From: "Emily Zilch" <emily0@...>

> HA HA HA, I hoped we wouldn't hit this topic. I've got a problem with
> "emphatic series" because the first time I encountered them was in....
> Korean. Now Korean emphatic consonants are such a source of constant
> combat between linguists about their actual phonetic realisation that I
> have NO idea how to characterise them. They seem to be "messy"
> glottalics to me (starting just before the stop and passing through it)
> because you tense before the stop is made and "hold" it as a double
> consonant as well.

Considering Korean is spoken by so many millions, and it's the language of
two republics and one of the world's largest cities, I can't believe they
can't decide on how 'tense' consonants are pronounced. We had a native
Korean speaker on the list years ago, and I can't remember her name, but she
said something about these being pronounced with glottal tension but not
ejectivity, and that these consonants may also be voiced. These consonants
do correspond to Middle Chinese voiced aspirates, by the way.

> I also usually - but not always - back qo:f as per most modern
> Boreo-Afrasian langs. Korean does NOT back its emphatic k, and there is
> a separate series for most Mayan languages, which were my SECOND
> exposure to emphatics [i.e. k k' q q'].

What was your first? For me it was Georgian, which has p>, t>, ts>, tS>, k>,
k>w, q> and q>w (one dialect, or one in another Kartvelian language, might
also have a palatized version of ts>, but I don't know for sure). My second
exposure was either to Hausa, Amharic or Navajo, but I don't remember.

I'm a believer in the 'glottalic theory' of Proto-Indo-European as
postulated by Gamqrelidze and Ivanov, myself, even though the only modern IE
languages with ejectives are Ossetian and a local form of Eastern Armenian;
those can be better attributed to Caucasian influence, however.

> I try to use ejectives, but they HARD, man.

You'll hate Tech then. (I'm redoing the page on it right now.) And I still
can't get /p>/ right. You don't want to overdo ejectivity too much, and
these consonants tend to also sound half-voiced. In fact, non-ejective
voiceless consonants are often aspirated to further distinguish them from
ejectives - this is true at least of Georgian and Navajo (the latter has
plain voiceless stops and affricates, not voiced).