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At 3:41 pm -0400 1/5/02, Javier BF wrote:
>>Yes, yes - but not all the 317 languages have the same importance, not all
>>have roughly the same number of speakers.  To base arguments on raw
>>statistics taken from the 317 languages is at best fairly meaningless, at
>>worst misleading.  We must take the numbers of actual speakers into
>>acoount.  To give, say, Chinese the same statistical value as !Xu is just
>>barmy.
>
>If you want a language to be "as neutral as possible", you
>shouldn't consider that much that there are languages "more
>important" than others.

But, that is precisely what you are doing!   By taking into account only
these 317 languages are you not implying that they are 'more important'
than the several hundreds other languages spoken on our planet?

Also by apparently giving all these 317 languages equal weighting, are you
not making the value judgment that they are all of "equal importance"?

I did not say "more important" - please do *not* attribute value judgments
to me which I did not make.  I'm speaking of _human beings_, the people who
actually use language day by day.  I'm merely relating to the uncomfortable
_fact_ that millions of more people speak certaon languages than speak
others.

I was under the impression that constructors of IALs aimed at the 'maximum
ease' for the greatest number.  But I guess I've got that wrong also.

[snip]
>>
>>{sigh} it is going to cause a lot less upset for, say, Hawaians learning to
>>pronounce [x], than it is to get all the Chinese to pronounced a trilled
>>/r/.
>
>Haven't you notice Chinese DOES have a rhotic sound in their
>inventory?

Good grief!  Retroflex _vowels_ and apical trilled _consonants_ are not the
same thing.  Simply to pluck the label "rhotic", which is a pretty vague
term IMHO, out of the air and apply it to two different phenomena does not
make them the same!

>It's the vowel sound spelled in Pinyin as "er".

I'm well aware of that!  We seem to be in the patronizing season on this
list at the moment.

[snip]

>And, as I said, the trill would just be the "ideal"
>pronounciation; for /r/ any rhotic (including that Chinese
>"er") will do as long as you make clear the difference with
>/l/ and /d/.

Any rhotic?  Does that cover the Parisian uvular approximant, the trilled
uvular still occasionally heardin France and found in parts of north Wales,
e.g. and the Chinese sound denoted by {r} in Pinyin, i.e. [z`]?

Ray.


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