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Re: Pronunciation and writing of _r_ in Quenya

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  • Ales Bican
    ... **As I am very interested in these matters (indeed I have spent a lot of time thinking about Quenya phonetics and phonology recently), is it possible for
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 5, 2004
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      Helios De Rosario Martinez wrote:

      >I skip the discussion on the variants _rd_, _ry_, _hr_ and _rr_, and
      >go directly to the controversial item: the duality of the pronunciation and
      >spelling of the single _r_.

      **As I am very interested in these matters (indeed I have spent
      a lot of time thinking about Quenya phonetics and phonology
      recently), is it possible for you to share your insights with
      us (or me off-list if need be)?

      >We found the main information in the Appendix E:
      >
      >"R represents a trilled _r_ in all positions; the sound was not lost
      >before consonants (as in English _part_)." (LR:1088)

      **As far as I can say, these can mean basically two things: (1) by
      "trilled" Tolkien wanted to stress that Quenya _r_ is not mute and
      is pronounced in each and every position unlike English _r_ (as is
      after all suggested by the second part of the sentence) or, and which
      I find more likely, (2) Quenya _r_ is indeed trilled in all positions
      and (though this is not necessirily implied from the sentence) that
      Quenya _r_ is different to English _r_.

      >"[Óre] was often used for a weak (untrilled) _r_, originally occurring
      >in Quenya and regarded in the system of that language as the weakest
      >consonant of the _tincotéma_." (LR:1094)

      **Unlike Edouard Kloczko, I would read this in such a sense
      that Quenya (as distinguished from CE or PQ) had originally
      two types of _r_'s but later (in, say, Exilic Quenya) only one
      was prevalent.

      >"[Rómen] (in origin a modification of [óre]) was used for 'full'
      >trilled _r_" (LR:1095)

      [snip]

      >So, we may infer that when Fëanor invented the _tengwar_ there were
      >a weak untrilled and a full trilled _r_, clearly different, but in
      >later stages there was only one trilled phoneme.

      **I would like to note that it is not certain whether the
      original tengwar as devised by Feanor really had two
      characters for different _r_'s. What I want to say is that
      <rómen> could have been introduced by later loremasters.

      >The phonemes we are dealing with must be the trilled, tap and
      >approximant alveolars. If we take the literal meaning of the
      >citations, we learn that the phoneme the of _r_ in Third Age was the
      >alveolar trilled, as well as the original sound of _rómen_; and that
      >the original sound of _óre_ should be tap or approximant. We found the
      >approximant a likelier option, since the other _tengwar_ of the sixth
      >grade also represented Quenya approximants (_anna_ == /j/, and _wilya_
      >== /w/).

      **First of all, we do not know whether the rhotics (the _r_ sounds)
      you mention as possible (i.e. a trill, tap and approximant) are really
      alveolar. The contact point or place of approximation (in case of the
      approximant) may also be the dental region, which may be even more
      probable, because _r_ is listed as one of dentals when Tolkien
      mentioned which sounds were permitted word-finally (see Letters
      no. 347), though 'dental' in this case could be just a label that
      unites all these sounds.

      As regards the identity of Quenya _r_, I agree that we must think
      of only (voiced) dental/alveolar trill, tap/flap and approximant.
      All of them most likely apical (contact/approximation made with
      the tip of the tongue).

      I think it would be good to explain what trill, tap/flap and
      approximant rhotics are.

      Trills involve vibration of some articulator which is most often
      the tip of the tongue. The tongue tip is vibrating against a contact
      point in the dental/alveolar region. Trills usually consist of two
      or three periods of vibration.

      Taps (also called flaps, though some authors distinguish between
      taps and flaps) are those rhotic sounds that have only a single
      short closure. They typically involve a direct movement of the
      tongue tip to a contact location in the dental or alveolar region.

      Approximant _r_'s are those rhotics that do not involve contact
      between articulators but only approximation between them. In case
      of e.g. apical dental/alveolar approximant this means that the tip
      of the tongue makes approximation toward the dental/alveolar
      region but makes no contact. Note that this approximation is
      not accompanied by friction (friction is involved in fricative
      _r_'s).

      Now an apical trill occurs in Peninsular Spanish, Finnish and
      Italian (inter alia). A tap occurs in Spanish (usually described
      as dental) or in American English (a different type of tap -- if
      a distinction between tap and flap is maintained, the AE variety
      is rather a flap). Finally, an (alveolar) approximant rhotic is
      typical of Southern British English.

