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_hy_ in Quenya (and the IPA) (was: _h_ in Quenya and English)

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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