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Merian H-4: Grammar and Phonology

From:Kala Tunu <kalatunu@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 1, 2002, 8:55
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...> a écrit:

Unfortunately, your proposal, though based on
typological reasons, is flawed, since it led to a system (a voiceless series of
stops with a /p/ vs. a voiced series of stops lacking a /b/) which is not
attested anywhere, while the system I proposed (a voiceless series of stops
without /p/ vs. a voiced series of stops with /b/) is attested at least once
(and I'm sure more), and thus, for the little we can know, more naturalistic
than the one you propose (the fact that it's not attested anywhere doesn't mean
it's not humanly possible, but it does indicate that it's at least less
frequent than what I proposed). There may be only one example, but that's
compared to no example at all of the system you proposed.
Bonne année à tous, Christophe et Thomas y compris! :-)
(sorry, this post is a long one but i tried to cram different topics in it.)

IIRC hausa has k, g, t, d, b but no p either: p is rendered with h or f in
loanwords. but are you sure that japanese lacks a p/b contrast? there are still
plenty of p/b contrastive pairs of words like para-para vs. bara-bara. but if p
isn't a modern hausa or classical arabic consonant, why should this fact be
ignored just because b would have been articulated as p or bp in either language
in the past?

OBAUXLANG: i'm ignorent of fonaticks (but not the only one here as i've noticed
:-). this essay on an auxlang website (Rick Harrison's?) telling what sounds are
most frequent in world languages was interesting but i thought: for auxlanging
purpose, wouldn't it be more interesting to know what sounds are easiest to
pronounce and to tell from each other for the greatest number of speakers? to
give well-know examples: japanese formally lacks /ti/ or /vi/ in native words.
however, i've never met a japanese who could not pronounce my french name
Mathias, but plenty who could not say /vivid/ :-). in the same way, french
formally lacks native words with /tS/ but all french speakers can pronounce
/tS/, so much actually that the tennis word "smash" is now /smatS/ in french
("smatch" sounds way plus engliche and plus cool). and the arabophones i know
from Lebanon and Maghreb have apparently no problem to pronounce french /o/ and
/e/ but cannot get the /ü/ quite right.

so ok, this long beaten-track rambling just to wonder whether the auxlanging
fonatics ever gathered the sounds of all major languages and rated their
"executionability" in each major language? for instance /v/ would be "not quite
possible" in japanese, chinese, arabic, /b/ would be "not contrastive to /p/" in
chinese, "ok but difficult to contrast with /v/" in japanese, /h/ is "forget it"
in french, etc.

OBHOAXLANG: i did once a silly and very unscientific count of the sounds that
speakers of a few languages of which i knew some could easily pronounce and
contrast. i'm sure plenty among us have indulged in this exercise once at least
:-) i ended up with the {gk, s, ts, dt, l, n, m, bp} consonants. i dismissed w/v
and y because too unstable depending on vowels but kept them in for my own
hoaxlang because otherwise i would hardly have enough sounds to make a lang.
well of course the list thins down to {dt, l, n, bp, m} if Tahitian is in and we
all know of this african lang with no /n/ and that other american lang with no
/bp/ --so this is only worth for the langs i knew then and feel free to flame!
tallyho! :-)

btw, how would you SAMPAize that all?  i wrote gk, dt and bp here for anything
inbetween voiced and unvoiced execution, possibly aspirated and nazalized or
whatever united chinese, australaborigenal and newguinean fonatics fanatics
would cook them up. l is for anything flapped from l to r, etc. anybody else
here tell us what they came up when doing this kind of silly minimal count? the
very nice Toki Pona hoaxlang reckons: k, s, t, l, n, y, p, m, w (counting out wu
and yi as is expected).