      Let me note that the above information is taken from a book
      called _The Sounds of the World's Languages_ by Peter
      Ladefoged and Ian Maddieson (1996). Another piece of
      information relevant for the present discussion is the fact that
      in Spanish a "weak" _r_ (i.e. the tap) occurs word-finally
      while a trilled _r_ (i.e. the trill) occurs word-initially and
      sometimes intervocalically where it sometimes stands in
      opposition with the tap. This information is taken (though also
      suggested in the aforementioned book) from _Fonetické
      obrazy hlásek_ (Phonetic images of sounds) by Bohuslav Hála
      (1960). Finally, I would like to mention that a book _Finnish_
      by Helen Sulkala and Merja Karjalainen (2002) confirms that
      Finnish _r_ is a trill (they speak about apico-alveolar trill)
      but the book also mentions that in word-medial position
      various allophones from one flap to several flaps appear.

      With this information at hand I can return to Quenya. My
      opinion is as follows: Tolkien spoke about a trilled _r_ and
      I think he really meant the (apical) dental/alveolar trill and
      not the Southern English approximant, because a trill appears
      in Finnish, Spanish and Italian. All of these languages Tolkien
      knew and liked. The untrilled variety Tolkien mentioned in
      App. E is also not (in my opinion) the English approximant
      but a tap/flap. I find it more likely because a tap occurs in
      Spanish (and also in Finnish). And there is also a striking
      resemblance in distribution of the sound. In Spanish a tap
      occurs word-finally; in Quenya the untrilled _r_ is represented
      by <óre> and this tengwa is usually used for word-final _r_'s.
      Furthermore, in Spanish a trill occurs word-initially; in Quenya
      the trilled _r_ is represented by <rómen> and this tengwa
      is usually used for word-initial _r_'s.

      >But others stated that the citations must be interpreted otherwise,
      >since they are oriented to a general (though interested) English
      >public, not to phoneticians, and that the terminology used in the
      >Appendixes does not accurately match the phonetic terminology we
      >are used to, say, the one of the IPA.

      **Appendix E is a problematic text. When reading it, we must
      remember that Tolkien was writing it primarily for English
      readers that could not be supposed to have deep linguistic
      knowledge. Also, he must have been limited by space. And
      he was not or could not be always accurate.

      For instance he says that _h_ in Quenya _eht_, _iht_ had the
      same sound as heard in English 'hew' or 'huge', and that _ht_
      had the sound of _cht_, as in German _echt_ (i.e. ich-Laut),
      _acht_ (i.e. ach-Laut). However, the sound in German _echt_
      is a voiceless palatal fricative but the sound in English
      'hew' is a voiceless palatal approximant (though the difference
      is subtle, of course).

      Another similar case is when Tolkien says that _h_ has the
      sound of English _h_ in 'house' or 'behold'. The problem is
      that the _h_ in 'house' is voiceless but voiced in 'behold'.

      Describing situation in Spanish Helios wrote:

      > - "'full' trilled" is like "vibrante múltiple" ("trilled" for IPA).
      > - "trilled" is like "vibrante" ("trilled" or "tap" for IPA).

      **Do you mean "untrilled" or "tap" for IPA?


      Ales Bican

      --
      What's in a name? That which we call a rose
      by any other name would smell as sweet. (Juliet, _Romeo and Juliet_)
    • Doug Pearson
      ... [snip] ... Not in American English: both _h_s are voiced and sound identical. It seems strange that Tolkien, (who I assume would differentiate these
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 5, 2004
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        Ales posted:

        > **Appendix E is a problematic text. When reading it, we must
        > remember that Tolkien was writing it primarily for English
        > readers that could not be supposed to have deep linguistic
        > knowledge. Also, he must have been limited by space. And
        > he was not or could not be always accurate.

        [snip]

        > Another similar case is when Tolkien says that _h_ has the
        > sound of English _h_ in 'house' or 'behold'. The problem is
        > that the _h_ in 'house' is voiceless but voiced in 'behold'.

        Not in "American" English: both _h_s are voiced and sound
        identical. It seems strange that Tolkien, (who I assume
        would differentiate these sounds) would make this mistake.
        Could he have had an American audience in mind?

        -- Tobold (Doug Pearson)

        [The answer to the final question is almost certainly "no". As
        for Tolkien having made a "mistake" -- it is far more likely
        that Tolkien was simply speaking of the pronunciation of
        _h_ in a general manner for a lay audience. I note that even
        the OED indicates the pronunciation of the _h_ in both 'house'
        and 'behold' with the same symbol 'h', which the "Key to the
        Pronunciation" indicates is pronounced as in 'ho!" -- PHW]
      • mach
        ... Why would Feanor create a letter for a sound he didn t use? Sure, he also created letters for aspirated sounds, but I guess this was rather because these
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 6, 2004
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          Helios cited from app. E:

          > > "[Óre] was often used for a weak (untrilled) _r_, originally occurring
          > > in Quenya and regarded in the system of that language as the weakest
          > > consonant of the _tincotéma_." (LR:1094)

          Edouard Kloczko commented:
          > I read here "originally occurring in Quenya" as meaning "originally
          > occurring in Common Eldarin (?)or/and Primitive Quendian", e.g. *not* in
          > Quenya as the living language of Aman and later in Exile, in which we had
          > only one trilled r.

