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Gary Shannon wrote:

>--- Tim May <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>
>>Gary Shannon wrote at 2004-04-09 18:02:14 (-0700)
>>
>>
><snip>
>
>
>
>> > Two people walk into a restaurant.  One orders
>>"frahd chikin pleez"
>> > and the other orders "vroit jigun pliss" and the
>>both get the same
>> > meal delivered to their table.  The power of
>>language lies in the
>> > fact that nuances of mouth noises are utterly
>>irrelevant, so why
>> > are so many people seemingly obsessed with
>>something so irrelevant?
>>
>>
><snip>
>
>
>>Pronunciation nearly irrelevant to communication?
>>Obviously untrue.
>>Pronunciation is the _only_ thing distinguishing one
>>utterance - out
>>of context - from another.  If your restaurant-goers
>>had pronounced
>>their order as "The president of Chile has been
>>assassinated" then
>>they would hardly have been understood.  But there
>>is no difference
>>other than the sequence of sounds produced by the
>>speaker.
>>
>>
>
>Granted. But I was really wondering about the endless
>discussions over differences that do NOT matter.
>Certainly there are differences that are far enough
>from the norm that they lose all meaning, and
>differences so far from the norm that they take on
>completely different meanings.  But that's a whole
>different subject.
>
>It seems to me that it is sufficient for any given
>language to define the range of acceptable phonetic
>values for a given meaning and leave it at that.  I
>doubt anyone would mistake my meaning if I talked
>about Captain Kirk's run in with "Tlingon high
>command."  In English "Klingon" and "Tlingon" are
>interchangable.
>
>

Actually, 'Tlingon' would be a more accurate rendition of the original
Klingon  (tlhIngan);-).