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Why Not More Nasals!!!!? (was: Is this a realistic phonology?)

From:Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>
Date:Monday, March 8, 1999, 20:43
Daniel Andreasson wrote:
>Raymond A. Brown wrote: >>At 3:48 pm -0600 7/3/99, Nik Taylor wrote: >>>Daniel Andreasson wrote: >>>> I'm sorry that I ask, and it's possible that there's something >>>> here that I don't quite get, but what's bizarre about having >>>> more nasals than voiced stops? Swedish has six nasals >>>> (bilabial, labiodental, dental, retroflex, palatal and velar) >>>> and only four voiced stops (blb, dental, retroflex and velar). >>> >>>Well, only that, up to this point, I didn't realize that there >>>*were* langs with more nasals than stops. >> >>And are all the six Swedish nasals noted above six distinct >>_phonemes_? > >
>>As post-vocalic nasals are more subject to modification by a >>following consonant than post-vocalic plosives are, I suspect it's >>not at all uncommon to find more nasal sounds than voiced plosives >>in very many languages. But I'm still with Nik when it comes to >>actual _phonemes_. > >And now I am too.
AND I'M STILL NOT. Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, and a whole lot of other Austro-Asiatic and Daic languages have *MORE* PHONEMIC _Nasals_ than _Voiced Stops_!!!! What in the world is so hard to believe about that?! What do you all have against the languages of Southeast Asia?! 8-) Below is the inventory of both oral and nasal voiced stops in the three languages I have mentioned - and they are all PHONEMIC!!: CAMBODIAN lab. den. pal. vel. nasal /m/ /n/ /J/ /N/ oral /b/ /d/ THAI lab. den. pal. vel. nasal /m/ /n/ /N/ oral /b/ /d/ VIETNAMESE lab. den. pal. vel. nasal /m/ /n/ /J/ /N/ oral /b/ /d/ And to throw in another language which is also Daic like Thai, here is Laotian's inventory below: LAOTIAN lab. den. pal. vel. nasal /m/ /n/ /J/ /N/ oral /b/ /d/ [Sources "Compendium of the World's Languages", "Modern Spoken Cambodian", "The Major Languages of the World".] Now there you go... its all there as clear as day! Again, what's hard to believe about that? The evidence is all there. There is no need to make quick assumptions and denying the existence of Southeast Asian languages. 8-) If anything, I think it makes more sense to have more voiced nasal stops than oral stops - especially if the voicing requirements dictates that voicing has to be sustain as it is in these languages. Reason being that its easier to sustain a voiced nasal stop than a voiced oral stop. Note how the voiced oral stops of all these languages are labial and dental - voiced oral stops whose POA is further back doesn't exist. Its easier to sustain a voiced oral stop whose POA is further forward than it is with one whose POA is further back. The oral cavity in front of the vocal chords is simply larger in a voiced stop whose POA is further forward. A larger oral cavity would give the airflow from the vocal chords more space to 'build-up' - so to speak. IMBO, there is nothing unusual about that. In fact, in these languages, the voiced oral stops are often more sustained than English's voiced oral stops. English voiced oral stops have no requirement to sustain voicing while in Austro-Asiatic and Daic languages voicing sustainment is required. IMO, there is absolutely nothing unusual about having more voiced nasal stops than voiced oral stops. It all depends on the voicing requirement of the individual languages. Just having the urge to clear things up and acknowledging the existence of the languages my Southeast-Asian 'brothers' speak, -kristian- 8-)