          Why would Feanor create a letter for a sound he didn't use? Sure, he also
          created letters for aspirated sounds, but I guess this was rather because
          these sounds were observed in the language of the Valar. Or can we suppose
          that the lambengolmor of Feanor's time already knew the sounds of Common
          Eldarin (?)or/and Primitive Quendian? To my understanding, these sounds
          could only be reconstructed when the Eldar knew Sindarin and other Elvish
          dialects from Middle-Earth. And if we suppose that these sounds were known
          at the time of Feanor: Why would a letter for a sound that was only
          distinguished in Common Eldarin (?)or/and Primitive Quendian become part of
          the standard orthography of Quenya?

          As I understand it, there's only an external explanation for the duality of
          r-letters. J. R. R. Tolkien developed these two letters for a phonetic
          representation of his own "r-dropping" dialect of English: rómen for
          approximant _r_ and óre for dropped _r_, that is, for the schwa-sound that
          replaces an original _r_, e.g. in _here, there, under_ (it's difficult to
          decide whether óre is a vowel letter or a consonant letter).

          When he wrote Quenya with tengwar, he used both letters in almost the same
          way he used them in English. Maybe this was only because he was used to do
          so, or maybe because he liked to have diverse letters. Maybe Tolkien's
          attitude to the tengwar was somewhat lax, similar to Feanor's: "[...] in any
          case his primary interest was in _writing_, in its practical and its
          decorative aspects rather than in an accurate phonetic transcription. Not
          that he was with without interest in phonetic analysis" (app. E to _Quendi
          and Eldar_, in: VT 39, p. 8).

          Maybe his use of the two r-letters in Quenya remained unconscient until he
          had to explain how the tengwar work, that is, at last until he wrote the
          appendices to the Lord of the Rings. Helios' above quote might mean that J.
          R. R. Tolkien planned to revise the Quenya phonology by introducing a
          distinction of approximant _r_ vs. trilled _r_, but since his attitude to
          spelling matters was similar to Feanor's, he forgot to do so.

          Is the hypothesis of such a planned but never fulfilled revision plausible,
          I mean, do we have any evidence for similar cases?

          ---------------------------
          j. 'mach' wust
          http://machhezan.tripod.com
          ---------------------------

          [Edouard's reading of "originally occuring in Quenya" (with regard to untrilled
          _r_) as meaning "originally occurring in Common Eldarin (?)or/and Primitive
          Quendian" is, I think, unjustified and highly idiosyncratic. If one applies Occam's
          Razor (the simplest explanation is most likely to be correct) to this question,
          the situation regarding trilled R and weak R in Quenya seems rather obvious.
          Though R came to be pronounced as "a trilled _r_ in all positions" (LR:1088),
          there was originally also a weak R in Quenya (either Old Quenya, or the more
          conservative form of the language spoken in Valinor, as opposed to Exilic
          Quenya). Tolkien's use of the tengwar Rómen versus Óre in his transcription
          of "Namárie" gives us a clear indication of where these two sounds originally
          occurred -- trilled R (rómen) was usual at the beginning of words or
          intervocalically, and weak R (óre) was usual before consonants and at the
          end of words. -- PHW]
        • Helios De Rosario Martinez
          ... [snip] ... Of course. I will translate the text (I wrote it in Spanish) and then post it. But it will be in another post (it is quite long). ... Yes, so it
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 6, 2004
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            Ales Bican wrote:
            >
            > Helios De Rosario Martinez wrote:
            >
            > >I skip the discussion on the variants _rd_, _ry_, _hr_ and _rr_,

            [snip]

            > is it possible for you to share your insights with
            > us (or me off-list if need be)?
            >

            Of course. I will translate the text (I wrote it in Spanish) and then
            post it. But it will be in another post (it is quite long).

            > Another piece of
            > information relevant for the present discussion is the fact that
            > in Spanish a "weak" _r_ (i.e. the tap) occurs word-finally
            > while a trilled _r_ (i.e. the trill) occurs word-initially and
            > sometimes intervocalically where it sometimes stands in
            > opposition with the tap.

            Yes, so it is. The tap also occurs in contact (after or before) a
            consonant, although in those positions it depends on the individual
            pronunciation: some people (I myself, for instance) slightly trill
            ante- and post-consonantal _r_ depending on the velocity of speech
            (specially when speaking slowly or emphasizing the word). But the rule
            is:

            - Initial _r_ and intervocalic _rr_: trilled.
            - In other positions (final or adjacent to a consonant), and
            intervocalic _r_: tap.

