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Thank you. I've started my first a priori conlang (nameless at present) and the consonant inventory contains paired (voiced/voiceless) consonants, each of which can be palatalized and labialized. Your information has enabled me to include  ʅ/ʒ (and ʧ/ʤ as well?). I probably won't be able to hear the difference, but the native speakers will be able to.
Charlie


----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sat, 09 Feb 2019 15:37:16 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: /ʃ/ and /ʃʲ/

On Sat, Feb 09, 2019 at 03:17:14PM -0500, C. Brickner wrote:
>Hi!Is there a difference between /ʃ/ and /ʃʲ/? I have difficulty in hearing a difference. Are they phonemic in any language?Thanks.Charlie

Udmurt definitely distinguishes between two different series of phonemes 
that in their traditional realizations both closely resemble [ʃ] to the 
English-speaking ear (I still have trouble distinguishing them), 
although I would have transcribed them as [ʃ] and [ɕ] (or perhaps [ʂ] 
and [ɕ]). 

At the end of the day, whether such a language has /ɕ/ or /ʃʲ/ is going 
to depend very heavily on the specifics of the language's entire 
phonological system, such as whether, for instance, the sound in 
question patterns with a series of other palatalized consonants. In 
Udmurt, I suspect (although I am not an expert on Udmurt by any means) 
that you could make a case for transcribing the phoneme traditionally 
realized as [ɕ] as either /sʲ/ (since there is a series of palatalized 
alveolars that it would fall nicely into) or /ʃʲ/ (because there are 
affricates [tʃ dʒ] and [tɕ dʑ], but no [ts dz] in native words).

So the short answer, I guess, is that yes, it's definitely possible, 
although anglophones are going to have trouble hearing the difference at 
first. 

 - kechpaja -