Two Questions

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Two Questions

Postby choc_pud » Tue 29 Jul 2014 5:29 pm

Hey-ho, I have two completely unrelated questions to ask which don't seem to really fit into any of the categories, so I thought I'd put them in here as it seemed the most suited.

1) What does English sound like to a non-speaker? I think this is a particularly interesting subject.

2) What is the maximum number of sibilants a language has been found to possess in phonemic distinction? As far as I can see it might be Ubykh, though that is now extinct.

If anyone has any answers to these questions, please reply! Thanks!
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Re: Two Questions

Postby Täzari » Wed 30 Jul 2014 6:08 pm

Hello there!

In answer to you question I can suggest you to watch this short video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt4Dfa4fOEY

It is a four-minute video about how English may sound to a non speaker, it's very well done and in my opinion it gives a great example!

As for the possible number of sibilants, I can only make suppositions, but as a matter of fact I'm unaware as you are about the subject, not being phonetic among my first interests... Sorry for not being helpful!

Tsak' oti hærad hvå biltægnonśi atta ujænad! - I hope the video I suggested you is helpful! =)
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Re: Two Questions

Postby Khunjund » Fri 01 Aug 2014 7:27 pm

I believe Ubykh is the most I've yet to see in a natural language, but I think it would be possible to distinguish many more than that. I'm pretty sure a distinction between plain, labialized, and palatalized (and/or velarized and/or pharyngealized, if you want) voiceless, voiced, aspirated, and ejective (central) fricatives along each point of articulation would be reasonably distinct enough to actually be used in a language.
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Re: Two Questions

Postby Täzari » Wed 06 Aug 2014 12:33 pm

I get myself informed a little about Ubykh and in fact, like also Khunjund said, I have never seen a natural language with more variants for a sibilant sound. However it's not impossible that there are many more than that, as a matter of fact sibilant, fricative, but most of all, liquid consonants can have a great number of allomorphs.
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Re: Two Questions

Postby Quantum » Wed 06 Aug 2014 3:03 pm

Also, keep in mind, with regard to Ubykh, that it's an extinct language. The alveo-palatal and palato-alveolar sibilants were in the process of merging. Not too suggest that you shouldn't follow suite, but it doesn't seem to be a very stable contrast.
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Re: Two Questions

Postby choc_pud » Wed 06 Aug 2014 7:15 pm

Alveopalatal and palatoalveolar? Isn't that exactly the same thing? Excuse my ignorance, I've never thought that any language could make such a slight distinction before!
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Re: Two Questions

Postby Khunjund » Fri 08 Aug 2014 9:12 pm

Actually, people often say palatal-alveolar instead of post-alveolar (which is the term I prefer), which is the point of articulation of English "sh". Alveolar-palatal consonants are essentially palatalized post-alveolar consonants, so these are (in theory) sufficiently different to be distinguished in a language. However, most languages with this distinction usually shift the post-alveolars to retroflex consonants, for greater contrast with the alveolar-palatals, since they are indeed very similar.
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