            Note that intervocalic _rr_ is not longer (as Finnish); it only marks
            that it is trilled, opposite to intervocalic _r_.


            > The untrilled variety Tolkien mentioned in
            > App. E is also not (in my opinion) the English approximant
            > but a tap/flap. I find it more likely because a tap occurs in
            > Spanish (and also in Finnish).

            That is the only point were we disagree. The sounds in Finnish and
            Quenya are a good hint, of course. But note that LR:1094 says:

            "Grade 6 was most often used for the _weakest or 'semi-vocalic'_
            consonants of each series. (...) Thus [óre] was often used for a weak
            (untrilled) _r_, _originally_ occurring in Quenya and regarded in the
            system of that language as the weakest consonant of the tincotéma."
            [emphasis mine].

            I learn from those words that the original consonant for _óre_ was a
            "semi-vocalic" dental, as _anna_ was a "semi-vocalic" velar and
            _wilya_ was a "semi-vocalic" labio-velar. And I think that this
            "semi-vocalic" is what in the terminology of the IPA is called
            "approximant".

            This is not opposite to the fact that later Quenya lost this
            approximant sound, and retained only the Finnish-like trilled (and
            tap, maybe).


            > Describing situation in Spanish Helios wrote:
            >
            > > - "'full' trilled" is like "vibrante múltiple" ("trilled" for
            > > IPA).
            > > - "trilled" is like "vibrante" ("trilled" or "tap" for IPA).
            >
            > **Do you mean "untrilled" or "tap" for IPA?
            >

            No, I mean "either 'trilled' or 'tap' for IPA".
            _Vibrante_ is (in Spanish phonetical terminology) an ambiguous term,
            since it can be referred to either _vibrante múltiple_ (trilled) or
            _vibrante simple_ (tap). The common point is that both are opposite to
            the approximant, which is nearly "mute" for Spanish ears.

            What I meant is that maybe Tolkien used the word "trilled" in this
            way, not with its specific meaning for IPA, but opposite to the "weak"
            (which he specified as "untrilled") approximant.

            Helios
          • David Kiltz
            ... Laurence J. Krieg provided us with an accurate transcription of recordings (made in 1952) where J.R.R. Tolkien reads, inter alia, Namárie and A
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 6, 2004
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              On 05.01.2004, at 23:12, Ales Bican wrote:

              > With this information at hand I can return to Quenya. My
              > opinion is as follows: Tolkien spoke about a trilled _r_ and
              > I think he really meant the (apical) dental/alveolar trill and
              > not the Southern English approximant, because a trill appears
              > in Finnish, Spanish and Italian. All of these languages Tolkien
              > knew and liked. The untrilled variety Tolkien mentioned in
              > App. E is also not (in my opinion) the English approximant
              > but a tap/flap. I find it more likely because a tap occurs in
              > Spanish (and also in Finnish). And there is also a striking
              > resemblance in distribution of the sound. In Spanish a tap
              > occurs word-finally; in Quenya the untrilled _r_ is represented
              > by <óre> and this tengwa is usually used for word-final _r_'s.
              > Furthermore, in Spanish a trill occurs word-initially; in Quenya
              > the trilled _r_ is represented by <rómen> and this tengwa
              > is usually used for word-initial _r_'s.

              Laurence J. Krieg provided us with an accurate transcription of
              recordings (made in 1952) where J.R.R. Tolkien reads, inter alia,
              'Namárie' and 'A Elbereth Gilthoniel' [Jim Allan: An Introduction to
              Elvish p. 152ff.].

              From the transcription it can be seen that trilled and tapped 'r' are
              virtually interchangeable in Tolkien's pronunciation of Elvish. Tapped
              'r' is numerically prevalent whereas trilled 'r' is found throughout
              before dental (a common phenomenon).

              Hence I think it is possible that Quenya is thought to feature (or
              would 'naturally' have) positional variants of its 'r's, oscillating
              between trilled and tapped 'r'.

              However, Tolkien would mean both a tapped and a trilled 'r' when
              using the cover term 'trilled' in the Appendices.

              Although the distinction between tapped (actually a 'one-trill' r) and
              trilled 'r' e.g. in Spanish can be heard clearly, I think most people
              would characterize those 'r's as 'trilled' when speaking without a
              linguistic background or making only a rough statement. And
              indeed a trill is distinguished from a 'tap' or 'flap' just by the
              number of taps/flaps. That is, a trilled 'r' has many flaps.

