131758"Tracheal" consonants: a curiosity?
- Jun 1, 2005Hello,
I was designing the phonetic inventory for a Conlang (no name yet), which
I wished would
correspond to my (somewhat) unarticulated natural voice (in fact, I can
speak French almost
without moving my lips). This is how I speak, and microphones are no help:
they just amplify
what does not exist.
So, I chose to have "semi-rounded" vowels (easy, although I don't know of
any IPA symbol for
them). As for consonants, I kept bilabials because they are very primary
sound, but moved
alveaolars back to retroflexes, and velars back to uvulars. I hesitated
while I have many Arab friends who pronounce them without difficulty, I
never could; but I
kept them as a possibility (maybe dialectal?). And that was OK, with a bit
(BTW, I also envisioned accepting clicks, which are not that difficult --
but that would
have made a huge phonetic inventory).
But then came a car crash (BTW, never ever forget to fasten your seat
belt). I had my whole
oesophagus and stomach removed, my pharynx was shortened, and I had to use
canula to breathe, during over 8 months. Now I'm all right, thanks.
But the opening in my trachea is not yet closed. There is a thin skin over
it, which will
take several months to re-become plain skin.
The consequences of it are (1) pharyngeals are well beyond my reach, and
(2) I can now
articulate what I call "tracheal consonants" -- namely a plosive which I
could denote by
[q\\] and a fricative which I could denote by [X\\]. Both are unvoiced,
but since the vocal
chords were left untouched, there is still some air left to make a voiced
version of these
(although much less voiced than a real pulmonar voiced consonant).
I'm trying to make some record (MP3 or other) of these sounds; but I don't
like my voice on
record (It is at least half an octave higher-pitched than what I can hear
through the sull
bones). Since it is obviously difficult to find someone having had the
same surgery AND
interested in conlanging...
Now, is this a pure curiosity? Are there any natlangs with such
consonants? These do
resemble glottals, but aren't: can they be considered allophones, e.g.
[q\\] as allophone of
[?]? The medics don't understand why I seem so interested in producing
such "noises" (I must
admit they sound like eructation when improperly pronounced). How
far "back in the throat"
is it possible to utter some "reasonable" consonant?
Thank you for any advice.
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