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CONLANG  January 2014, Week 1

CONLANG January 2014, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Stupid phonetics question

From:

"J. 'Mach' Wust" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 5 Jan 2014 06:03:45 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (30 lines)

On Fri, 3 Jan 2014 12:29:08 -0800, Gary Shannon wrote:

>Empirically, and without reference to any existing theory of
>phonology, "y" can, with complete consistency, be mapped to the same
>class which includes {a, e, i, o, u, oi, ou, au, ow, aw, wi, we, ...}

Wrong. English has a few words that are sensitive to the distinction
between consonants and vowels. The most obvious is the alternation
between "a" and "an". Before vowels, it is "an" (an eel, an idea, an
ill-gotten something), before consonants, it is "a" (a keel, a muse,
a strange one). What is it before [j] and [w]? Right, it is "a" (a
youth, a use, a wood), so these sounds are in the same class as
consonants – with regard to English.


On Thu, 2 Jan 2014 20:51:29 -0800, Gary Shannon wrote:

>So if "y" and "w" could be dropped from the alphabet and their functions
>replaced by vowels, why call them consonants in the first place?

This is a very valid question. For a first answer to that question,
see above. A second, less important answer is that English (unlike
other languages) allows words such as "yield", "yiddish" besides
"eel", "ill", so if [j] is analyzed as /i/, you might end up with
ambiguous stuff such as /iiild/ /iidiʃ/ /iil/ /il/.

-- 
grüess
mach

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