              Hence, I think it most likely that the 'r' originally represented by
              <óre> would have been an approximant or fricative. As for the point of
              articulation, the listing in the tincotéma might be suggestive as Ales
              has said (i.e. dental/alveolar/post-alveolar). A guttural approximant
              or fricative might also be considered.

              -David Kiltz
            • Ales Bican
              I wrote that my opinion was that by untrilled _r_ Tolkien had meant a tap/flap (occurring in Spanish) and not an approximant (occurring in English). ...
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 6, 2004
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                I wrote that my opinion was that by 'untrilled' _r_ Tolkien had
                meant a tap/flap (occurring in Spanish) and not an approximant
                (occurring in English).

                Helios De Rosario Martinez wrote:

                >That is the only point were we disagree. The sounds in Finnish and
                >Quenya [read: 'Spanish' -- ab] are a good hint, of course. But note that
                > LR:1094 says:
                >
                >"Grade 6 was most often used for the _weakest or 'semi-vocalic'_
                >consonants of each series. (...) Thus [óre] was often used for a weak
                >(untrilled) _r_, _originally_ occurring in Quenya and regarded in the
                >system of that language as the weakest consonant of the tincotéma."
                >[emphasis mine].

                **This is an interesting note, I have not considered it until now.
                Since <vala> belongs to "semi-vocalic" parmatéma/labials, it
                speaks for my assumption that _v_ is a labial approximant rather
                than voiced counterpart of _f_. At least _phonologically_
                (inferring from its distribution and from the general phonological
                system of Quenya) I am inclided to regard it as a labial
                approximant and not labial (labio-dental) voiced spirant.

                [Perhaps of relevance here is Tolkien's note in _The Shibboleth of
                Fëanor_ that in early Quenya "the labial spirant _f_ was bilabial, and
                so remains in Vanyarin" (VT41:7). CFH]

                >I learn from those words that the original consonant for _óre_ was a
                >"semi-vocalic" dental, as _anna_ was a "semi-vocalic" velar

                **You mean "semi-vocalic" palatal, because no "semi-vocalic"
                velar appears in Quenya.

                > and _wilya_ was a "semi-vocalic" labio-velar. And I think that this
                >"semi-vocalic" is what in the terminology of the IPA is called
                >"approximant".

                **This is certainly a good point. But again we must be cautious
                with Tolkien's terms, for if he writes "semi-vocalic", it does not
                have to mean that all these sounds are of the very same nature.
                Similarly, if he writes "dentals" and lists _t, s, n, r, l_, it
                does not mean that all these sounds are dentals. I would not rely
                much on the fact that <óre> belongs to Grade 6, because it does
                not actually state anything about how it was pronounced. Suppose
                Quenya really had a tap and not an approximant, do you think that
                Tolkien would have hesitated to use <óre> for this sound or do you
                think he would have used another _tengwa_? Even though <óre> does
                not have to be phonetically the best representation of the tap, it is
                nevertheless a very apt choice, since <óre> belongs to the
                _tincotéma_, which is the series that is used to represent all
                "dental" sounds that appear word-finally except for _l_:
                <tinco>, <thúle> (?), <númen> and <silme> (supposing it is a
                modification of <thúle>).

                >This is not opposite to the fact that later Quenya lost this
                >approximant sound, and retained only the Finnish-like trilled (and
                >tap, maybe).

                **Nor is it oppositive to the fact that Quenya could have
                lost the tap.

                >_Vibrante_ is (in Spanish phonetical terminology) an ambiguous term,
                >since it can be referred to either _vibrante múltiple_ (trilled) or
                >_vibrante simple_ (tap). The common point is that both are opposite to
                >the approximant, which is nearly "mute" for Spanish ears.
                >
                >What I meant is that maybe Tolkien used the word "trilled" in this
                >way, not with its specific meaning for IPA, but opposite to the "weak"
                >(which he specified as "untrilled") approximant.

                **I see. But still I think it more likely that he meant the tap by
                "untrilled". If we disregard the loose information Tolkien gives
                about _r_ in Quenya in App. E, we are only left with indirect
                evidence from real languages. So if I were to decide whether the
                "untrilled" _r_ is a tap or an approximant, I would (and will)
                choose the tap, because a tap occurs in Spanish and distribution
                of the Spanish tap and trill is very reminiscent of distribution
                of Quenya <óre> and <rómen> (i.e. "untrilled" and "trilled" _r_).
                However, as I said it is only indirect evidence.


