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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

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