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Re: [Lambengolmor] _hy_ in Quenya (and the IPA)

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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