                Ales Bican

                --
                What's in a name? That which we call a rose
                by any other name would smell as sweet. (Juliet, _Romeo and Juliet_)
              • Ales Bican
                To my note that Tolkien was not always accurate in App. E, e.g. when he stated that Quenya _h_ was pronounced as _h_ in English house (pronounced with a
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 6, 2004
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                  To my note that Tolkien was not always accurate in App. E, e.g.
                  when he stated that Quenya _h_ was pronounced as _h_ in
                  English 'house' (pronounced with a voiceless glottal fricative)
                  and 'behold' (pronounced with a voiced glottal fricative) several
                  people responded.

                  Doug Pearson wrote:

                  > Not in "American" English: both _h_s are voiced and sound identical.

                  **I am not a native speaker of English, so I have to basically rely
                  on what I read in books. Arthur J. Bronstein in _The Pronunciation
                  of American English_ (1960) notes that the _h_ sound is frequently
                  voiced in intervocalic position, which I think means that the _h_
                  sound is usually voiceless. As an example of voiced intervocalic
                  _h_ the authors gives, inter alia, 'behold'.

                  Eddin Najetovic wrote:

                  > As a matter of fact I am quite certain that in the English spoken in
                  > Britain the _h_'es are voiceless in every position, including
                  > those between vowels.

                  **I took the information about the voiced intervocalic _h_
                  in British Southern standard English from the two books
                  I mentioned last time, i.e. _The Sounds of the World's
                  languages_ by Peter Ladefoged and Ian Maddieson, and
                  _Fonetické obrazy hlásek_ by Bohuslav Hála. I remember
                  I read it also in one of Daniel Jones' books but since I
                  have already returned the book to library I do not remember
                  whether it was _An Outline of English Phonetics_ or _The
                  Pronunciation of English_ (I will check it if necessary).

                  Patrick Wynne wrote:

                  >I note that even the OED indicates the pronunciation of the _h_
                  >in both 'house' and 'behold' with the same symbol 'h', which the
                  >"Key to the Pronunciation" indicates is pronounced as in 'ho!"

                  **Yes, you are right. I have checked the OED. I have also
                  checked my _Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary_ (2000)
                  and here also both words are written using the same character.
                  In the section of the book 'Pronunciation and phonetic symbols'
                  the _h_ character is said to be pronounced as _h_ in 'hat'.
                  The pronunciation of 'hat' is given between two slashes.
                  This is what I find essential, because slashes are normally
                  used for phonological transcriptions. Pronunciation given like
                  this is rather confusing, because it is neither phonetic nor
                  phonemic, it is rather quasi- or pseudo-phonemic but of
                  course it depends on what is meant by 'phoneme' and
                  'phonemic' (generative phonologists, for instance, rejected
                  the notion of 'phoneme' as conceived by the Prague school).
                  Anyway, what I want to say is that if the pronunciation of both
                  'house' and 'behold' is given with one and the same symbol
                  _h_, it is rather to indicate that English has only one _h_
                  "phoneme" which may be pronounced differently according
                  to its position.

                  To return to Tolkien's statement. It is questionable what
                  Tolkien really meant. He need not have been familiar with the
                  fact that English had actually two variants of _h_. Or perhaps
                  he did not realize that the _h_ in 'behold' can be pronounced
                  differently than in 'house'. We might consider it then as an
                  error (even though it does not have to seem so always, we must
                  keep in mind that Tolkien was not omniscient and perfect). Yet
                  it also depends on how _h_ is actually pronounced in Quenya.
                  I suppose that _h_ in e.g. _halla_ "tall" is a voiceless
                  glottal spirant but what about its negation *_alahalla_
                  "not tall, short"? Perhaps the _h_ was voiced here just like
                  in English 'head' vs. 'ahead'.

                  [You may be quite certain that Tolkien was intimately aware of
                  all the allophonic variations in every major and most minor
                  dialects of English. CFH]


                  Ales Bican

                  ps. Another discrepancy in App. E I mentioned last time
                  was the problem of Quenya _hy_, which Tolkien described
                  as two similar yet different sounds (a voiceless palatal
                  approximant and voiceless palatal fricative). Eddin Najetovic
                  agreed with me pointing out that IPA does not even have a
                  symbol for the voiceless palatal approximant. Well, the IPA
                  does not have a lot of symbols it should have, unfortunately,
                  it should have been devised better. But this is not what I want to
                  say. What I want is to raise a question: so what is the Quenya _hy_,
                  a fricative or approximant? And this concerns also _hw_ -- a voiceless
                  labiovelar fricative or voiceless labiovelar approximant?

                  --
                  What's in a name? That which we call a rose
                  by any other name would smell as sweet. (Juliet, _Romeo and Juliet_)
                • Arden R. Smith
                  ... Really? I see no examples of a voiceless palatal approximant there. In fact, the examples given in Tolkien s description of Quenya _hy_ in Appendix E are
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 7, 2004
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                    Ales Bican wrote:

                    >ps. Another discrepancy in App. E I mentioned last time
                    >was the problem of Quenya _hy_, which Tolkien described
                    >as two similar yet different sounds (a voiceless palatal
                    >approximant and voiceless palatal fricative).

                    Really? I see no examples of a voiceless palatal approximant there.
                    In fact, the examples given in Tolkien's description of Quenya _hy_
                    in Appendix E are merely a subset of the examples given for [ç]
                    ("Voiceless palatal central fricative") by Geoffrey K. Pullum and
                    William A. Ladusaw in their _Phonetic Symbol Guide_ (Chicago and
                    London: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 30:
                    "Illustrated by the initial segment of English _hue_ in some
                    pronunciations, by the final sound of German _ich_, and by the
                    initial segment of Japanese _hito_."

                    > Eddin Najetovic
                    >agreed with me pointing out that IPA does not even have a
                    >symbol for the voiceless palatal approximant. Well, the IPA
                    >does not have a lot of symbols it should have, unfortunately,
                    >it should have been devised better.

                    You speak as though the IPA was graven in stone long ago and is
                    therefore impervious to change. The IPA has been revised many times
                    in the course of its history, and today's IPA differs in many
                    respects from Paul Passy's original 1888 creation. For example, the
                    IPA didn't differentiate between the voiced palatal approximant and
                    the voiced palatal fricative until *1989*! There's certainly nothing
                    preventing the Association Phonétique International from adding a
                    symbol for the voiceless palatal approximant, should it be deemed
                    necessary. But in the 116-year history of the IPA, it has apparently
                    *not* been deemed necessary.

                    If you need to express the voiceless palatal approximant in the IPA,
                    however, it's already easy enough to do: use [j] with a little
                    circle under it (thus voiceless [j]). This is what Ian Maddieson
                    does in _Patterns of Sounds_ (Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 1984), p.
                    245. Incidentally, the list that is given there of languages
                    containing that sound doesn't contain any likely models for Quenya:
                    Malagasy, Yao, Klamath, Otomi, Mazahua, Hopi, and Aleut.



                    Postscript: Anyone interested in the history of the IPA should check
                    out the following (in addition to the Pullum and Ladusaw book cited
                    above):

                    Robert William Albright, "The International Phonetic Alphabet: Its
                    Backgrounds and Development." _International Journal of American
                    Linguistics_ 24 (January 1958).

                    Michael K. C. MacMahon, "Phonetic Notation", in: Peter T. Daniels and
                    William Bright (eds.), _The World's Writing Systems_. New York and
                    Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1996, pp. 821-46.

                    Additionally, if you have access to a library with a complete run of
                    _Le maître phonétique_, the organ of the Association Phonétique
                    International, you can see the alphabet growing and changing right
                    before your eyes.

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

                    Perilme metto aimaktur perperienta.
                    --Elvish proverb
                    *********************************************************************
                  • Ales Bican
                    I mentioned that Tolkien s description in App. E of Quenya _hy_ may be two-fold: it may be either an approximant or fricative ... **As j. mach wust already
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 8, 2004
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                      I mentioned that Tolkien's description in App. E of Quenya _hy_
                      may be two-fold: it may be either an approximant or fricative
                      according to his description (in my view). Arden R. Smith wrote:

                      >Really? I see no examples of a voiceless palatal approximant there.

                      **As j. 'mach' wust already mentioned, I meant the sound in English
                      'hue' to be a voiceless palatal approximant.

                      >In fact, the examples given in Tolkien's description of Quenya _hy_
                      >in Appendix E are merely a subset of the examples given for [ç]
                      >("Voiceless palatal central fricative") by Geoffrey K. Pullum and
                      >William A. Ladusaw in their _Phonetic Symbol Guide_ (Chicago and
                      >London: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 30:
                      >"Illustrated by the initial segment of English _hue_ in some
                      >pronunciations, by the final sound of German _ich_, and by the
                      >initial segment of Japanese _hito_."

                      **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).

                      I wrote:

                      >>Eddin Najetovic
                      >>agreed with me pointing out that IPA does not even have a
                      >>symbol for the voiceless palatal approximant. Well, the IPA
                      >>does not have a lot of symbols it should have, unfortunately,
                      >>it should have been devised better.

                      Arden:

                      >You speak as though the IPA was graven in stone long ago and is
                      >therefore impervious to change.

                      **Well, I suppose this may be a reading of what I wrote. Next time
                      I should definitely attempt to use better words and phases. -- Of
                      course, I know that the IPA underwent a number of revisions, so
                      basically I wanted to say is that it still needs some revisions
                      to be better.

                      > The IPA has been revised many times
                      >in the course of its history, and today's IPA differs in many
                      >respects from Paul Passy's original 1888 creation. For example, the
                      >IPA didn't differentiate between the voiced palatal approximant and
                      >the voiced palatal fricative until *1989*!

