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Re: Why Consonants?

From:Aquamarine Demon <aquamarine_demon@...>
Date:Sunday, February 18, 2007, 9:43
>>Well, that kinda begs the question. Languages like American English or
Croatian allow various segments more usually considered as consonants to be vowels. Of course, as a consequence one then (quite reasonably) says that in American English, /r\=/ is a vowel. But then all we've done is defined vowels as things which form the nucleus of syllables, so of *course* vowels define syllables, and consonants don't. (Otoh, in a strict CV language, one could quite easily say that the consonant defines the syllable anyway, particularly if vowels can be long or diphthong.)<< Yes, I've come across that concept as well; I didn't bring it up originally because I thought it a bit too complicated for the basic point. But yes, *certain* consonants can be syllabic: nasals and liquids, which are more sonorant than most other vowels. Even so, I've heard there's some debate as to whether there actually is a vowel before those syllabic consonants, but as I am not too far into my linguistics education yet, I don't fully understand that argument.
>>There's also the concept of "vocoids" and "contoids" which allow for a
less circular definition, but I'm pretty sure [l, r\] (and all approximants) are classified as "vocoids" in that system, yet they're usually *not* nuclei.<< I've not heard of that concept; however, l and r can be syllabic in American English: butter, bottle. I'm not sure this is what you meant, though... The Aquamarine Demon "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell ____________________________________________________________________________________ No need to miss a message. Get email on-the-go with Yahoo! Mail for Mobile. Get started.


T. A. McLeay <relay@...>