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Christophe Grandsire sikyal:

> En réponse à JS Bangs :
>
>
> >Non. We regard [tS] as a single sound *in English* because it behaves as
> >such--you can begin a word with it where you can't other begin a word with
> >stop + fricative, and other things. In other languages this is not
> >necessarily true: German has [tS] sounds, but such is not a single phoneme
> >because it patterns as a cluster. Some languages, such as Polish, can
> >actually contrast the two: [t_S] is a single phonemes, but [tS] is a
> >cluster.
>
> There *are* acoustic differences between [t_S] and [tS], regardless of
> whether the language actually contrast the two or not.

Yes, of course. Even English can have such a distinction, as in the "catch
it" v. "cat shit" discussion we were having earlier.

> >There's no reason that [ks] couldn't be monophonemic in some other
> >language, but it certainly isn't in English. Monophonemic clusters at
> >different places of articulation are rare, but not unheard-of, and my
> >conlang Hiksilipsi uses /ks/ and /ps/ as single phonemes. In English [nd],
> >[mb], [Ng] are clusters, but many African languages treat them as units.
>
> Which is not surprising seen that they are at a single PoA!!! [m] and [b]
> are labial, [n] and [d] can be both dental or alveolar, and [N] and [g] are
> velar, and in both cases the whole thing is completely voiced. So it's not
> surprising that prenasalised consonants are single phonemes. Note, here
> again, that they are different from the English equivalent clusters,
> acoustically speaking. The English [mb] is two phones behind each other.
> The [mb] as found in some African languages is a single phone with the
> nasal airstream lasting only for part of the duration of the phone (don't
> forget [m] is really just [b] with nasal airstream).

Um, I'm not sure of this. I can hear an acoustic difference between [tS]
and [t_S], but none between supposed [mb] and [m_b]. But I could be wrong.

> On the other hand, you can never have a single *[p_s] phone. It involves
> much too many changes of PoA and movements in the mouth to be realised
> within the duration of a single phone. So [ps] is acoustically always a
> cluster.

Of course. I didn't mean to say that [p_s] could ever be an affricate--but
it could be a single phon*eme*. As Thomas Weir said, Georgian languages
have "harmonic clusters" that are arguably single phonemes and have
priveleged occurrence, etc.

> Of course, that doesn't prevent some languages (Greek for instance) to
> treat it as a single entity, but this is *not* a proof that there is no
> difference between affricates and clusters (or between prenasalised
> consonants and clusters, for that matter) apart from how they map in a
> certain language. There is an acoustical difference between the two,
> independently of the language. What is done afterwards at the phonemic
> level is language-dependent of course.

(I would say "what is done *beforehand* at the phonemic level", but
whatever.) I only disagree with your example of Greek as a language in
which [ps] is a single phoneme. It's a single *letter*, to be sure, but I
don't see how or why it is a single phoneme.


Jesse S. Bangs [log in to unmask]
http://students.washington.edu/jaspax/
http://students.washington.edu/jaspax/blog

Jesus asked them, "Who do you say that I am?"

And they answered, "You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground
of our being, the kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our
interpersonal relationship."

And Jesus said, "What?"