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Re: THEORY: Re : THEORY: Semivowels

From:Christophe Grandsire <grandsir@...>
Date:Thursday, September 9, 1999, 6:45
From Http://Members.Aol.Com/Lassailly/Tunuframe.Html wrote:
> > Dans un courrier dati du 08/09/99 17:44:37 , Gustavo a icrit : > > > What really are the semivowels? I mean, are [j] and [w], > > there is another beautiful one : [|u"] > (can't write the IPA symbol) : > french : "suave, nuit, icuelle". >
I love that sound. It's a pity that it be so rare among languages of the world.
> > respectively, just short [i] and [u], or are they really different > > sounds? > > Can semivowels be nasalized? > > the surest way to get S nazalised is to nazalise > the V after : > french w in "loin, jouant" and |u" in "juin" > are sometime pronounced nazalized, > depending on locutor. > but i don't think | in "puant" and j in "chien" > and "lion" ever are. > maybe there are phonetic rules for that ? >
Nasalisation is a strange feature in French. I think it is the only language where nasalisation doesn't spread from nasalised sounds to phonemically non-nasalised ones. What I mean is that in many language, the occurence of a /m/ or /n/ will nasalise the vowel before, or the vowel after, but it's not the case in French ('bonne' is pronounced /bOn/, not /bO~n/, to make it different from 'bon' /bO~/). Even languages that have phonemic nasal vowels don't behave like that (in Portuguese, the occurrence of /n/ or /m/ always nasalise the vowel before, for example). About your examples, I pronounced the w glide nasalised in 'loin', but not in 'jouant', and I pronounce u" nasalised in 'juin' but not in 'puant'. I think the difference is that 'loin' and 'juin' are not analysable, whereas 'jouant' and puant' are (jou-ant, present participle of jouer, and pu-ant, present participle of puer). To keep the connection with the verbal stem which is generally not nasalised, I don't nasalise it. I don't know if it is a dialectical feature or not. For 'chien' and 'lion', I think the i becomes more a mark of palatalisation of the previous consonnant than a real glide (at least when I don't speak carefully). As nasalisation never spreads to consonnants in French, I think that's why it is not here.
> mathias
-- Christophe Grandsire Philips Research Laboratories -- Building WB 145 Prof. Holstlaan 4 5656 AA Eindhoven The Netherlands Phone: +31-40-27-45006 E-mail: