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Dirk Elzinga, On 05/08/2007 14:51:
> On 8/4/07, Joseph Fatula <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>    (I keep having these sorts of questions...)
>>
>>    Here we'll talk about a language that has 32 possible syllables,
>> phonetically.  There are basically 16 phonetic realizations of
>> consonants, and 8 phonetic vowels.
>>
>>    I could analyze this as a language with only 2 vowels that have
>> allophones based on the preceding consonant, in which case there are 8
>> consonants, or I could describe this as a language with 8 vowels and
>> only 4 consonants, which have allophones based on the following vowel.
>> Which is it?  How can I tell?
>>
>>    The syllables are as follows, orthographical first, then XSAMPA:
>>
>>      "pa fa ma va - te se ne re - či ši ñi li - qu xu Å?u wo"
>>      "pâ fâ mâ vâ - tê sê nê rê - tî šî nî rî - kû hû Å?û wû"
>>
>>      [pa fa ma Ba - te se ne 4e - cCi Si Ji Li - qu xu Nu wo]
>>      [p6 f6 m6 B6 - t@ s@ n@ 4@ - tI SI nI 4I - kU hU NU wU]
> 
> If these really are the only CV combinations possible, then I suggest
> a more radical approach: no phonemes, but rather syllabemes. That is,
> each allowed CV combination is a distinct unit of the speech stream,
> roughly analogous to a segment. Apportioning features to the
> appropriate position within each syllabeme is a matter of phonetic
> implementation, and it wouldn't be hard to come up with such
> implementation principles. For example, [-cont] would precede [+low],
> not because there is a /p/ phoneme that precedes an /a/ phoneme, but
> because the phonetic cues for [-cont] are best perceived when
> preceding [+low].
> 
> And had done something similar with Livagian (if I am remembering his
> description correctly), though I don't know what the current state of
> L's phonology is now. I think it's an idea worth pursuing.

Dirk is right, in that Livagian formerly had the 'syllabeme' as the basic unit of phonology, defined as the minimal combinatorially unrestricted elements. Morphemes, then, were composed of syllabemes. 

Livagian has since departed from that scheme, though, my principled views about how the phonology ought to work having been overridden by my intuitions about how the phonology actually does work. Livagian now has phonemes but no syllables (-- it still has peaks and troughs of sonority, but all syntagmatic phonological generalizations involve simple contiguity of segments). 

--And.