En réponse à Christopher B Wright <[log in to unmask]>: > And Rosta sekalge: > >It is quite possible for a language to contrast (say) [l] and [r] > >yet for no /l/:/r/ contrast to be reported. For instance, [l] or > >[r] might be a realization of /d/. > > You've lost me with startling ease. Would you please explain the last > sentence, using small words that I'll be sure to understand? > And was referring to phonetic contrast as opposed to phonetic contrast (I suppose you know the difference). You could have a language which, say, has the phoneme /l/ (with phonetic realisation [l]), but not the phoneme /r/. Still, in some conditions (like intervocalically, like /t/ in some American English dialects) this language could have [r] as a realisation of the phoneme /d/. So for instance you could have two words /palo/ and /pado/ which would be pronounced [palo] and [paro]. So you would have phonetically a contrast between [l] and [r], but phonemically it would be a contrast between /l/ and /d/, and since the speakers don't have a *phoneme* /r/, they wouldn't realise that this [r] is different from the normal [d] realisation of /d/ (just like the common Castillian doesn't realise that he pronounces two different sounds for the two /d/ in /dedo/: finger - pronounced [deDo] -), and thus would have it difficult to learn to recognise it and even pronounce it willingly (just like they would find it difficult to learn to pronounce [d] correctly between vowels). Well, I can't explain this better than that. I hope you'll understand (if you understand the difference between phonemic and phonetic representations, you're saved :)) ). Christophe. http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.