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Jon Cawan wabbe:


> Remember that IPA is not meant to represent every *possible*
> distinction, but only every *necessary* distinction in existent
> languages.  For example, [j] represents both the approximant
> of English "yes" and the fricative of (some kinds of) Spanish
> "yo", because no known language makes a phonemic
> distinction between these sounds.  If one were found, a
> new symbol would be introduced into IPA.

Well, in Spanish there are a few minimal pairs: "hierba" [jerBa] vs.
"yerba" [j\erBa], but then you could say that [j] is an allophony of
/i/, and as Pablo Flores had said, for him the difference is [ierBa]
vs. [SerBa].

Anyhow, both "hierba" and "yerba" come from the same word, and in some
context are interchangeable, but there are some meanings only one of
them is correct.

But most transcriptions in IPA* use just lowercase j instead of
lowercase j with curly tail.  SAMPA has also [j\] for the voiced
palatal fricative (or was X-SAMPA), but in SAMPA for Spanish they use
[jj] for that sound, as they use [rr] for the alveolar trill and [r]
for the alveolar flap, instead of respectively [r] and [4] (most IPA
transcriptions use [rr] and [r] too, instead of [r] and right hook r).

* in many dictionaries they use "y" for the voiced palatal
fricative... and some use "ay" for [e], "ee" for [i],  "oo" for [u],
etc.

-- Carlos Th
 karlos ewhenjo tomson pinson
 KORR-lose TOME-sone