Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

THEORY: And wrote:

From:Rob Nierse <rnierse@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 23, 2002, 14:06
And wrote:

>It's certainly misleading to describe a language with the basic 5 >vowels, in long/short, oral/nasal, breathy/creaky/modal versions >as having a lot of vowels (viz 5 * 2 * 2 * 3 = 60).
I've been thinking about this since I learned Waorani. It used to be written as if it was Spanish, so 'I see' was written 'abo' and 'I am' was written 'amo'. I had trouble finding out what the first person suffix was, -bo or -mo? In the end I realised that they were allophones, 'to see' is 'a' and 'to be' is 'a~' and the 'b' gets assimilated when preceded by a nasal vowel. In this languages it is misleading *not* to describe the vowels in oral and nasal.
>And similarly >for consonants.
In Dutch I make a difference between 'pot' and 'bot'. Do I use different phonemes ('p' vs. 'b') or do I use different versions of one sounds, i.e. a bilabial stop? I think the first. Or is my thought the result of education?
>We need some different criterion to measure the >phonetic richness of a language (e.g. what proportion of the IPA >chart systematically corresponds to phonetic realizations of >phonological forms in the language in question). I guess that >the languages that win on that score are found in the Caucasus
They certainly have most places of articulation! (I love Circassian!) In my point of view states of the glottis (vowels) are as important as places of articulation (consonants). Rob


And Rosta <a.rosta@...>