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phonological markedness [was Re: Happy New Year (to some)]

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Monday, January 5, 2004, 22:31
From:    Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
> "Thomas R. Wier" wrote: > > > "ra" is subject, "ro" (direct) object, "ru" the verb. > > > > This seems to be an unlikely kind of alliteration in a natural > > language. The only phonological difference between agents and > > patients appears to be the fact that the vowel of one particle > > is [+low], and the other is [-low], and are otherwise identical! > > Well, Japanese has wa for topic (frequently, tho not always, subject) > and wo for accusative.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't <wo> phonologically /o/? Besides which, my point was that such a circumstance is unlikely, not that it can't happen! The point of phonological contrast is, afterall, to have contrast.
> And Latin had things like -us/-um or -a/-am. > Also quite similar markers.
Those are bigger differences, though. No less than four features differ between /s/ and /m/: [+-nasal], [+-continuant], [+-voice] not to mention their place of articulation. (This assumes an early stage of Latin where the /m/ was actually pronounced.) A better example of what you're talking about is late Latin [a] vs. [a~], after /m/ had already fallen away but leaving nasalization on the preceding vowel. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637


Axiem <axiem@...>