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610Re: _hy_ in Quenya (and the IPA)

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  • Arden R. Smith
    Jan 10, 2004
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      Ales Bican wrote:

      >**According to Ian Maddieson and Peter Ladefoged (_The
      >Sounds of the World's Languages_ (2002, first published in
      >1996) Tolkien described two different sounds: "The onset
      >in [English _hue_] is normally a voiceless palatal approximant,
      >_j_ [written with an underposed circle], for which the IPA
      >has no unitary symbol." (326).

      Then there's disagreement among phoneticians as to what sound the
      initial segment of _hue_ really is. I've already mentioned Pullum
      and Ladusaw's statement from 1986. Furthermore, William G. Moulton
      says the following in his _The Sounds of English and German_ (Chicago
      and London: University of Chicago Press, 1962), p. 29:

      "The initial /h-/ of English /'hju/ _hue_, _Hugh_ [...] is pronounced
      by many Americans as a [ç] with rather wide opening."

      My point here is this: If *phoneticians* can't agree what sound
      appears at the beginning of _hue_, then the distinction between these
      two sounds must be so minuscule that it is of no practical
      consequence. So you can go ahead and pronounce _hyarmen_ with a
      voiceless palatal approximant, and I'll go on pronouncing it with a
      voiceless palatal fricative, and no one will notice the difference.

      >By the way, could you give me (us) a list of some languages that are
      >mentioned in "your" book? "My" book only mentions (with a reference
      >to "your" book) that less than 5% of the world's languages include
      >the voiceless palatal fricative in their inventory.

      I'm guessing that even fewer languages have a voiceless palatal approximant.

      _Patterns of Sounds_ (p. 231) lists the following languages as having
      the voiceless palatal fricative: Irish, Norwegian, Bengali, Komi,
      Margi, Mandarin, Kan, Haida, Kwakw'ala, Paez, and possibly Chuvash.
      Two things must be borne in mind: (1) This book discusses the
      *phonologies* of the various languages, so only phonemes are treated
      here, hence the absence of German (in which Maddieson regards [ç] as
      an allophone of /x/); (2) The lists are by no means exhaustive (for
      example, the only Germanic languages included are German and
      Norwegian).

      --
      *********************************************************************
      Arden R. Smith erilaz@...

      Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
      --Elvish proverb
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