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Re: Alternating Airstreams

From:Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 4, 2006, 5:22
On 4/3/06, <veritosproject@...> wrote:
> Are there any languages (or is it possible) to have a system where > phonemes are differentiated by the direction of the airstream? > > Example: > "ma" exhaling might mean mother > "ma" inhaling might > "ma" mouthed might mean something else > and so on >
I'd say it'd be pretty tricky as a language-wide contrast -- the speakers would probably hyperventilate in short order! But if, say, the language was very slloooow (Entish, anyone?), and was structured such that pulmonic egressive and ingressive sounds tended to alternate, you could probably speak without either hyperventilating or asphyxiating. Say, if all the content words were made out of egressives, and the grammatical particles (case, TAM, etc.) were made out of ingressives, then you could have:
>Mary <GEN >cat <NOM >tuna <ACC >like <PAST
With > for words made out of egressives and < for ones made out of ingressives. Or, if you don't want it to sound like the whale talk in Finding Nemo, you could have an entire clause said on the egressive pass and a complex modal system for the ingressive pass indicating, say, the source of the data and the speaker's attitude towards it.
>Mary's cat is capable of short-distance flight.
<speaker hear in past from [the owner] but speaker very much doubt -- Pat