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Tracheal consoants: more

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  • Fran├žois CHAUVET
    My intent was certainly not to use some medical reason as a justification for a particuler articulation. I just wanted to verify that my _own_ particular
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 2, 2005
      My intent was certainly not to use some medical reason as a justification
      for a particuler articulation. I just wanted to verify that my _own_
      particular articulation of French was not an obstacle to comprehension
      and phonetic analysis.

      As for vowels, the "less rounded" IPA symbol (CXS [_c]) is OK; I'm so
      used to consider rounded/unrounded as a yes/no opposition that it did
      not even occur to me. And these diacritics are in a small table, at the
      end of the IPA document...
      Nevertheless, I do not use both , e.g. a close_mid back rounded [o] and
      its "less rounded" counterpart [o_c]. So this kind of notation would be
      used only to give a precise description of my own pronunciation.

      Now to consonants. The "tracheal" consonants I refer to are indeed very
      similar to epiglottals -- but not quite the same (and, of course, have
      little to do with coughing, just try to use a cough as a phonemic
      entity, e.g. between two wowels...).
      It is easy to find sound records of epiglottals by googling. These give
      a good idea of what I mean. I also found a deep analysis of epiglottals
      in Amis (http://ling.uta.edu/~jerry/amisf.pdf), from which it results
      that such consonants are a pure nightmare to phonetists.
      The paper mentions that Amis has in fact (as a phoneme!) a complex
      assembly [?\ >\ _h], all thre co-articulated! The pictures of the pharynx
      and larynx nor the spectrograms are of much help to non-specialists.

      I still feel that my "tracheals" come from deeper than the epiglottis,
      because I can feel the "tracheostomic membrane" vibrate when I emit them.
      Moreover, in the "voiced" versions, the vocal chords seem to enter in
      vibration a few milliseconds later (but of course I would need a signal
      analyzer to check that).
      Of course, I have medical reasons for that. But I wondered, as all of
      you who answered my post, if _these_ sounds could be "natural" ones in a
      natlang. It turns out to be the case, although uncommon.

      And I don't think people who use such sounds have a different throat or
      epiglottis. They just developed ease with these articulations when young
      (between 3 and 5 AFAIK); this is why I can't utter proper Arabic, while
      my Arab friends just play about with the whole bunch of pharyngeals and
      glottals their language uses. Had I learned Arabic vhen a child, I would
      have no such difficulty whatsoever.

      Now, if these sounds seem unbeautiful or unpleasant to you, you probably
      don't consider Arabic (e.g.) a pleasant language. That's up to you, and
      then you should learn Esperanto or one of its offsprings; even Lojban is
      smoother in this respect. But I can assure you that having the throat
      cut down to the pharynx and the trachea directly open to exterior
      atmosphere is a still more unpleasant experience... :-)

      Thank you all for your contributions.

      -- fchauvet
    • Joseph Bridwell
      ... Thanks for the reference. ... When I began studying linguistics, it was assumed that normal children are born wit the ability to make any of the sounds
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 3, 2005
        > in Amis (http://ling.uta.edu/~jerry/amisf.pdf)

        Thanks for the reference.

        > And I don't think people who use such sounds
        > have a different throat or epiglottis. They
        > just developed ease with these articulations
        > when young (between 3 and 5 AFAIK); this is
        > why I can't utter proper Arabic, while my Arab
        > friends just play about with the whole bunch
        > of pharyngeals and glottals their language uses.
        > Had I learned Arabic vhen a child, I would have
        > no such difficulty whatsoever.

        When I began studying linguistics, it was assumed that "normal"
        children are born wit the ability to make any of the sounds found in
        any human language - a tabla rasa, if you will. While learning to
        hear & speak his/her L1, certain neural paths are enforced while
        others are neglected (not necessarily permanently), so some sounds
        are "lost" to that person.

        > Now, if these sounds seem unbeautiful or unpleasant to you

        Hmm, Though I have prejudices for certain sounds in my conlangs, I
        perceive any sounds as pleasant/unpleasant, etc.
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