At 2:57 pm -0500 29/1/00, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Raymond Brown wrote:
>> Personally, I don't think there is a hard and fast division between
>> fricatives & approximants - just two extremes: no friction on the far
>> approximant 'left' through to very rasping friction on the fricative
>> 'right', so to speak, with many (possibly most) sounds falling somewhere
>> between.

...which, I think you'd agree, makes it all the more strange that I was
told (not by you!) that what I called a voiceless fricative was *not* a
voicless fricative but a voiceless approximant!  I said it looked like an
annoying silly semantic quibble.

>So, if there's no rigid distinction, why not use "approximate"
>for "none to very little friction".

Sorry - I'm confused.

Are you proposing a third category:
approximant = continuant with no friction at all
approximate = continuant with little or no friction
fricative = continuant with marked friction

FWIW I have no objection to [j_0] being described as a devoiced or unvoiced
approximant.  It could be helpful in some descriptions.  But does this
sound ever occur with discrete phonemic status?

I guess since one can speak of 'voicless vowels', as some do, I suppose
'voiceless approximants' are just as logical.

I certainly don't want to get into a fruitless argument about whether [j_0]
is a devoiced approximant, voiceless approximant, 'whispered' approximant
or whatever.   It looks to me as tho, in fact, we are basically in


A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
                   [J.G. Hamann 1760]