On 03/01/2014 21:00, Dirk Elzinga wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 1:29 PM, Gary Shannon wrote:
>> And since my purposes differ from those of the
>> linguist I have no problem with the linguists using
>> whatever misguided system they prefer. ;-) ;-) ;-)
>> --gary
> So can we consider this your annual rant against the
> study of mouth noises?

Yes, I think we can.  It's come early this year    ;)

Gary is indeed confusing - whether deliberately to wind up
the linguists on this list or not, I don't know - the
written symbols of the modern Roman alphabet with actual
sounds produced by the human mouth.

But there also seems to be confusion in this thread between
phonetic and phonological definitions of vowel & consonant.
   Kenneth Pike coined the terms 'vocoid' and 'contoid' for
the phonetic definitions, reserving 'vowel' and 'consonant'
for phonological use.

This has been discussed several times before on this list.
Just to recap:

Vocoid ('vowel') - a sound ("mouth noise") lacking any
closure or narrowing sufficient to produce friction.
Contoid ('consonant') - a sound produced by closure or
narrowing of the vocal tract so that the airflow is either
completely blocked or so restricted as to produce audible

Vowel - a unit which functions as the center of a syllable.
Consonant - unit which functions as the margin of a
syllable, either singly or in clusters.

Usually phonetic and phonological criteria coincide, e.g.
[f] has audible friction and occurs only at the margins of
syllables.  But some sounds, those we term 'approximants'
are vocoids; they may be used phonologically either as
vowels or as consonants, depending upon the phonological
structure of the language in question.

As for written characters in traditional spelling - that
depends on the language and the writing system it is using
and, in a language like English with its bizarre spelling -
on whatever odd convention was used by your school-teacher   ;)

Now, having entered briefly into the annual rant against the
study of mouth noises, I bow out as, quite frankly, I find
it boring.

If /ni/ can change into /ɑ/, then practically
anything can change into anything.