MANY thanks.

I searched and searched for what the brackets indicated, but couldn't seem to find where they indicated allophones. Great explanation on allophones, too. Thoroughly unconfused now! :)


--- On Mon, 7/13/09, Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Typological sins (WAS: Re: [CONLANG] phonology, critique pls)
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Monday, July 13, 2009, 10:46 PM
> On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 10:40 PM,
> Lee<[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > OK, now I am totally confused.... [sigh] I thought the
> CXL (et al) symbols represented the sounds. If not, then why
> bother using CXL?
> Both phonemic and phonetic transcriptions represent
> "sounds", but they
> do so at a different level of detail.
> If we're talking about English, for instance, it has a
> single phoneme
> customarily written /t/.  But if you look at the
> various sounds that
> native English-speakers actually emit when allegedly
> pronouncing a
> /t/, and the various sounds that all sound like a /t/ to
> the native
> English-speaker's ear (overlapping but not entirely
> identical sets),
> you find a wide variety.  In My 'Lect:
> "toe" starts with a [t_h], aspirated.
> "fat" ends with a [t_}] (unreleased) or  a [?]
> (glottal stop),
> depending on how fast I'm talking.
> "butter" has a [4] in the middle, like an unrolled Spanish
> /r/;
> And so on.  Note that none of the above is actually
> [t] even though
> the phoneme is written /t/.
> This sort of variety is true of every speaker of every
> language.  The
> phonology of the language determines how sounds are
> logically carved
> up - differences between phonemes result in differences in
> meaning.
> The different phonetic segments ("phones") that correspond
> to the same
> phoneme are called "allophones" of that phoneme, and the
> difference
> between them doesn't affect meaning: if I pronounce "fat"
> such that it
> ends with a strongly-aspirated and released [t_h], it still
> means the
> same thing.  (Though aspiration in English is
> quasi-phonemic, as it is
> part of the difference between the voiced/unvoiced stop
> pairs; if I
> pronounced "toe" without aspiration you might hear it as
> "doe".)
> Generally, when transcribing something for its meaning, you
> use
> phonemic transcription, because it gets tedious to
> transcribe all the
> phonetic detail, and the different transcriptions of "the
> same sound"
> get confusing.  But detailed transcriptions are
> important when
> analyzing the phonology of a language, discussing
> dialectical
> differences within a language, working in speech pathology,
> etc.
> [Note, however, that different dialects of "the same
> language" might
> differ even at the phonemic level, as we demonstrate all
> the time on
> our Yet Another English Pronunciation Threads.  For
> instance, some
> varieties of English (including the Received Pronunciation)
> have /a/
> and /O/ as distinct phonemes, while in other varieties
> (including
> General American English) they've merged.]
> The actual symbols used for phonemes are meant to be
> representative,
> and usually the most common or simplest (fewest diacritics)
> allophone
> is elected.  But all IPA/CXS/etc symbols cover a range
> of sounds, so
> the correspondence is inexact at best.  And in many
> cases a particular
> variety of some language will not even have any allophones
> for a given
> phoneme that are in the range covered by the conventional
> symbol for
> that phoneme.  For instance, my English /V/ is not
> [V]; it's closer to
> [3]. Those varieties that have /a/ and /O/ don't
> necessarily realize
> them as [a] and [O] - they might be [A] and [Q] or
> something else
> entirely.
> -- 
> Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]>