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Ray:
> >Note that I don't know what
> >the relevant issues are. (Like, I don't know what the phoneme inventory &
> >phonotactics are.)
>
> The phoneme inventory is controversial.
>
> Do the palatals ( {q}, {j}, {x}; SAMPA [ts\_h], [ts\], [s\] ) form a
> separate set of phonemes?  They occur only before [i] and [y], and
> diphthongs & triphthongs beginning with the corresponding semivowels.
>
> On the other hand, the dental series ({c}, {z}, {s}; [ts_h], [ts], [s]),
> the retroflex series ({ch}, {zh}, {sh}; [ts`_h], [ts`], [s`]) and the velar
> series ({k}, {g}, {h}; [k_h], [k], [x]) occur before all vowels, diphthongs
> & triphthongs _except_ those beginning with [i], [y], [j] or [H].
>
> If the palatals are allophones of one of the three series in the preceeding
> paragraph, of which of the three series are they allophones?

From your description alone, it sounds as though there's a phonemic
neutralization, a 3-way collapse of contrast. That seems right phonology
(considering only the above data) but does not help towards an orthographic
representation.

--And.