Great work, Kapitano. The descriptions of phonologies that I found on
the web were all amateurish and vague: "Like English EE, but with the
rounded lips and tongue pulled back somewhat"... that sort of thing.
I have a few comments on the descriptions of German (the only of
these languages that I know) and Swedish, but they're likely to be
irrelevant to our purposes.
> These are the phonologies of the 'Big 4' germanic
> languages: German, Dutch, Danish, and Sweedish.
> Transcription is in SAMPA format.
> Plosives: p b t d k g ?
Probably most speakers won't recognise [?] as a phoneme; they'll
think of it as morphological delimiter (as in 'beenden' /b@'?End@n/).
This makes it distinct from (Estuary) English and Danish [?], which
is clearly perceived as an allophone of various plosives.
> Affricates: pf ts tS dZ
> Fricatives: f v s z S Z C x h
I think /dZ/ and /Z/ only occur in foreign (or at least semi-foreign)
words, and a lot of speakers substitute /tS/ and /S/ for them.
Are /x/ and /C/ (the ich- and ach-lauts) really separate phonemes?
I'd have thought they were positional variants of each other.
> Nasals: m n N
> Lateral: l
> Rhotic: R r 6
These are regional/dialect variants of the same phoneme, I think.
Standard German has [inverted R] (is that ?). Post-vocally, this
tends to be reduced to a kind of schwa (not too far from En [V], and
distinct from the other German schwa [@]) or lost altogether.
> Semivowel: j
> I i:
> E E: e:
> a a:
> O o:
> U u:
> Y y:
> 9 2:
The pronunciation of long A-umlaut as [E:] is rather "fine", I think.
Most speakers merge this sound with long E [e:].
Unstressed -ER is normally something like [V] or [inverse a], and
clearly distinct from [@] and [a]
Plus a bunch more if we look at non-rhotic Rs.
A note on Swedish. My sources tell me that many speakers use [tS] for
[C] (graphically, KJ).