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On Wed, Jul 21, 2004 at 10:16:31AM -0400, J. 'Mach' Wust wrote:
> You've affirmed that you've seen different phonetic transcriptions of a
> German diphthong: [O2] and [OY]. I've replied that they are meant to
> represent exactly the same sound.

Regardless of how they are intended, if the system being used is X-SAMPA
or CXS, [2] and [Y] *never* represent exactly the same sound.  People
may disagree over whether a given German vowel is closer to [2] or to
[Y]; a given phoneme may come out alternately as both [2] and [Y], and
the choice may be completely random, but they're still different sounds.

You may argue that the difference is small - and given that [Y] should be
about halfway between [2] and [y], the tongue-height distinction is
relatively slight.  But given that the difference is exactly the same
as between [I] and [e], which many languages make ([Y] is just a rounded
[I], and [2] is just a rounded [e]), the argument doesn't hold up well.
And even if you can't hear the difference, that doesn't change the fact
that it is acoustically significant and detectable by other sets of
ears (as well as instrumentation).

-Marcos