dirk elzinga wrote:

> On Wed, 8 Sep 1999, Tom Wier wrote:
> >
> > Semivowels are what phoneticians call "glides":  they obstruct the
> > airflow very slightly in the process of "gliding" from one vowel's
> > place of articulation to the next, and as such, are classfied as
> > consonants (since the fundamental difference between consonants
> > and vowels is that consonants, to varying degrees, obstruct the
> > air flow, and vowels don't; it's just a matter of terminology).
> Glides don't obstruct airflow any more than the corresponding vowels;
> they just have consonantal rather than vocalic function.

I notice a distinct constriction in airflow in /w/ in my speech, more so
than the corresponding vowel /u/.  In the former there is almost complete
but not quite total closure of the lips (and also not so much as to produce
much frication), while in the latter, the lips are certainly rounded, but not as
closed as /w/.  There is a similar difference for me between /j/ and /i/, and in the
voiceless version of both of these semivowels, there also is noticeably more
frication.  So, for me, it's certainly the case that there's airflow obstruction.
But I apologize if I seemed like I was speaking for all dialects;  I certainly
can't. But I have to go on with what I know, which is often limited to my

Tom Wier <[log in to unmask]>
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