Lu=?ISO-8859-1?Q?=EDs?= Henrique scripsit:

> Yes. Still, I am not absolutely certain, but I have the feeling that a
> foreigner mispronouncing "azucar" as "asucar" would have better chances of
> being understood than a foreigner mispronouncing "think" as "sink".

Au contraire, mon ami, we  (at least in big cities) hear people saying "sink"
or "tink" for "think" all the time, and it is quite easy to understand.

> >What does a language's tonality have to do with having a tense/lax
> >distinction in its vowel inventory?  The two are entirely different:  tone
> >is a supersegmental property, while tenseness is a segmental one.
> Just that, for my personal difficulty of getting both tonality and
> tense/lax opposition, I would find it very difficult. I believe that I
> would tend to mispronounce all high pitched vowels as tense. Of course, I
> am aware that the speakers of this language would find a language without
> these features probably very difficult too.
> >You seem to be confusing two different things here: schwa is a particular
> >vowel (a particular arrangement of vocalic properties), while tenseness is
> >a possible property of vowels.
> Yes. My question is: how many different lax vowels are there in English?
> >Don't Icelandic and Danish have the voiced interdental fricative [D]?
> >Certainly, Mexican Spanish* regularly shifts intervocalic** voiced stops
> >to their fricative counterparts:
> >
> >    /abogado/ 'advocate, lawyer'  --> [aBoGaDo]
> >
> >*(This regional dialect of Spanish has close to 100 million speakers, not
> that
> >matters typologically; it does say that "most foreigners" may be a much
> smaller
> >category than you think, though)
> But is the distinction between /d/ and /D/ phonemical to them, or are they
> just allophones? This could make things even more difficult. For instance,
> Portuguese has only one post-vocalic rhotic phoneme. But it can be realized
> as almost anything, according to the regional dialect (for instance: like
> Castillian "r" in Rio Grande do Sul, like English (retroflex) in Sorocaba,
> like French "r", like Castillian "j", English "h", German "ch"). This means
> that a language that makes a phonemic opposition between post-vocalic
> retroflex /r/ and post-vocalic aspirated /h/ will be more difficult (in
> this particular issue) for a Portuguese native speaker than a language that
> has only one post-vocalic rhotic, though different from all those usual in
> Portuguese.
> >> Most of the remaining excerpts weren't written by me, but by the original
> >> poster, Danny Wier, whose ideas I was criticizing.
> >
> >I also realize this.  I didn't see the original post. Can't I criticize
> along with you?
> Certainly, I think that this is the idea. But my posting was made to tell
> that:
> 1) I don't think English is a particularly difficult language;
> 2) I don't believe that the superceding of a native language by a foreign
> one can be related to mental illness issues;
> 3) Even if 2) proved false, I don't believe English would have a stronger
> impact to people's mental health than any other language.
> So, I don't partake Danny's ideas on the matter, or, being more precise,
> the ideas Danny stated on his original posting. Perhaps I am wrong, but I
> got the feeling that you understood the opposite, and this is the reason I
> answered to your post in a perhaps too much complaining way.
> Luís Henrique

John Cowan                                   [log in to unmask]
One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore
        --Douglas Hofstadter