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147739Re: Brr (was: Re: A few questions about linguistics concerning my new project)

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  • Benct Philip Jonsson
    Aug 3, 2007
      R A Brown skrev:
      > ROGER MILLS wrote:
      >> I imagined that the language had evolved that way so that
      >> the people wouldn't have to open their mouths very wide in the
      >> freezing cold :-))
      > Interesting idea :)

      I once heard an Icelandic woman suggest that Icelandic
      sounds the way it does because people had to shout against
      the wind all the time!

      > -------------------------
      > Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
      > [snip]
      > > Icelandic does it with a lack of voiced stops,
      > > lots of strong aspiration and preaspiration
      > Scots Gaelic's like that also - we southerners find it quite cold up
      > there in Scotland :)

      Faroese and some western Norwegian dialects too.
      Probably an areal feature of the North Atlantic! :-)
      It is a fact that a majority of the thralls on
      viking age Iceland, and hence by the dynamics of
      slavery societies a majority of the population,
      were of Irish and Gaelic descent.

      > > and most importantly voiceless sonorants.
      > Voiceless sonorants are not too common, but are they really more
      > prevalent in languages from cold climates?

      Probably not. [K], which is arguably the 'coldest'
      sound in Icelandic, was prominent in Proto-Semitic.

      > Again one could, in order to give the language a Brr factor, construct
      > one with a vaguely Icelandic feel - but again it would, of course, be
      > completely lost on those who know nothing of Icelandic.
      > Personally I doubt very much that any phonetic or
      phonological system is
      > "cold language" per_se.

      I don't think so. Strong aspiration, prevalence of
      voiceless sounds, [K], [X] and other voiceless fricatives,
      and not least the fact that short vowels are realized
      voiceless before preaspirated stops give a positively cold
      lámatyáve. Actually Icelandic would sound even colder
      if it also lacked voiced fricatives and sonorants!

      > To give the language a Brr factor, one surely
      > needs to have its literary texts dealing quite a bit with its snowy, icy
      > environment in which the language is spoken.

      That helps, certainly.

      > > --
      > > Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
      > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      > > a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot
      > > (Max Weinreich)
      > So Basque iz a dialekt von voss?

      It has ETA and a fishing fleet! :-)

      /BP 8^)>
      Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
      No man forgets his original trade: the rights of
      nations and of kings sink into questions of grammar,
      if grammarians discuss them.
      -Dr. Samuel Johnson (1707 - 1784)
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