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Re: English sounds `v' and `w'

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, September 23, 2004, 6:26
On Wednesday, September 22, 2004, at 06:34 , Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:

> Shanthanu Bhardwaj wrote: >> Hi all, >> I don't know if this is silly but I wanted to confirm the exact >> difference betwwen the sound `v' and `w' in the English language and >> their >> IPA representation in ASCII. I think that both the sounds `v' and `w' ar >> not aspirated in English and the only difference is that `v'(isn't it the >> same as the hindi `v'?) is labio-dental and `w' is bilabial. Is this >> right?
No - see Philip's reply below.
> Hindi व (and Swedish |v| BTW) is a labiodental approximant, > IPA ʋ, CXS [v\] and thus falls inbetween English /v/ and /w/:
It does indeed. I had an Iranian colleague who used his |v\] when pronouncing English /v/ or /w/. The result is that people tended to 'hear' [w] for /v/ and [v] for /w/ - i.e. they registered it was not the correct English sound but, not being familiar with (or even knowing about) a labio-dental approximant, the brain, so to speak, substituted the nearest English 'incorrect' phoneme.
> English /v/ is a labiodental fricative, while English /w/ is a > labiovelar approximant.
Yep, that's it. Hindi and Swedish /v/ (IPA ʋ) is a labio-dental approximant; English /v/ (IPA v) is a voiced labio-dental fricative; English /w/ (IPA w) is a bilabial approximant.
> What you need to do from a Hindi point > of view is to make a tenser pronunciation to get [v]
Yep, and get some _friction_ in the sound.
> and a > very lax bilabial pronunciation to get an acceptable [w]. > If you can get hold of a Tibetan and ask him to pronounce > ངག་དབང་ /Na:waN/ you will hear the right sound in the middle.
================================================= n Wednesday, September 22, 2004, at 04:20 , Chris Bates wrote: [snip]
> Correction: I think this has happened in the Romance languages, but some > thought has thrown up that: Latin wrote both /u/ and /w/ (is w the right > symbol in X-SAMPA/CXS?) as v
or rather |V|. It did duty for three phonemes /u/, /u:/ and /w/. Claudius introduced an inverted |F| to denote /w/, but the new letter didn't survive his reign. The form |u| developed in medieval cursive scripts. It has become common in the UK for 'serious' Latin texts to be printed with just a single letter: upper-case |V|, lower-case |u|. It was the humanists of the Italian Renaissance that hit on the idea of making |V| ~ |u| two separate letters - which is all very well for modern languages :)
> (w later got changed into v... or seems to > have done so from my limited knowledge of the evolution of the Romance > languages, thus causing the never ending debate about how one should > pronounce v in latin),
It depends what sort of Latin. For medieval Latin [v] is almost certainly correct.
> suggesting that this had already happened before > the romans started writing.
Unlikely, methinks. It is, however, debatable whether the Classical Latin sound was a bilabial approximant [w] or a labio-dental approximant [v\]. We know that in late Latin & Vulgar Latin, words like _amauimus_ (we loved) and _amabimus_ (we shall love) had become pronounced the same (which was probably one factor that led to the replacement of the Latin synthetic future tense by perisphrastic formations); this suggests a pronunciation like intervocalic /b/ in Spanish, i.e. a voiced bilabial fricative [B], but one cannot rule out a voiced labio-dental fricative as early as the VL period. Indeed, as VL was spoken over such a wide area it is not at all unlikely that there were regional variations.
> Also, I was mainly thinking of spanish > spelling, in which the vowels u and i are "weak" and tend to turn into > /w/ and /j/ respectively in front of other vowels. The problem is, the > Spanish reformed their spelling system, so I don't know if this change > happened in Medieval Spanish or is simply because of the reforms.
Doesn't this happen in _all_ the Romance languages? The evidence of developments from Vulgar Latin is that it was a feature of VL (but Classical Latin verse shows that these vowels retained vocalic status in the Classical language) Ray =============================================== =============================================== "They are evidently confusing science with technology." UMBERTO ECO September, 2004


Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>