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On Wednesday, March 24, 2004, at 05:54 PM, Joe wrote:

> Jonathan Knibb wrote:
[snip]

>> Rhys (the colleague in question) pronounces each one with a fully voiced
>> nasal and
>> a fully unvoiced /h/, whether following another word or not - i.e., [mh]
>> ,
>> [nh], [Nh].
>> Though not a trained phonetician, I can't hear an obvious devoiced nasal
>> segment.
>
>
> Well, from the Welsh I've heard(not much, admittedly), it definitely
> seems like [n_0_h], to me, in one phone.

It ain't intuitively a single phoneme for the Welsh, otherwise these
combos would surely be treated as separate 'letters' in their alphabet* as
are |ch|, |dd| etc. No, Rhys is typical of the Welsh I've met who regard
|mh|, |nh| and |ngh] as just that, namely /m/ + /h/, /n/ + /h/ and /N/ +
/h/.

> If it was two(and I could
> easily be wrong), the way I'd instinctively transcribe it would be [hn_0]
> .

Sorry, but in the 22 years I lived there - and on the odd visit back -
I've _never_ heard them pronounced with an aspirated onset.  My experience
bears out what Jonathan heard from Rhys: that they are [mh], [nh] and [Nh]
. I've observed no marked devoicing of the nasal any more than there is
for the /m/ of 'small' or the /n/ of 'snail'. The following /h/ will cause
some devoicing, as the initial /s/ does in the English examples.

*The letters of the Welsh alphabet are:
A, B, C, Ch, D, Dd, E, F, Ff, G, Ng, H, I, J, L, Ll, M, N, O, P, Ph, R, Rh,
  S, T, Th, U, W, Y.

Some purists don't even admit J - tho it's most Welsh people now accept as
a de_facto part of their alphabet.

Ray
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