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
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