defintion, what you're calling a lateral stop! I can't even see how you could hear a "central plosive with lateral release" by your definition.
> You have to define also _where_ the release of the > air is produced, centrally or laterally, and this is > what distinguishes the laterals from the other sounds. > In a lateral stop, the central closure is kept while > the lateral release is produced. In a central stop, > the lateral closure is kept while the central release > is produced.
Right ... and if "lateral release is produced", then it's a stop with lateral release! Lateral release contrasts with central release. It's just that no one says, for example, "dental stop with central release" because it's redundant, central release being the default. Just as no one says "pulmonic egressive dental stop".
> There's no way you can lower the whole tongue between > the individual taps in a trill, because they are > pronounced much more quickly than you would literally > have time to perform that movement, so the plosions > in a trill are produced by a vibratory movement of > the tongue rather than a wide raising and lowering.
But in a trill, you do not lower the tongue at all! It's the force of the air that causes the tongue to flap, not the usage of the muscles in the tongue. The difference is that in a stop or tap, you're actually using the muscles of the tongue to raise and lower the tongue. In a trill, it's the force of air that causes the tip of the tongue to vibrate. If you don't believe me, try vibrating the tip of your tongue without making a trill, that is, without vibrating against the roof of your mouth and without any airstream. It's physically impossible.
> Hunh? Approximant and fricative taps are not rare > in Spanish at all, they are perfectly valid and not > uncommon allophones of /4/. Just don't touch the > alveolar ridge with the tip of your tongue when > pronouncing the tap and you get an apico-alveolar > fricative/approximant tap instead of an apico-alveolar > plosive tap.
But then, it's not a tap. To be a tap, by definition, the tongue has to *touch* the roof of the mouth. You seem to be inventing your own definitions of sounds here. If Spanish does have allophones of /4/ that do *not* involve the tongue hitting the roof of the mouth, then they're, by definition, non-tap allophones! That would be like saying that the use of [4] in American English is a stop, just because it's an allophone of a stop.
> For an apico-postalveolar instead of > an apico-alveolar, just curl the tip of the tongue > so that it points towards the postalveolar are > instead of towards the alveolar ridge. You do that > all the time when you pronounce English initial r's. > If you don't pronounce them like a flap, that is, > quickly enough to make them look like a pulse
You're clearly mistaken about English, then. If /r/ is a "flap" or "tap", then so is every other English sound! I hear no difference between "red" and "rrrrrrrrrred" (that is, an extended r) other than length, just as if I were to contrast "zero" and "zzzzzzzzzzzero". The only English r's I know are either approximants or taps or trills, according to dialect. Javier, I think you need to study the *standard* terminology. You're just confusing everyone by using your own definitions of words. -- "There's no such thing as 'cool'. Everyone's just a big dork or nerd, you just have to find people who are dorky the same way you are." - overheard ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTaylor42