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Sanskrit tutorial and alternative phonetics

From:Mathew Willoughby <sidonian@...>
Date:Saturday, March 20, 1999, 19:20
As promised, here is the link to the online Sanskrit tutorial by Charles
There is an html version and a .ps version (which I happen to prefer).

Most interesting is the alleged "proper" of Sanskrit vowels such as /i/.

"To sound i3 [/i/], open the mouth as for a3 [/a/, this means that the mouth

should be as wide open as when you are saying "Ahh" for the dentist.] and
raise the _back_ of the tongue (the tip should be relaxed behind the bottom
front teeth).  In producing this sound it will be noticed that there is a
constriction or tensioning  in the throat as compared with the relaxed
when sounding a3."

Bracketed remarks are mine.

It is obvious from this description that the vowel described above is
neither "close" nor "front" (as those terms are generally applied to
phonetics) even though it sounds much the same as the /i/ with which
we are all more familiar.

Wikner's tutorial could be just plain bad phonetics and/or scholarship
but I am not so much interested in the accuracy of his system as in
how it illustrates an alternative method of phonetic classification. (at
least for vowels anyway).  I'm thinking of using a similar vowel system
for one of my future conlangs.

I'd love to hear what you guys all think.