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On Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 3:03 AM, J. 'Mach' Wust
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On Fri, 3 Jan 2014 12:29:08 -0800, Gary Shannon wrote:
>
>>Empirically, and without reference to any existing theory of
>>phonology, "y" can, with complete consistency, be mapped to the same
>>class which includes {a, e, i, o, u, oi, ou, au, ow, aw, wi, we, ...}
>
> Wrong. English has a few words that are sensitive to the distinction
> between consonants and vowels. The most obvious is the alternation
> between "a" and "an". Before vowels, it is "an" (an eel, an idea, an
> ill-gotten something), before consonants, it is "a" (a keel, a muse,
> a strange one). What is it before [j] and [w]? Right, it is "a" (a
> youth, a use, a wood), so these sounds are in the same class as
> consonants  with regard to English.

And that makes "h" a vowel then. This aN Historic occasion!

That's an English-specific convention, just like "a youthful lad"
instead of "an youthful lad". What I'm trying to do is not to describe
English usage of vowels and consonants, but to come up with a general
system of pronounceability for coining non-English conlang words. I
find no objection with a conlang using a sound sequence like "an
youth" CaN You see what I'm driving at here?

I'm thinking of one of my favorite books _Grammar as Science_ (Richard
Larson) wherein is developed a systematic, consistent grammar that is
a thing a beauty. And that grammar is also utterly different from what
tradition told us an English grammar looks like. There's no problem
with ignoring traditional or convention when it's arbitrary to begin
with.

So if I call "y" a vowel then I'm obviously not talking about English
phonology any more. But it still looks to me like everything I've said
is consistent for a workable system of pronounceability.

--gary