                      **Revisions of the chart are (I suppose) based on current research,
                      so what was not (could not) be differentiated in the past can be
                      differentiated today. I do not know the state of affairs in Tolkien's
                      time but maybe it was not known then that the sounds of Eng.
                      _hue_ and Ger. _ich_ are different and therefore Tolkien did not
                      make any difference between them.

                      > There's certainly nothing
                      >preventing the Association Phonétique International from adding a
                      >symbol for the voiceless palatal approximant, should it be deemed
                      >necessary. But in the 116-year history of the IPA, it has apparently
                      >*not* been deemed necessary.

                      **The IPA is (as far as I can see) good for a language like English
                      but as far as I know Czech phoneticians do not perceive as
                      fitting for Czech, but of course it is also a matter of getting
                      used to it. At any rate a character for r-hacek (and no, it is _not_
                      [r] + [zh] (i.e. the sound in 'pleasure')!) is missing (why?). Also,
                      the way afficates are written in the IPA does not look very pleasing
                      to a Czech eye. Another thing that could be bettered is difference
                      between _þ, ð_ and _s, z_.The former are given dental fricatives
                      and the latter as alveolar fricatives. A distinction should, however,
                      be rather made between sibilant and non-sibilant fricatives, as we
                      can have both dental and alveolar _þ, ð_ and dental and alveolar
                      _s, z_.

                      >If you need to express the voiceless palatal approximant in the IPA,
                      >however, it's already easy enough to do: use [j] with a little
                      >circle under it (thus voiceless [j]).

                      **I know that but I and Eddin (I think) meant that the IPA did not have
                      a unitary symbol for it.

                      > This is what Ian Maddieson
                      >does in _Patterns of Sounds_ (Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 1984), p.
                      >245. Incidentally, the list that is given there of languages
                      >containing that sound doesn't contain any likely models for Quenya:
                      >Malagasy, Yao, Klamath, Otomi, Mazahua, Hopi, and Aleut.

                      **I do not have access to the book, only to the book I mentioned
                      above, which is from 1996. Since this is newer book, I (not having
                      means to find out by myself) prefer to rely on this one. So if
                      English is said to possess this sound, it is a rather likely model.
                      Personally, however, I am inclined to the fricative (in German _ich_)
                      -- _hy_ (at least phonologically) does not appear as the voiceless
                      counterpart of _y_ in Quenya.

                      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.


                      Ales Bican

                      --
                      What's in a name? That which we call a rose
                      by any other name would smell as sweet. (Juliet, _Romeo and Juliet_)
                    • Arden R. Smith
                      ... 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
                      Message 10 of 16 , 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
                        *********************************************************************
                      • Andreas Johansson
                        ... That, or pronunciation varies from speaker to speaker and/or location to location. It s the kind of minor phonetic variation one expect to see abundantly
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jan 11, 2004
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                          Quoting "Arden R. Smith" <erilaz@...>:

                          > 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.

                          That, or pronunciation varies from speaker to speaker and/or location to
                          location. It's the kind of minor phonetic variation one expect to see
                          abundantly in a language of a few hundred million speakers.

                          Andreas
                        • David Kiltz
                          On 11.01.2004, at 06:20, Arden R. Smith wrote: A.R.Smith says that William G. Moulton says in his _The Sounds of English and German_ (Chicago and London:
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jan 11, 2004
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                            On 11.01.2004, at 06:20, Arden R. Smith wrote:

                            A.R.Smith says that William G. Moulton
                            says in his _The Sounds of English and German_ (Chicago
                            and London: University of Chicago Press, 1962 that Modern Standard
                            German [ç] sounds like the initial sound of _hue_ as pronounced by
                            many Americans. Now there definitely is a difference between the RP
                            _hue_ sound and the German _ich_ sound (_hue_ is slightly more forward)
                            but it's a miniscule difference. Note the fact that English /ç/
                            only occurs before /u/ word initially whereas German /ç/ never does.
                            That may also add to the difference, thus, perhaps, making the
                            difference between the sounds hardly more than a positional one. Still,
                            all Germans I asked (including me) notice and make a clear distinction
                            between English /ç/ and German /ç/ (and it is lab verifiable!).
                            Still, I think it fair to settle on /ç/ for Quenya as Tolkien's
                            examples can be approximations at times.

                            > Maddieson regards [ç] as
                            > an allophone of /x/ (in German).

                            Just for the record: Not only the vocalic environment plays a role here
                            but also morphemes. Cf. _Frauchen_ /frauçen/ vs. _rauchen_ /rauxen/.

                            -David Kiltz
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