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[h] approximations (was: /s/ -> /h/ )

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Saturday, January 29, 2000, 16:12
At 2:40 pm -0700 28/1/00, dirk elzinga wrote:
> >Yes. I should have been more precise. As Rob pointed out, /h/ in >Dutch and German is voiced, and in English intervocalically. The >difference is that the voiced /h/ is a different kind of segment >from an /h/--
> >Try this at home. Produce a nice crisp /s/ and sustain it: >[ssssss...]. Now, release the alveolar constriction *without >changing anything else*. The result will be a sustained /h/. Now >try it with /z/; the result will be a vowel, not a voiced /h/. > >> Indeed, when *s becomes *z and then something else, it seems to usually >> become r, as in Latin and some of the Germanic languages. > >Yes; not a voiced /h/, as one might expect if a voiced /h/ were >merely the voiced counterpart of /h/.
Yep - I'm wondering if the so-called voiced glottal fricative ([h\] in SAMPA Notation, IPA 'hooktop h') is not, indeed, better described as a glottal approximant. -------------------------------------------------------------------- At 10:34 pm -0500 28/1/00, Nik Taylor wrote:
>dirk elzinga wrote: >> Yes. I should have been more precise. As Rob pointed out, /h/ in >> Dutch and German is voiced, and in English intervocalically. > >I've heard that claim, but it must be only for some dialects - there is >most definitely no voicing in my intervocalic /h/, no matter how slow or >fast I say words like "ahoy", I can feel no voicing in the /h/.
Same with me, infact. I always used the voiceless variety. But the voiceless /h/ of Afrikaans is a very different sound - and it is voiceless. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- At 11:46 pm -0500 28/1/00, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Raymond Brown wrote: >> That, I believe, is the common understanding of these terms. It is what >> I've understood for 40 years or so. In that analysis it simply does not >> make sense to talk about voiceless approximants - as soon as these souns >> are devoiced there is friction. > >I disagree. /j_0/ may have a VERY slight friction, but it's far less >friction than /C/.
Ah, but there is friction. I agree it is less than [C]. But then [b_0] is not the same as [p] (unaspirated). When a normally voiced sound is devoiced (or partly devoiced) it will IME rarely bacome completely identical with the voiceless counterpart. But I have heard [j] pronounced with some friction. European Spaniards, e.g. seem to do this so that {yo} tends to sound to me more like [Zo] than the [jo] given in text books.
>Unless you want to come up with a new term to >describe that difference, "weak fricative", perhaps?, voiceless >aproximate is quite adequate.
Only approximately ;) Personally, I don't think there is a hard and fast division between fricatives & approximants - just two extremes: no friction on the far approximant 'left' through to very rasping friction on the fricative 'right', so to speak, with many (possibly most) sounds falling somewhere between.
>> this analysis regards, e.g. the [h] in [h&t] as the voiceless >> equivalent of [&], and the [h] in [hIt] as the voiceless equivalent of [I], >> etc. In such an analysis, of course, there are as many aitches as vowels, >> each being, so to speak, a voiceless vowel, i.e. voiceless approximant. > >Actually, I quite agree with that analysis. I can find absolutely on >friction in MY pronunciation of /h/, altho I have heard friction in some >idiolects. To me, /h/ is a voiceless vowel, with allophones [I_0], >[&_0], etc. I wonder if some of this debate arises from simply >different linguists' idiolects?
Partly, I guess. It also varies within language. In Welsh speaking areas and in many parts of Scotland /h/ is more energetically pronounced than in some other dialects (and in many, in fact, it is silent except in formal speech) - those speakers certainly give it a fricative pronunciation. But it also, I think, depends how [h] functions within a language. In ancient Greek, e.g. one gets a better understanding of the phonotactics of the language if [h] is regarded as a prosody (i.e. suprasegmental feature) rather than as a phoneme. ---------------------------------------------------------------- At 1:17 am -0600 29/1/00, raccoon@ELKNET.NET wrote: [....]
>Hmm. It always has, and still does, seem odd to me to conceive of /h/ as a >(semi)vowel,
Me too.
>but if it in fact IS, that would make the laryngeal theory of >PIE make more sense.
I know :)
>For those who don't know, it holds that there were >several (usually 3) different 'laryngeal' phonemes in Proto-Indo-European, >and each one has a vocalic and a non-vocalic allophone, much like /i/ and >/j/ were allophones in PIE. Further, each of the laryngeals has a different >effect on the vowels immediately before or after it; *H1e comes out like >*e, *H2e comes out like *a, and *H3e comes out like *o. So maybe *H1 was a >kind of /e/, *H2 a kind of /a/, and *H3 a kind of /o/. Still, I don't >understand what exactly separates vowels from consonants, and how /h/ could >be vocalic.
And some scholars give the 'laryngeals' as /@1/, /@2/ and /@3/; this suggests the relation between [*H] ~ [@] is like that between [j] ~ [i]. Maybe [*H] was the glottal approximant I mentioned in the 1st section above :) ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================