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CONLANG  October 2000, Week 4

CONLANG October 2000, Week 4

Subject:

Re: help! phonology...& addendum

From:

dirk elzinga <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 24 Oct 2000 10:33:40 -0600

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

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TEXT/PLAIN (52 lines)

On Mon, 23 Oct 2000, SMITH,MARCUS ANTHONY wrote:

> On Tue, 24 Oct 2000, Herman Miller wrote:
>
> > I've always had the impression that fricatives tend to be more common than
> > stops. English is an obvious example, but also look at Arabic. I suppose
> > you could consider uvular and pharyngeal as corresponding in some way, but
> > Arabic also has /T s S/ (like English), while there's only one stop /t/ in
> > the same area (not counting the emphatic versions, which include both stops
> > and fricatives).
>
> Your comment made me curious, because I had always had the opposite
> impression. I looked up 16 language that I had on my shelf (I didn't check
> all my references though). Here are my results:
>
> Eyak: 14 stops, 7 frics
> Tlingit: 19 stops, 15 frics
> Haida: 25 stops, 8 frics
> Tsimshian: 19 stops, 4 frics
> Kwakwala: 21 cons, 5 frics
> Salishan (generally): 13 stops, 7 frics
> Pima: 8 stops, 5 frics
> Ainu: 4 stops, 2 frics
> Hawaiian: 3 stops, 1 fric
> Finnish: 5 stops, 3 frics
> Comanche: 5 stops, 2 frics
> Chickasaw: 4 stops, 5 frics
> Yoeme: 5 stops, 3 frics
> Quechua: 4 stops, 4 frics
> Navajo: 8 stops, 12 frics
> Japanese: 6 stops, 2 frics
>
> Conclusion: If anything, there seem to be more stops than fricatives. Now,
> admittedly my sample is skewed because most of them are Native
> American languages spoken on the western half of the continent. But what
> can I say, I'm an Americanist and this is what I had handy. If we were to
> extend this further, I suspect the same pattern would be found. Hawaiian
> is a typical Oceanic language, and the Austronesian languages are famous
> for not having any fricatives at all.

Indeed. If you look in Maddieson 1984, you will find a better cross-
section of languages with the same results. I did a similar count, and
found that of the 317 languages surveyed by Maddieson, 18 have no
fricatives at all (I was actually looking at voiceless vs voiced
fricatives; voiceless fricatives are more common--no surprise there).

Dirk

--
Dirk Elzinga
[log in to unmask]

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